Political and geographical voting

Political and geographical voting. 

Voting preferences between countries in Eurovision between 1997 and 2017

Mutual neglect of score allocations in Eurovision between 2010 and 2015. Produced using the methods presented by Mantzaris, Rein, and Hopkins: a network of the significant score deviations can be viewed over a time period of interest.

The contest has been described as containing political elements in its voting process, a perception that countries will give votes more frequently and in higher quantities to other countries based on political relationships, rather than the musical merits of the songs themselves. Numerous studies and academic papers have been written on this subject, which have corroborated that certain countries form “clusters” or “cliques” by frequently voting in the same way; one study concludes that voting blocs can play a crucial role in deciding the winner of the contest, with evidence that on at least two occasions bloc voting was a pivotal factor in the vote for the winning song. Other views on these “blocs” argue that certain countries will allocate high points to others based on similar musical tastes, shared cultural links and a high degree of similarity and mutual intelligibility between languages, and are therefore more likely to appreciate and vote for the competing songs from these countries based on these factors, rather than political relationships specifically. Analysis on other voting patterns have revealed examples which indicate voting preferences among countries based on shared religion, as well as “patriotic voting”, particularly since the introduction of televoting in 1997, where foreign nationals vote for their country of origin.

Voting patterns in the contest have been reported by news publishers, including The Economist and BBC News. Criticism of the voting system was at its highest in the mid-2000s, resulting in a number of calls for countries to boycott the contest over reported voting biases, particularly following the 2007 contest where Eastern European countries occupied the top 15 places in the final and dominated the qualifying spaces. The poor performance of the entries from more traditional Eurovision countries had subsequently been discussed in European national parliaments, and the developments in the voting was cited as among the reasons for the resignation of Terry Wogan as commentator for the UK, a role he had performed at every contest from 1980. In response to this criticism, the EBU introduced a second semi-final in 2008, with countries split based on geographic proximity and voting history, and juries of music professionals were reintroduced in 2009, in an effort to reduce the impacts of bloc voting