How to read and interpret the political map
The positions in the smartmap are calculated based on a statistical model (correspondence analysis). For further details, see separate methodological instructions (available in German or French). The method does not require preliminary assignments of the smartvote questions to pre-defined political dimensions. This means that subjective judgements about the meaning and composition of the two axes of the smartmap can be avoided.
smartmap methodology as a PDF (pdf, de)
- General interpretation of the smartmap:The map represents similarities of the candidates’ political profiles. The closer the points marking the candidates' positions, the more similar are the candidates' political profiles (i.e., their answers to the smartvote survey). Please note that because of the fixed quadratic shape of the smartmap, inferences from the height or width of the figure on the statistical relevance of the two dimensions are not valid.
- Comparisons with previous elections: It is not valid to compare positions in smartmaps from different elections, since the smartmap is calculated on a different base in each election (varying composition of the smartvote questionnaire and the pool of candidates).
- The labelling of the dimensions: The designation of the smartmap axes (left-right, conservative-liberal) is carried out retrospectively and follows subjective judgements. Other labels – especially regarding the second dimension – are feasible as well.
- The meaning of the map's center: Because there is no fixed size of the political space, the displayed center of the smartmap is not synonymous with the political center. The smartmap does not display absolute political positions, but positions and distances of candidates in relation to positions of other candidates.
Berne, 26 June 2015