Hidden gems and upcoming electoral opportunities – our analysis of the 2019/2020 Croatian presidential elections

As we all know, Zoran Milanović won the Croatian presidential elections and became the fifth president of Croatia. But how it actually happened? How did people vote and whose votes brought victory to Mr. Milanović? What was the people’s vote and which counties helped his victory?

We’ve created a thorough statistical data science-backed analysis of the recent Croatian presidential elections. The presented data is heavily visualized and shows several crucial moments of the electoral battle. There’s a lot of healthy conclusions to be drawn from this analysis, especially when it comes to trends between the two electoral rounds, regional distribution of new voters, regional distribution of invalid ballots, specific relationships between Grabar-Kitarović’s, Škoro’s and Milanović’s voters in both electoral rounds, etc. A lot of hidden gems for those who know how to find them.

All data was taken from the website of the State Electoral Commission of the Republic of Croatia.

Turnout in the first and second election round

In the first round the turnout was 51.15%, with a total of 1,997,149 people voted, while in the second round it slightly increased to 54.89%, with total of 2,151,475 people voted by the number of ballots.

From the graphs below we can see that the turnout was better in the second round in all counties except in Požeško-slavonska. However, the number of valid ballots in second round was smaller in four counties: Osječko-baranjska, Požeško-slavonska, Virovitičko-podravska and Vukovarsko-srijemska.

Number of invalid ballots

The number of invalid ballots was higher in all counties in the second round. This can probably be explained with people’s tendency to void ballots if they are unhappy about the remaining two candidates. The county with the highest number of invalid ballots in the second round was Zagreb.

Number of invalid ballots per election round and county

Change of the number of invalid ballots per polling station

Polling stations with the most invalid ballots are located in Zagreb. If we remove the number of invalid ballots in the first round, we still have the highest increase in ballot annulment on polling stations in Zagreb.

First election round

Distribution of number of votes per candidate

In the first round, Zoran Milanović won 29.3% of all votes, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović 26.9% and Miroslav Škoro 24.7%.

Distribution of number of votes per county and candidate

Purple color on the graphs below represents candidates that got more than 10% of all votes, while orange represents candidates with less than 10% of votes. The same coloring is used for counties where each candidate won more than 10% of all votes in that county.

Top three candidates vs others

For more details, we will take a look at just top three candidates. We can see that Zoran Milanović won in Zagreb, Istarska, Zagrebačka, Varaždinska, Međimurska, Primorsko-goranska, Koprivničko-križevačka and Krapinsko-Zagorska. Miroslav Škoro won in Vukovarsko-srijemska, Osječko-baranjska, Brodsko-posavska and Bjelovarsko-bilogorska; while Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović won in all the others.

Number of voters for Miroslav Škoro per polling station

We want to draw your attention to the fact that people who voted for Miroslav Škoro were mostly from Slavonia, Zagreb and some from Splitsko-dalmatinska. Remembering this will be useful in the rest of the analysis.

Second election round

Difference between the number of valid ballots in the first and second round

As we said at the beginning the number of votes in the second round slightly increased by 3,74%. However, you can see from the graph below that in 5 continental counties fewer people voted in the second round in Vukovarsko-srijemska, Virovitičko-podravska, Požeško-slavonska, Osječko-baranjska and Brodsko-posavska. Perhaps the majority decided not to vote in the second round because their candidate lost in the first round.

Also, interesting fact according to statistics is that Splitsko-dalmatinska county turned out to be the county with the highest number of new voters in the second round.

Number of new voters per polling station

If we look at the changes of valid ballots for each polling station, we can see that on most of them we have an increase in the number of valid votes. More people voted in the second round on almost all polling stations in Croatia.

However, if we take a look at the lateral dispersion of the polling station that had a decrease in the number of valid votes, we can see that some parts of Slavonia and Dalmatia stand out. On those polling stations, fewer people made valid votes because their candidate lost in the first round. If we recall image with the location of Miroslav Škoro voters, the positions match. As we know Miroslav Škoro asked his voters not to vote or to annul their ballots in the second round after he lost in the first round. Maybe these were the polling stations that responded positively to his request.

The most interesting part is Split, where we can see the highest positive and negative changes in the number of valid ballots. Over 500 new people voted on some polling stations, while on others more than 500 people decided not to vote in the second round. This graph highlights the changeable mood of people living in Split. Blue color represents an increase, while the red color represents the decrease in the number of valid ballots.

Distribution in second round per candidate

In the second round, Zoran Milanović won 50% of all votes, while Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović got 45.6%, and 4.4% of total votes were considered invalid.

Distribution in second round per county

Let's now review how candidates performed in each county. We can see that Zoran Milanović won in Zagreb, Istarska, Zagrebačka, Varaždinska, Međimurska, Primorsko-goranska, Koprivničko-križevačka and Krapinsko-Zagorska. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović won in all others.

Purple color on the graphs below represents counties where each candidate won, while orange represent counties where he/she lost.

Analysis per polling station

We can see that voting centers for Zoran Milanović were Zagreb, Varaždin, Rijeka, whole Istria and Osijek. While for Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović centers were Zadar, Split, Zagreb, diaspora and Osijek.