Norway votes: This is what you can expect at 9 PM tonight as the polls close

VotingPhoto: Ørn E. Borgen / NTB

As the polls are closing, the Norwegian media are finally able to convey the figures from the election. But how much can we really trust these preliminary numbers?

A forecast

The figures being served to you at 9 PM tonight are merely a forecast, meaning that they will continuously change throughout the night.

The forecast will reflect how much support each party is expected to end up with, as well as how many mandates we can expect each party to have in the Norwegian Storting for the 2021-2025 period.

Surge in advance polling

The foundation for the forecast will be the votes that have already been counted prior to the clock striking 9 PM. 

According to NRK, over 1,6 million people have voted in advance this year. This makes up over 42 percent of those eligible to vote and is a clear record. Most of these votes will have been counted by 9 PM.

The high percentage of advance voters is thought to be due to the pandemic. Indeed, people were encouraged to vote in advance if possible to avoid large masses at the polling stations on the election day. This means that fewer people will be voting today, and it will take less time to count the votes.

In addition to this, several votes from polling stations closing before 9 PM will have been counted. This means that the Norwegian media will have a solid base to draw predictions from, and will therefore be able to tell you with relative confidence whether we can expect a change of government or not.

Erna Solberg votes
The current Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg (H), gives her vote. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB

The excitement is largely tied to the barrier limit. The most unreliable thing about the forecast is the support given to the four parties close to the 4% limit: The Christian People’s Party (KrF), the Left Party (V), the Green Party (MDG), and Red (R). If these make it above the 4% line, they will be given equalization mandates which again will give them far more seats in the Norwegian Storting.

Differing figures

It is not unlikely that different media will be reporting slightly different numbers. This is due to differing forecast formulas being utilized – however, the figures should not be affected too severely by this.

The thought process behind it is similar – in simple terms, the already counted votes are being compared to previous results from the same municipality. This way, we can estimate the progress or degress for each party in each municipality. This is then summed up to the national level before this progress or degress for each party is included in the preliminary count.

Therefore, a party can have received for example 15% of the votes counted by 9 PM but still receive a forecast of 16% due to the figures suggesting that we can expect the party to receive more votes throughout the night.

Source: #NorwayToday / #NorwayTodayNews

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