Voting Analysis – The Russian grannies and Zeljko Joksimovic were the only one’s who had a remote chance of catching the runaway winner of Eurovision 2012 from Sweden. Both of these countries’ have often been criticized for being among the biggest beneficiaries of block voting. But who voted for the two entries? And why?
Who Voted For Russia?
At first sight, Russia’s neighbors were very generous. Almost all of the gave at least 8 points: Finland and Estonia awarded 8 points to the grannies, Latvia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan 10. The only 12 points for the “Big mother Russia” came from Belarus. This connection seemed to have stopped working in the last years. In 2011, Russia only got 5 points from Belarus and on home soil in 2009 Russia only got 8 points. The exception among the neighbors is of course Georgia, who fought a war against Russia in 2008. Nevertheless, they gave Russia 5 points.
Apart from the support from neighbors, the grannies were also very popular in other parts of Europe, though. They received 10 points from both Italy and San Marino, 8 points from the “old Eurovision nations” Spain, Portugal and Belgium. And also scored high in Scandinavia getting 8 from Denmark, Norway and Finland and at least 6 from Sweden and Iceland.
The Balkans were seemingly also impressed. The highest points came from Slovenia (8) Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria also awarded 6 or 7 points each. The only country that ignored Russia completely was Switzerland.
All in all the result for Russia is very diverse in all parts of Europe. We can certainly not speak of an entry that only reached its place due to block voting. The appeal of the grannies that many qualify as “the cuteness factor” was understood by Europeans in West and East, North and South alike. It is quite possible that the grannies and Loreen batteled for the victory in the televoting in some countries. Overall, Sweden’s victory is too impressive, however, for them not the be the winners of the televote.
Who voted for Serbia?
This one is very interesting! There is no doubt that Zeljko Joksimovic is a respected and great musician and his song was praised for its quality by many fans and press and his third place would be considered a deserved result. However, when we look at the actual votes it seems as if Serbia mostly profited from block and diaspora votes.
We see that Serbia got its top marks from their neighbors Montenegro, Croatia, Bulgaria and from Slovenia. Bosnia and Macedonia also awarded Zeljko 10 points. These votes may be interpreted as block voting by many who do not know of the superstar status Zeljko Joksimovic enjoys in all of these countries. Additionally, they share a similar musical culture and tradition and last but not least the song was sung in Serbian, a language very closely related to Bosnian, Croatian, Slovene and Bulgarian. The 12 points from Bulgaria may serve as proof for the fact that it was mostly the quality of the song and the popularity of the singer that pushed Serbia and not friendly votes. Usually, Bulgaria does not have a record of voting for Serbia (or any former Yugoslav countries’ for that matter). Bulgarian’s seemed to appreciate the song this time and voted for it.
Otherwise, Serbia also did very well in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden from which Zeljko got 10 points. All of these countries have a significant Serbian (or Yugoslav) diaspora. One could argue that the immigrants in these countries only voted for their native country regardless of the song. If we look at 2011 however, the high points from Sweden and Norway did not go to Serbia but to Bosnia-Herzegovina (represented by another superstar in the Balkan region: Dino Merlin). This suggest that the entire Ex-Yugoslav diaspora votes for their favorite song. They have the same musical background as people at the Balkans and so they will “understand” a song perhaps more than other people. They vote for the song they like the most and this year that happened to be Serbia. To suggest that Bosnians vote for Serbia because they like the country so much is absurd.
All of this is also not to say that no Norwegians, Swedes or Swiss voted for Serbia. I myself, 100% German, had Serbia as my favorite and voted for it several times. Also, it is quite improbable that Serbia would be able to get 10 points from these countries if the juries had not supported the song as well. The fact that Denmark, Iceland and Finland completely disagree with Norway and Sweden on the Serbian song is important, though. If Scandinavians share a similar musical taste it would be very strange if one country gave 10 and the other no points to Serbia. This implies that diaspora does play a role in the votes.
In general I would like to add one argument about diaspora votes. The people voting in Norway are representing the Norwegian society at that moment. The Serbs, Turks etc are part of Norway for example and thus the points awarded do reflect the musical taste of Norway. I have been in Bulgaria for over a year and have since then noticed that I appreciate Balkan music much more and I have voted for Serbia, Macedonia and Bulgaria (among others) this year… Does this mean I am also diaspora?
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