Recent election results in Europe could bring new meaning to the term "Flat-Earthers." A comparison of voting preferences and geography reveals that right-wing populist parties tend to enjoy the most support in regions with flat plains.
This map (below), created by Josse de Voogd, a Dutch electoral geographer, shows where right-wing populists are strongest in northwest Europe.
As the Economist observes:
The flat pains of southern Sweden, East Anglia, northeastern France, Flanders and Padania vote for right-wing populists. Hilly regions like Cumbria, southwest France and most of the Alps tend to stick with the mainstream parties. This observation is not as facetious as it may seem. According to Garry Tregidga, an historian at Exeter University, hilly pastoral areas are generally characterized by left-leaning politics. One debatable explanation is that flat crop-growing areas benefit most from economies of scale, so fathers traditionally passed on their land to the first born, reinforcing differences in wealth and creating a more hierarchical political culture. In hilly, pastoral areas inheritances were more commonly split equally, which over the generations created a more egalitarian social structure and political tradition. Another (equally debatable) explanation is that arable farms need cheap vegetable-pickers and that the consequent foreign immigration into otherwise homogeneous rural areas stokes right-wing sentiment.
[Via The Economist]