Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Voting Behaviour

Hey bloglodytes,

I realize it's been a month since my last post, and I apologize profusely. Not too much, though, since I can check the stats and you have not, by-and-large, been impatiently checking for regular updates. Shame.

On a related note, привіт to the randomly high number of readers from Ukraine!

This is just a short post discussing some of the preliminary results of an analysis I've been interested in doing for a while now. When it comes to SU voting on campus, people often talk about the "Lister vote" or the "Greek vote" as though they're massive and important voting blocks that need to be either wrestled with or courted. (Let me be clear here - when I say "people" talk about it, I really mean about six people, including me, who have nothing better to do and go out for beers altogether too infrequently)

If it turns out that there is any sort of consistency within these voting groups, that would certainly be cool to know as a potential candidate. Unfortunately, the only way to find this out would to look at anonymized versions of full ballots, and compare voting trends within a ballot. For instance, if a significant number of voters clump Lister or Greek candidates together on a ballot, it would be very easy to identify a trend.

Unfortunately the CRO is reluctant to share this sort of information (cough cough), so the closest we can come to this sort of analysis is by attempting to recreate ballots based on the results read-out that's provided following the elections. This is annoying.

With all that being said, the initial (VERY PRELIMINARY) results from last year's election suggest two cool findings about trends within voting.

The first one isn't really that surprising: voters who vote None of the Above as their first choice have virtually random subsequent vote selection. Any given ballot that ranked NotA first and a candidate second was evenly split between all remaining candidates (within 4%). When comparing these subsequent votes to the distribution of first round votes, they aren't even close.

The second one truly only comes from one datapoint, so I'm hesitant to say anything firm on it quite yet. However, an analysis of the Presidential race shows that voters who ranked Farid (Greek) higher than both Colten (Greek) and Adi (not so Greek) were more likely to vote for Adi than voters choosing their first round picks.

Don't get me wrong, in both cases voters choosing only between Colten and Adi preferred Colten by a ratio of about 3:2, however instead of seeing lots of Farid voters subsequently go on to prefer a fellow Greek (The "Greek Hypothesis"), Colten actually got 7% less of the vote share than when looking at first-round votes.

So that's cool.


Civatrix said...

Why would I need to keep checking when you tell me when a new post is up?

Michael Ross said...

Haha presumably a good goal for a blog is self-sustenance...