May 3rd, 2015

politics

Links I found interesting for 03-05-2015

buzz

On the new Hugo voters

After Sasquan's spectacular intake of new Supporting Memberships following the announcement of the Hugo shortlists, I've seen a great deal of speculation on what this might mean in terms of votes. I think we can all be certain that most of these new members have joined with the intention of participating in the Hugos; how will they do so?

I thought one easy measure might be geography. Sasquan has published the geographical breakdown of its members as of 30 April; I have compared these with Loncon's membership as of 31 July last year, the day when Hugo voting closed, looking only at the 50 US states and the District of Columbia. My intention was to see if I could detect a clear shift in Sasquan's membership, as compared to Loncon's, from "red" states to "blue" or vice versa. My reasoning is that if there has been a surge of membership from states where voters are generally right-wing, that might indicate a more right-wing electorate.

I have to say that this proved impossible to detect. I give the figures below, but there are only 11 of the 51 territories in question where Sasquan now has proportionally more members than Loncon did at close of Hugo votes. Those are:

Washington (20.1% of US-based Sasquan members, 5.9% of US-based Loncon members, up 14.2%)
Oregon (up 3.1%)
Idaho (up 1.1%)
Montana, Texas, Arizona, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, Missouri, Oklahoma (all up less than 0.5%).

Aside from the obvious geographical effect, these are such small changes as to be meaningless. Edited to add: On reflection, though I was looking for reaction to the ballot announcement and did not find it, I should also add here that the geographical effect favours two strongly blue (pro-Democrat) states, Washington and Oregon, and weakly favours a red (pro-Republican) state, Idaho.

At the other end, there are between 1.2% and 2.6% fewer US-based members at Sasquan compared to Loncon from Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and California. These are all pretty blue (ie pro-Democrat) states, but perhaps more importantly they are all places with decent air connections to London. Illinois will also have been skewed upwards by Loncon's efforts to sign people up in the run-up to the convention site selection ballot in Chicago. (Edited to add: California was likely also boosted by the fact that both of Loncon's successive excellent US agents are from San Francisco.)

My conclusion is that the Hugo electorate this year is likely to be similar to the Hugo electorate of previous years; if anything more so.

Detailed figures below for anyone who wants to crunch them further.

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Incidentally, Florida is drastically underrepresented, in proportion to its population, on both lists.

Edited to add: Table has been revised as I got Loncon numbers for Maine and Connecticut wrong. The result is that they are not as divergent from Sasquan as I first reported, but California is a bit more so.

2015 Hugos: Initial observations | Voting No Award above the slates | How the slate was(n't) crowdsourced | Where the new voters are
Best Novel | Short fiction | Best Related Work | Best Graphic Story | Pro and Fan Artist | Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), Best Fan Writer, John W. Campbell Award