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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.

State Sasquan Loncon Population %Sasquan %Loncon %USpop
Alabama 41 50 4,849,377 0.6% 1.2% 1.5%
Alaska 23 12 736,732 0.3% 0.3% 0.2%
Arizona 130 65 6,731,484 1.9% 1.6% 2.1%
Arkansas 22 20 2,966,369 0.3% 0.5% 0.9%
California 1092 693 38,802,500 15.9% 17.2% 12.2%
Colorado 161 105 5,355,866 2.3% 2.6% 1.7%
Connecticut 50 37 3,596,677 0.7% 0.9% 1.1%
Delaware 14 10 935,614 0.2% 0.2% 0.3%
District of Columbia 36 31 658,893 0.5% 0.8% 0.2%
Florida 145 107 19,893,297 2.1% 2.7% 6.2%
Georgia 83 58 10,097,343 1.2% 1.4% 3.2%
Hawaii 11 10 1,419,561 0.2% 0.2% 0.4%
Idaho 95 11 1,634,464 1.4% 0.3% 0.5%
Illinois 238 246 12,880,580 3.5% 6.1% 4.0%
Indiana 56 41 6,596,855 0.8% 1.0% 2.1%
Iowa 90 47 3,107,126 1.3% 1.2% 1.0%
Kansas 50 37 2,904,021 0.7% 0.9% 0.9%
Kentucky 36 24 4,413,457 0.5% 0.6% 1.4%
Louisiana 38 27 4,649,676 0.6% 0.7% 1.5%
Maine 22 18 1,330,089 0.3% 0.4% 0.4%
Maryland 215 152 5,976,407 3.1% 3.8% 1.9%
Massachusetts 302 282 6,745,408 4.4% 7.0% 2.1%
Michigan 114 78 9,909,877 1.7% 1.9% 3.1%
Minnesota 136 117 5,457,173 2.0% 2.9% 1.7%
Mississippi 4 7 2,994,079 0.1% 0.2% 0.9%
Missouri 88 51 6,063,589 1.3% 1.3% 1.9%
Montana 37 4 1,023,579 0.5% 0.1% 0.3%
Nebraska 22 24 1,881,503 0.3% 0.6% 0.6%
Nevada 34 30 2,839,099 0.5% 0.7% 0.9%
New Hampshire 41 43 1,326,813 0.6% 1.1% 0.4%
New Jersey 103 92 8,938,175 1.5% 2.3% 2.8%
New Mexico 39 33 2,085,572 0.6% 0.8% 0.7%
New York 251 235 19,746,227 3.6% 5.8% 6.2%
North Carolina 111 69 9,943,964 1.6% 1.7% 3.1%
North Dakota 4 5 739,482 0.1% 0.1% 0.2%
Ohio 113 102 11,594,163 1.6% 2.5% 3.6%
Oklahoma 39 23 3,878,051 0.6% 0.6% 1.2%
Oregon 335 73 3,970,239 4.9% 1.8% 1.2%
Pennsylvania 142 108 12,787,209 2.1% 2.7% 4.0%
Rhode Island 12 9 1,055,173 0.2% 0.2% 0.3%
South Carolina 29 23 4,832,482 0.4% 0.6% 1.5%
South Dakota 7 8 853,175 0.1% 0.2% 0.3%
Tennessee 52 45 6,549,352 0.8% 1.1% 2.1%
Texas 422 234 26,956,958 6.1% 5.8% 8.5%
Utah 92 67 2,942,902 1.3% 1.7% 0.9%
Vermont 11 7 626,562 0.2% 0.2% 0.2%
Virginia 207 142 8,326,289 3.0% 3.5% 2.6%
Washington 1384 239 7,061,530 20.1% 5.9% 2.2%
West Virginia 9 8 1,850,326 0.1% 0.2% 0.6%
Wisconsin 82 73 5,757,564 1.2% 1.8% 1.8%
Wyoming 11 1 584,153 0.2% 0.0% 0.2%


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

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
uitlander
May. 3rd, 2015 02:50 pm (UTC)
I suspect that one of the benefits of the current debacle is that a lot more people now know who votes for the Hugos and how they can join in. The Hugo pack is probably also quite tempting for the cost of a pre-supporting membership.
nwhyte
May. 3rd, 2015 03:43 pm (UTC)
I think the first part of that is absolutely right. I have seen a lot of commentary along the lines of, gosh, I always knew about the Hugos but never realised it was so easy (and so important) to take part.

I'm less sue about the second half. Sasquan have been quite good about not over-promising, and really, £25 is not exceptional value if you consider just the novels (which is what most people appear to have done in previous years). If you throw in the graphic stories and non-fiction, it does mount up, I agree.
arwel_p
May. 3rd, 2015 06:45 pm (UTC)
On the third hand, some of us just like to have a supporting membership to support Worldcon! I must admit that until last year circumstances had precluded me being a member since 2005 though I was a regular supporter in the 90s, so the Hugo pack was a novelty for me last year. I wasn't planning on joining this year until you-know-what happened over Easter, so the first thing I did on the Monday morning was go up to Paul Dormer and say "Paul, it's time you sold me a supporting membership!".
livejournal
May. 3rd, 2015 03:36 pm (UTC)
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la_marquise_de_
May. 4th, 2015 10:19 am (UTC)
Interesting.
What I'd really like to see is the breakdown by country. I'm curious about the number of non-US supporters, because there seems to be a groundswell of resistance to what's seen as right-wing Americans trying to shut us foreigners out, combined with a lot of support for the 2017 Helsinki bid.
dalmeny
May. 4th, 2015 11:05 am (UTC)
That was my first thought also.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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