Political Science Geekdom

When there is voting, there I will follow:


The voting for the host site of the 2012 Olympics is described in the above article.

Round 1
Moscow 15
New York 19
Madrid 20
Paris 21
London 22

Round 2
New York 16
Madrid 32
Paris 25
London 27

Round 3
Madrid 31
Paris 33
London 39

Round 4
Paris 50
London 54

Rationality? Anyone? Transitivity? Bueller? Who votes for Madrid when New York is an option but then when New York is no longer an option decides that they really think that London would be nice?

UPDATE: Reply to a commenter –
Agreed that strategic voting is what is going on here. But of what sort?

If I have a real preference, say, Paris, then I want to maximize it’s chances of winning. But let’s further say that I have a secondary preference for not pissing off any of the host cities because I want to make sure that cities continue to run for nomination etc.

This secondary preference can explain why the first vote was rather even. It is probably what caused the result on the first ballot. Moscow was simply not going to host these Olympics. A terrorist leader had promised that he would attack the games if they were held there. Yet 15 voters still chose Moscow. It has to be due to making everything look closer than it was.

Remember that London and Paris are the two top contenders here, at least that was the universal analysis beforehand. So, on the second vote, polite voters, that is those voters that think that London and Paris will be the final pairing and just want to avoid humiliating the other cities split their votes to NYC and Madrid. But then look at the results. Madrid receives the most votes. Two possible conclusions – (1) those polite voters think that no one really wants to vote for Madrid and so I have to vote there for politeness or (2) Madrid really was a stronger candidate then we thought.

The polite voter theory’s solution to the question in the original post then is this: some polite voter underestimated Madrid’s base level of support on the 2nd vote. Having a real 1st order preference for Paris, she changes her vote from Madrid to Paris when it looks like Paris might not even make the final round despite having earlier planned to vote for Madrid until it was just Paris and London. At any rate, this is still a puzzle to me. Any answers would be appreciated.

One response to “Political Science Geekdom”

  1. Seems pretty obvious evidence of strategic (as opposed to sincere) voting.

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