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Nicolaus Tideman : The Structure of the Election-Generating Universe



This paper reports the results of using two sets of ranking data, one from actual elections and the other from surveys of voters, to examine whether the outcomes of three-candidate vote-casting processes follow a discernible pattern. Six statistical models that make different assumptions about such a pattern are evaluated. Both data sets suggest that a spatial model describes an observable pattern much better than any of the other five models. The results imply that any conclusions about the probability of voting events reached on the basis of models other than the spatial model—for example, on the basis of the “impartial anonymous culture”—are suspect. (Joint work with Florenz Plassmann)

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