By Petrea Mitchell| August 31, 2013 | 1 Comment
The polls have just closed for Worldcon site selection, which for the first time in years features a three-way race. The results will be officially announced at tomorrow morning’s WSFS Business Meeting. In the spirit of modern elections, let’s fill that gap with some speculation!
There are no organized polls of Worldcon votes to rely on, but there is one piece of information which can provide some guidance on the feelings of the electorate: pre-support numbers. Pre-supporters are the people who have donated to a bid to help finance its campaign, with the promise of a discounted membership should the bid win.
Current presupport numbers from the bid sites are…
(Some pre-supporters don’t want their names listed, so the Spokane total may be a little higher.)
By those numbers, Spokane has a clear lead. However, Helsinki has only had one year to accumulate supporters to more than two for the other bids, and more importantly, this doesn’t show the clear majority that Spokane needs to win.
What happens if no bid gets a majority? Well, the site selection ballot is preferential– rather than just picking one, you rank all the candidates from most to least preferred. If no site gets a majority based on first-place votes, then the one receiving the fewest votes is removed and the second-place votes from those ballots allocated to the remaining candidates.
Based on the above numbers, Orlando will probably be the first eliminated. The deciding question then becomes, who did the people who ranked Orlando first put in second place?
As I’ve said before, there are two main questions that seem to guide Worldcon voter choices: “Does it look like an interesting place to visit?” and “What are the odds I could actually go?” Helsinki, as the most exotic option (to voters outside Scandinavia, anyway) and a place which has never hosted a Worldcon before, will have captured most of the votes of the people relying more on the first criterion, as well as those of Europeans relying more on the second.
What that leaves for Orlando is mostly North Americans voting in terms of convenience. For that bloc, the clear second choice is Spokane.
Therefore, this analyst predicts the result will be a second-round victory for Spokane.