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Physics  2007 

From 2000 Bush-Gore to 2006 Italian elections: Voting at fifty-fifty and the Contrarian Effect

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A sociophysical model for opinion dynamics is shown to embody a series of recent western hung national votes all set at the unexpected and very improbable edge of a fifty-fifty score. It started with the Bush-Gore 2000 American presidential election, followed by the 2002 Stoiber-Schr\H{o}der, then the 2005 Schr\H{o}der-Merkel German elections, and finally the 2006 Prodi-Berlusconi Italian elections. In each case, the country was facing drastic choices, the running competing parties were advocating very different programs and millions of voters were involved. Moreover, polls were given a substantial margin for the predicted winner. While all these events were perceived as accidental and isolated, our model suggests that indeed they are deterministic and obey to one single universal phenomena associated to the effect of contrarian behavior on the dynamics of opinion forming. The not hung Bush-Kerry 2005 presidential election is shown to belong to the same universal frame. To conclude, the existence of contrarians hints at the repetition of hung elections in the near future.


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