A Voting System Experiment - THE RESULTS

Last month I introduced a theory and experiment to you: the preferential vote and popular vote provide different winners. I asked you all to rank the Best Picture nominees, in the hope of providing or disproving my hypothesis. The survey is now closed, the votes have been counted, double-counted and verified, and the envelope in hand is the correct one, containing the winner for each voting system.

We had 81 rankings submitted. The winner of the popular vote was The Shape of Water with 18 votes. Pretty simple, right?

As you know, the preferential voting system is a little more complex. The winner of the preferential ballot would need 41 votes to take the title of Best Picture. Of course, this means that The Shape of Water's 18 votes have failed to secure a majority, meaning we must start eliminating nominees and re-distributing their votes. Below is a step-by-step guide on how it unfolded.

Our preferential vote: step-by-step

- Darkest Hour and The Post were immediately removed; neither were able to secure a single first-place vote. 

- In round one, Get Out was eliminated. The 7 first-place votes for Get Out were distributed to the voter's second-place pick. After this, The Shape of Water leads.

- In round two and with no majority met, Phantom Thread and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri are knocked out.  The 11 votes each film received are distributed to the voter's highest-ranked film still in contention. The Shape of Water continues to lead.

- In round three and with no majority met, Call Me By Your Name is eliminated. Its 15 votes are distributed to the voter's highest-ranked film in contention. The Shape of Water leads by ONE vote at this stage.

- In round four, and with no majority met, Lady Bird is eliminated. Its 18 votes are distributed to the highest-ranked film still in contention: Dunkirk or The Shape of Water. It's now a showdown between the two, with the highest number of votes taking Best Picture.

- With 42 votes compared to Dunkirk's 39, The Shape of Water wins Best Picture via the preferential vote.

What that does is prove me wrong: the preferential and popular vote does not necessary give us different winners - in this case, The Shape of Water ruled victorious in both but we'll check again next year, shall we?

Results of note:

- Lady Bird and Dunkirk were the only two films not to receive a 9th-place vote.

- Almost 40% of voters placed Darkest Hour in 9th place, exactly double the percentage of people who placed The Post in 9th place.

- At various stages throughout the experiment, I completed a dry run: Call Me By Your Name, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water all won the preferential vote at some stage, showing just how tight the race was. Furthermore, in the popular vote, there was 8 votes between 1st place (The Shape of Water) and 6th place (Phantom Thread).

- Unrelated but something fascinating the results tell me: should the Academy choose to introduce a weighted-ranking, Dunkirk would fractionally beat The Shape of Water to 2018's Best Picture.

- As far as I am aware, no two people ranked their ballots the same. 

So friends, by our estimates, The Shape of Water will take home the award for Best Picture tonight. Are we right? Not long until we find out!

You can see my predictions here and my ranking of the Best Picture nominees here.