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Football Democracy: Coombs’ Method

2 February 2014

everton-fans-300-93314503-3266091The original Football Democracy survey revealed that of the 234 respondents, Arsenal were the most popular team, with 24% of fans picking them as their ‘first choice’ team.

The Alternative Vote method supported the claim that Arsenal are the Premier League’s most popular team; the north London club were also the second, third and fourth preferences of a number of fans, which allowed them to win the majority of votes by this method.

Arsenal, however, are the last preference of a small number of fans – 7.3% to be precise – and the Coombs method takes this into account when determining a ‘winner’ of this popularity contest.

The Coombs method looks at the table below and sees that Manchester United are the least favourite team of 59 fans. It then eliminates Manchester United, and moves their 24 first preference votes (24 respondents said United were their favourite team) to their second preferences.


If these 24 votes don’t bump someone above the 118 votes needed to win, the process is continued, eliminating Chelsea, Liverpool, Stoke and so on. The full results are below; by round 15 Everton, Southampton and Swansea are left – but none of them has 118 votes (click to enlarge):


As I’ve mentioned before, I’m no expert in voting methods, but I’m aware that there are different ways to separate a tie. In this instance, the three clubs all have 1 last preference vote. Given this is a largely theoretical exercise, I’ve worked out the ‘winner’ in the instance where each team is eliminated, arbitrarily:


In the instances where Southampton and Swansea are eliminated, Everton are able to pass the 118 vote mark, with Southampton receiving enough Everton votes when the Toffees are eliminated. A case, perhaps, to suggest Everton are the Premier League’s most popular team?


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