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I did a lit review, for a general audience publication, about the  
social network dynamics of elections several years ago, and came up  
with a similar conclusion -- "It's the [local] Conversations, Stupid"

http://www.orgnet.com/PoliticalConversations.pdf

Valdis


On Dec 31, 2007, at 6:16 PM, Barry Wellman wrote:

> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>
> But get good networks
> see below
> Barry Wellman
> _______________________________________________________________________
>
>  S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology, FRSC              NetLab Director
>  Centre for Urban & Community Studies           University of Toronto
>  455 Spadina Avenue          Room 418          Toronto Canada M5S 2G8
>  http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman            fax:+1-416-978-7162
>  Updating history:     http://chass.utoronto.ca/oldnew/cybertimes.php
>         Elvis wouldn't be singing "Return to Sender" these days
> _______________________________________________________________________
>
> Today's Washington Post has an interesting article on the social  
> dynamics
> of selecting a president.
>
> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/30/AR2007123002287.html?wpisrc=newsletter
>
> "The decisive factor ... is not the presence of influential people but
> people who are easily influenced. Random, insignificant events are  
> vastly
> magnified by networks of such malleable people influencing one  
> another,
> and this tilts the race one way or another. Blind chance plays a big
> role."
>
> The pundits are merely gypsys.  The meek shall inherit the earth.
>
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