This is the fourth in a series of articles on the CSM X Election. Those posts are:
- Full Endorsements – Candidates I strongly recommend for all voters. Under 12% of the candidates earned a Full Endorsement.
- Provisional Endorsements – Candidates I recommend for specific constituencies, but not for everyone. They generally are solid, interesting experts or good candidates that are made a bit redundant by either each other or other Full Endorsement candidates. Under 16% of the candidates earned a Provisional Endorsement. So less than a third (27%) of the field earned any sort of endorsement.
- Recommended Voting Slates – A numerated list of who to vote for by playstyle
- Election Predictions (this post)
- Election Outcomes Analysis
Much like last year, I’m going to break my predictions post up into chunks by how likely the candidates are to get in. There are only fourteen seats, and with the power that bloc voting and incumbency brings to the table, only a very small number are truly up for non-bloc non-incumbents to capture. Several other pundits have already put some predictions out there (I tend to post late to minimize voting impact from predictions – you have less than 24 hours as I post this, so check out the recommended vote slates post and go vote NOW if you have not!). Of the 75, I think there are 29 with even a small chance … but only 14 can get in. While there was some debate at first, CCP Leeloo has now confirmed that there will still be two permanent attendees.
The first seven of those should get in without breaking a sweat.
The Locks (1-7)
There are many slots that can be predicted pretty easily simply by looking at the top-of-ballot choices of key constituencies that vote as large blocs. The only way these folks don’t get in is an abject failure of voting discipline by the bloc voters. It’s rare, but it does happen, as it did with TEST’s failure to get Banlish on the council for CSM 8.
- Sugar Kyle [Permanent #1] – Incumbent. Top endorsee of all non-bloc ballots, Top of Lowsec slate
- Sion Kumitomo [Permanent #2] – Incumbent. Top of the CFC slate
- Corebloodbrothers – Incumbent. Top of the Provi ballot
- Gorga – Top of the N3 slate
- Cagali Cagali – Top of the HERO slate
- Corbexx – Incumbent. Top of the Wormhole slate
- Manfred Sideous – PL FC widely acknowledged to be one of the foremost authorities on sov warfare in an era where sov is being redesigned, top of PL ticket, top 4 on all three major bloc lists
The Extremely Likely (8-9)
While not quite high enough to call a “lock”, these folks have either deep or broad support and while they don’t have a standing bloc quite firm enough to guarantee anything, the reality is that they have strong backing and should still be able to easily overtop all but the group above.
- Steve Ronuken – Incumbent. Strong 3rd party development, industrial and the top highsec candidate, top 5 finisher last year and has only gotten more recognition. The primary threat to his election is the chronically fractured nature of the highsec vote, but it would still be a shocker if Steve didn’t make it.
- Endie – #2 on the CFC ballot with strong cross-ballot support as well as an acknowledged expertise in sovereignty mechanics. The only real threat to him getting in, ironically, is the of chance that running mate Thoric Frosthammer might pick up a surprise level of non-Goon CFC #1 votes.
The Probables (10-11)
After the top nine, the picture begins to get muddier. Now we are past the ballot-toppers and the guaranteed rolldown winners. So next come the key name recognition candidates of smaller but loyal voting groups. These people have a broad appeal but also a small solid voting core to use as a foundation. Based on that I am estimating that they have a better than 50% chance of getting elected, but not much better. They remain vulnerable, especially in such a large group of candidates.
- Khador Vess – Top of the RvB list. Will they turn out in enough numbers? How many votes will Jayne Fillon siphon from him? Will EVE University back him as a fellow highsec entity rep? Election to fill Mangala Solaris’ empty shoes seems likely but by no means certain.
- Mike Azariah – Incumbent. For the first time in three years Mike faces an uphill battle. He has lost support in some quarters but gained it in others. He has been visible everywhere but not everyone supports a third term for him. That said, I think his proven highsec and incursion base plus name recognition gets him in one more time – but in a squeaker.
The Best Guesses (12-14)
Beyond the top 11 lies chaos. Anyone who thinks that they can confidently predict the last 2-3 slots is lying or deluded. The field of 75 candidates and the huge potential impact of development on the future of nullsec this year mean that voter behavior has a strong chance of defying prediction. But there can be only fourteen winners, and I wouldn’t be much of a pundit if I didn’t take a shot. So here are my dice-rolls for the last three.
- Bam Stroker – Generally speaking, I would not expect PL to get two candidates on CSM – they are not big enough to do so all on their own. However, this is not a normal year and they are not running typical candidates. Bam’s alliance-mate Manny might get in almost entirely on cross-ballot rolldown votes, not even needing much of PL’s vote. That means that the constituency that elected Major JSilva is still up for grabs, and I think Bam picks up the rolldown from Manny to get that audience. To boot, Bam is in the unique position of being a bit of a hero to both CCP and to the AU Time Zone, and is likely to get additional votes from all through the AUTZ directly based on his work with EVE Down Under. With all that together, he’s my bet for #12.
- Jayne Fillon – If Khador wasn’t running I’d be much more confident in Jayne’s chances. But with Khador in and the RvB vote siphoned off, his chances get much shakier. That said, he has pull in some key voting groups that I think will just barely win the day for him. No one has positioned themselves as the Faction War heir to FunkyBacon. Sugar will have more votes than she needs, Gorski is less well-known, and Ashterothi, despite better FW qualifications, did not run on those qualifications (to some extent due to the fact that he has moved to a wormhole). Based on that, I think Jayne benefits from non-bloc lowsec and NPC nullsec PVP voters on top of his lock on the NPSI community via Spectre Fleet, and he gets in at #13.
- Psianh Auyvander – #14 is a nearly impossible pick. I give myself no more than a 20% chance of getting this right. I think Psianh is the candidate that everything fails down to – as players like Bobmon, Xander, Thoric, Migui … even Sort Dragon and UAxDEATH … fail to get elected, their vote power will roll downward to Psianh. I don’t think the Mercenary vote alone is able to get him in, but I think he will have broad support.
So here’s my election prediction, in order:
- Sugar Kyle [Permanent]
- Sion Kumitomo [Permanent]
- Cagali Cagali
- Steve Ronuken
- Khador Vess
- Manfred Sideous
- Mike Azariah
- Bam Stroker
- Jayne Fillon
- Psianh Auyvander
My history is that generally I pick the right people but in the wrong order. We’ll see how it goes this year.
But since I believe it will be such a close call, who else has a shot to get in and prove me wrong? Well … an ungodly number of candidates.
The Photo Finish
Just to show how much of a crap shoot those last three spots are, I believe that there are another nine candidates (for a total of 12) who have a serious shot at getting in on those last three spots. All of the below candidates have a very believable chance of displacing those I listed in the final three, maybe even Mike or Khador. In alphabetical order:
- Ariete – Ariete is the #2 wormhole candidate. Wormhole voters, when they choose to vote with the intent to get two candidates (rather than one plus their next favorite non-wormholer) can get two people on the council reliably. We saw this in CSM 8, and failed in CSM 9 (with a late upgrade due to a CSM member resigning and a wormholer getting bumped up). I hope Ariete makes it. But his campaign didn’t make a major splash and I fear that the wormhole vote will be “Corbexx was awesome, we’ll vote for him and have done.”
- Bobmon – As mentioned above, PL has the firepower to usually get one, sometimes two. Bobmon is #3 on the “unstated” PL list. He’s further down on null bloc lists. He is a major figure at EVE News 24 but I don’t think that lands him many votes. In the end I think his voters are far too fragmented and he’s too far down the lists to have a realistic chance compared to others above. But he does have the visibility and community impact to potentially prove me wrong.
- DomanarK – DomanarK is the Black Legion candidate. BL is probably not quite strong enough to get a certain seat this year, with so many other sov bloc candidates from the various contingencies in the race. But I have no doubt they will make a strong second-tier showing. If enough NPC null and unaffiliated voters get behind him, he has a chance.
- Gorski Car – Gorski is a strong expert that I think would add value to the council, but I don’t think that he has a large enough constituency to push over the top. His primary asset for electability is that he is an incumbent. I’d like to see him get on but am not optimistic.
- Migui X’hyrrn – Migui is the candidate from TEST, which is still fairly sizable and influential. TEST are also hilariously bad bloc voters, having failed to get a TEST person on either CSM 8 or 9 despite being even bigger in past years. The chaos and churn over the HERO ballot this year won’t help either. Again, TEST could surprise me, but at this point I’m betting against them.
- Sort Dragon – Sort actually might be the most likely of those in this section to get in. Yes, the same Sort Dragon who was nearly a no-show in CSM 8. And yet he’s all over the nullsec slates at ridiculously high levels despite being widely acknowledged to have been a bad CSM once already. Expect me to call people bad names questioning their mental acuity if he gets elected.
- Thoric Frosthammer – Thoric is #3 on the CFC ballot, and the CFC has elected three in the past (CSM 9 elected three CFCers). I think with a likely higher turnout and some very visible cross-ballot nullsec names this year that Thoric will be edged out, but I also think he’ll make it a very close run. As I mention above, if enough of CFC bucks the official vote list and puts Thoric at #1 or #2 instead of #3, it’s possible that Thoric will get in and Endie will not.
- UAxDEATH – A couple of weeks ago I had UAxDEATH in “The Probables” above. He is a highly visible Russian candidate and former CSM 6 & 7 member (although his reputation in that role is mixed). Up until CSM 9 a Russian was generally a “Lock”. But in the last two weeks, Death has caused a major amount of PR damage to himself. He has publicly acknowledged and highlighted his program to pay people who vote for him. It has come out that he was doing game development work in the past, and some believe that should disqualify him (CCP investigated and has cleared him). There have been eve.ru and Reddit threadnaughts implying CCP bias toward him (this has of course been denied). Wherever the truth lies, what I am betting on is that it will reduce Russian turnout to a level that renders him irrelevant, and off the council.
- Xander Phoena – Xander has had a rough couple of months in his public brawl with Sion Kumitomo. Unfortunately for Xander, unlike Sion, he does not have a big enough single-party bloc to count on for election any more. Last year, the CFC got him elected. This year, he’s not in the CFC or on their ballot, PL (his new alliance) has far more likely to get elected candidates, and his media empire looks unlikely to push him over the top. That said, he remains highly visible and received a significant number of endorsements from various corners other than the blocs.
The Dark Horses
Out on the fringe are several candidates who I don’t think are likely to make it, but do have an outside shot for various reasons. Some would be good additions. Some would be very bad.
- Ashterothi – Ash had a good campaign, is a positive force in the community, and I think would be very solid. But he drove his campaign primarily on lore and community, and I don’t think that’s a base strong enough to get him elected. This is particularly unfortunate because he has a legitimate story to tell around Faction War and wormholes, and had he pressed his expertise there I can’t help but think he would have gotten in on the votes of those blocs. If he does make it in, it will be on the back of all the work he’s done in the last year around the widely acclaimed Hydrostatic Podcast,
- Chance Ravinne – Chance has gotten some good publicity, from his YouTube channel to CCP recognition in the “This is EVE” trailer to right here on this blog. I think he would be a great addition and bring a very fresh perspective, but I also think that it probably won’t be enough to get him on the council. But I’m saying there’s a chance.
- Jenshae Chiroptera – It’s easy to spot the unprepared, unready, and full-on troll candidates. You have to dig in a bit and really read threads to discover the worst sort of candidate, however – the deeply earnest candidate with terrible, horrible ideas (wanting to abolish the CSM, running with no intent to serve properly (“I have no hope of becoming a CSM. That is not why I am doing this”) and various game-breaking suggestions that show a lack of understanding of the game’s intentional designs – which she has now deleted from her CSM thread). Jenshae is that candidate. Her whole thread is about how CSM voting needs to be changed to ensure more highsec candidates. While Corebloodbrothers has not publicly supported her, he also has gone out of his way to tell his bloc “vote for only me” – but Jenshae is also in his alliance, and Core has a ton of votes expected to go to waste from his voters (they threw away hundreds last year). If Provi added her to their list at #2, she suddenly goes from no chance to a horribly real possibility.
- June Ting – June originally ranked higher on the HERO ballot, and has some coattails from Ali Aras (although this effect is a bit diminished due to Ali’s far quieter year on CSM 9). But I think the shuffling of the HERO ballot plus having some conflicts internal to HERO will likely mean she won’t make it.
- Tora Bushido – There will be a significant portion of the griefer group (highsec gankers and wardeccers) that will vote for Tora. But I think that group is the only group that will vote for him, and they have failed to get anyone on the council for three years running. I think that there are even less of them today than in the past, and thus the numbers say he’s probably not going to make it.
- Xenuria – He is widely believed to be the most terrible CSM candidate (I disagree – I think Jenshae is worse). He runs every year, doesn’t get anything in response but trolling, and runs always on some sort of windmill-tilting platform about things the vast bulk of the voting population doesn’t care about or pay attention to. It’s gotten to be enough of a thing this year that a remarkable number of Reddit trolls now have Xenuria ads in their flairs. Let’s hope it’s not enough, because Xenuria is a veritable troll magnet – no matter what subject, how valid his views or where he is, trolls follow him like a cloud of locusts. His presence on CSM would be disruptive and a drag on their effectiveness. But there is a very small outside chance that a group of people who think they are super hilarious (just ask them) might round up enough votes to get him in.