Political scientists get very excited about Eurovision. That’s partly just because most people get very excited about Eurovision and political scientists – contrary to popular belief – are not that different from everyone else. But political scientists get excited for another reason too: Eurovision gives us lots of lots of opportunities to do fun political science.
A quick search for “Eurovision Song Contest” on Google Scholar gets more than three thousand hits. There’s a whole cottage industry in “eurovisiopsephology” out there. Probably the hottest issue in the academic literature concerns the evolution of voting blocs. Numerous studies examine the Wogan hypothesis: that political voting, which was once restricted to an innocent vote swap between Greece and Cyprus, has become ubiquitous. Some studies (such as this one) back Terry up. Others suggest things are more complex. Writing in the august European Journal of Political Economy, for example, Ginsburgh and Noury conclude that cultural proximity matters more than vote trading. In other words, the Greeks vote for the Cypriots because they really like the way the Cypriots sing, not because they expect votes in return. And we voted for Jedward last year not because we feel uniquely close to the Irish but because we actually really like Jedward.