We describe how basic voting data and simple ideas from linear algebra can be used to pinpoint voting coalitions in small voting bodies. The approach we use is an example of (generalized) spectral analysis, which is a nonmodel-based method for doing exploratory data analysis. As a proof of concept, we show how important coalitions of justices on the United States Supreme Court may be identified using only information about how often the justices split into various majority/minority configurations.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: December 1, 2006
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Mathematics Magazine presents articles and notes on undergraduate mathematical topics in a lively expository style that appeals to students and faculty throughout the undergraduate years.