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I'm looking for a short story that I read a while ago, about a future where one person in the US is asked a couple of questions, and based on that, a supercomputer determines the results of all of the elections for that year.

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This seems strangely topical given the ongoing election on this site... – Rand al'Thor Jan 30 at 23:45
@randal'thor I read the beginning of your comment and thought you were going to mention the little election they're having in the state of Iowa. How could I forget the much more important moderator election? – user14111 Jan 31 at 0:55
@user14111 Sorry, I'm European and have no idea what election is going on in Iowa :-) – Rand al'Thor Jan 31 at 0:56
Pretty much a joke about the outsized importance of the state of Iowa in U.S. elections (due to their early primaries). – Adamant Jan 31 at 2:03
Wasn't there also a movie based on this idea that came out recently? Swing Vote? (How you know you're old... 8 years ago == recently) – nhgrif Jan 31 at 13:39
up vote 20 down vote accepted

"Franchise" by Isaac Asimov, previously identified as the answer to this old question. (It was also posted as an answer, though not the accepted answer, to this other question.) From Wikipedia:

In the future, the United States has converted to an "electronic democracy" where the computer Multivac selects a single person to answer a number of questions. Multivac will then use the answers and other data to determine what the results of an election would be, avoiding the need for an actual election to be held.

"Franchise" was first published in If, August 1955 which is available at the Internet Archive.

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based on this site's dupe answer policy it probably does. – ibid Jan 31 at 0:34
@ibid If it was a wrong answer, then no, it doesn't count as a dupe. Story-ID questions are closed as dupes only if both questions' answers are accepted (either literally or by OP saying "yes, this is the one"). – Rand al'Thor Jan 31 at 1:12
Wasn't Mutlivac the first computer to appear in The Last Question as well? – SuperJedi224 Jan 31 at 13:13
@SuperJedi224 Asimov wrote over a dozen Multivac stories; see ISFDB and Wikipedia. – user14111 Jan 31 at 13:18
In the story, note that the Voter is not picked by multivac as the "smartest" person or "the one most likely to make a good choice", but as "the most average person, a sample of size one, most representative of the feeling and intent of the nation". Asimov intentionally extrapolated to the extreme the ability to statistically predict the outcome of the whole election by polling very small samples of people. – Euro Micelli Apr 1 at 8:28

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