Unusual Voting Activity in the Official Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Fan Poll

Shortly after voting began in the official 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Fan Poll, unusual voting patterns began to emerge. After just 48 hours of voting, the top five artists (Chicago, Yes, The Cars, Steve Miller and Deep Purple) had over 14 million votes each and had 86% of all votes. During the same time period, fellow classic rock nominee Cheap Trick could only garner 525,000 votes, just 0.64%, compared to the 17% each the leaders were receiving.

Poll Tracking 10-14-2016

To get a sense of how real fans vote (this is the 10th year of our poll!), let’s look at some vote distributions from various internet polls where you can cast a ballot for multiple artists (all results as of 10/14/2015).

First, the Future Rock Legends poll (5100 total votes, must vote for five artists):

FRL RockHall Poll

Next, the Cleveland.com poll (7277 total votes, can vote for up to eight artists):

Cleveland.com RockHall Poll

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Poll (4920 total votes, can vote for up to six artists):

Post-Gazette RockHall Poll

And finally, the official Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Fan Poll (over 158 million total “votes,” can vote for up to five artists):


Rock Hall Museum President Greg Harris was touting last year’s record 59 million votes in the fan poll, which took two months. This year, they shattered that record in less than 48 hours, but examining the results, it’s not hard to wonder if there aren’t non-human hands at work. The Rock Hall failed once again to publish any rules about the poll, just urging people to “vote often.” Unfortunately, the one poll that is the easiest to game is the one that counts.

One of the reasons this is so outrageous is that there are a lot of real fans of the nominated artists who are spending a lot of time voting and urging others to vote. But they can’t compete with scripts that can cast one million votes per hour.

The Rock Hall needs to remove this poll, scrap the results, and replace it with one that is fair and secure. The first two years of the fan poll, the Rock Hall enlisted online poll professionals PollDaddy to host the poll. Beginning last year, they took the poll into their own hands which has led to nothing but erratic results (last year, Nine Inch Nails received 22% of the vote; this year, just 0.3%, which is strange to say the least).

Let’s also not forget that the lack of rules with the fan poll is symptomatic of the induction process in general. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the only major award that doesn’t use an independent accounting firm to tally the results from their voters.

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