We show that the problem of political forecasting, i.e, predicting the result of elections and referendums, can be mapped to finding the ground state configuration of a classical spin system.
Depending on the required prediction, this spin system can be a combination of XY, Ising and vector Potts models, always with two-spin interactions, magnetic fields, and on arbitrary graphs. By reduction to the Ising model our result shows that political forecasting is formally an NP-Hard problem. Moreover, we show that the ground state search can be recasted as Higher-order and Quadratic Unconstrained Binary Optimization (HUBO / QUBO) Problems, which are the standard input of classical and quantum combinatorial optimization techniques. We prove the validity of our approach by performing a numerical experiment based on data gathered from Twitter for a network of 10 people, finding good agreement between results from a poll and those predicted by our model. In general terms, our method can also be understood as a trend detection algorithm, particularly useful in the contexts of sentiment analysis and identification of fake news.
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