[EM] IRV Psychology

Blake Cretney bcretney at postmark.net
Fri Apr 20 18:27:06 PDT 2001

On Thu, 19 Apr 2001 15:27:41 -0700 (PDT)
Forest Simmons <fsimmons at pcc.edu> wrote:

> In my conversations with fellow Greens I've learned that they can
> with non-monotonicity, they can live with elimination of Condorcet
> Winners, and they can live with low average social utility.
> The one feature that they cannot live with is the spoilage problem. 
> don't want ever again to have to vote Gore over Nader to keep Bush
> winning.
> The funny part is this: they sincerely believe that IRV satisfies
> Favorite Betrayal Criterion better than Approval does. They believe
> because, as they point out, in the last presidential election IRV
> have let them vote for Nader over Gore without any regrets, while
> would have required them to vote Gore equal to Nader or else risk
> Gore's chances against Bush. 

The "Favorite Betrayal Criterion" implies that voting another
candidate over your favorite is a betrayal, but that voting another
candidate equal is not.  Not everyone feels that way.  Many Nader
voters would consider voting Gore equal to Nader to be a betrayal. 
Personally, I think this is a very emotional way of thinking about
election methods.

> IRV allows you the luxury of voting your favorite above all others
as long
> there is little chance of your favorite winning or when there is
> chance of your favorite losing, i.e. when your vote has little
chance of
> making a difference in your favorite's fortune. 
> The times when IRV puts the lesser evil dilemma in front of you,
> strategic incentive to vote your compromise (Gore) above your
> (Nader) are only among those times when your favorite most urgently
> your vote. 

True, but Green party supporters may reason that although IRV may give
the victory to the Republicans, it might also give it to the Greens. 
It all depends on the second choice of the Democrats, in your kind of
example.  Of course, the Green voters may cower, and vote Democratic
out of fear, but then again, they might not, if they feel they have a
good chance of winning.  Of course, an argument can be made that in
such a situation the Democrats should win, being at the center of
public opinion, but I can see why this wouldn't appeal to Green party

Also, I think it's pretty clear that for Greens to actually win, some
of them have to vote for the Green candidate alone.  They can't win as
long as they all vote for the Democrat too.  And voting only for the
Green introduces a risk that the Green candidate will act as a
spoiler.  That seems to me to be a pretty similar situation to the one
described for IRV.

Blake Cretney

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