Revealing the Majority Winner

Mike Ositoff ntk at
Thu Nov 12 19:42:18 PST 1998


Bart said:

>By overall support, I mean 1st choice 

> votes, less strongly lower votes.  I suppose this implies either some
> sort of weighting mechanism, or else a method where the top votes are
> more likely to be used than the lower votes.  I have no definite formula
> for this, I guess "desirability * votes" or "utility * winnability" are
> as good as any.

That's a mess. Trying to use some arbitray definition of overall
support, instead of just counting expressed preferences hetween
candidates leads to nothing but a mess.

Desirability*votes? And who rates desirability? By votesk,
you mean 1st choice votes? As for winnability*utility, you'd
suggested it as a measure for voting strategy, and I replied
by telling how the mathematical strategy for PLuralilty &
Approval is actually done. If the election is between a
Democrat & a Republican, and the Repub has a 60% chance
of winning, and the Democrat 40%, and if, when we call the
Dem's utility for you 1.0, the Repub's utility for you is
.75, then, if you vote for the candidate with the biggest
utility*winnability, you'd vote for the Repub even though
you like him less. No, the strategic value strategy that
I described is the one that gives maximum utility expectation
and which is what voters try to use even if they don't
know it.
> I realize that the rankings are relative, and not measures of absolute
> desirability.  Because of this I think the more conservative approach is
> to assume fairly low levels of desirability for the intermediate ranks. 

We don't have a right to assume anything that the voter didn't
say. All he says with his ranking is that he prefers A to B
if he's ranked A over B.

> The only ranks we really know about are the first and last, and I'm not
> so sure about the last.
> AV/IRO attempts to use the weakest first choice as a proxy for lowest
> "overall support" or "absolute desireability".  It may not be the ideal
> substitute, but at least it's a reasonable one.  Intermediate choices

Nothing is reasonable about that endevor.

> If the first choice doesn't mean more than lower choices, why do we all
> seem to agree that a candidate with 50.1% of the first choice vote
> should win over someone with 100% of the second choice vote?

Not because we're Plurality advocates. It's because compared to
any other candidate, most voters would rather have that majority
winner than that other candidate.


> Bart

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