VA, Margins, & voter wishes

Mike Ositoff ntk at
Wed Oct 7 14:17:45 PDT 1998

>  I therefore, suggest that one person saying A > B and one
> saying B > A should be considered to cancel each other out.  This
> is the basis for using margins.  

Sure, they cancel out if it's a 2-candidate election. Otherwise
they still cancel out if you're trying to judge which proposition
is true, that goal that I consider unattainable. But they don't
cancel out if you consider that large numbers of voters want
to cast a vote against someone, and are willing to insincerely
uprank a lower choice perceived to be more winnable in order
to accomplish that effective vote-against, and that we can
avoid making them have to do that if we actually count the votes-
against expressed in their rankings.

BTW, wouldn't ratio, rather than difference be a better way
of comparing votes against & for, to judge the likelihood that
a pairwise result is true?

If we're scoring candidate B, and we're looking at his defeats,
because defeats, not victories, are what keep him from winning,
from being unbeaten, then the number of people who want his
defeat is more meaningful than the number who want his victory
(with respect to A). Because defeats are more important than
victories in determining if a candidate is winner.


> Blake
> "Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the
> people are right more than half of the time."
>                Elwyn Brook White
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