Let's found an organization to oppose IRV

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Mon Nov 13 21:21:50 PST 2000

Craig Layton wrote:

>I'm definately beginning to doubt the desirability of approval (vis a vis
>IRV) as well.  Despite the apparent simplicity of the system, electoral
>strategies, polling etc becomes much more of a problem.

With any method other than Condorcet, strategy is needed and can
be a problem. That's no secret. But what you may be missing is that
strategy can also be a serious problem in IRV. And in IRV it's
worse because of the need to dump your favorite by voting someone
else over him.

  Consider the effect
>of successive polls in a Bush-Nader-Gore approval election (I'm giving 
>extra support, and assuming that more Gore supporters prefer Nader over 
>than the reverse);
>1) Initial polling, and alot of media about the approval system encourages
>most voters to vote for at least one of these three candidates (ie, 
>voters mostly decide to vote for Bush as well).  Bush 40%, Gore 45%, Nader
>2) Nader voters decide to withdraw their support for Gore, because they
>appear to have a fairly good chance of winning.

The polls show Nader losing to Bush. Maybe some people will be principled 
enough to drop Gore when Nader is even 35/40 as high as Gore.
So what? Principled voters make Gore lose. Good. We did that this
time too, and I hope we can dump the Democrat every time. What's
the problem with that?

The dedicated lesser-of-2-evils compromisers, of course, will continue
to vote for Gore in your scenario. But at least he won't vote Gore
over Nader. That's what I like about Approval.

Bush 40%, Gore 35%, Nader
>3) Nader and Gore voters realise that Bush will win if they don't multiple
>vote.  To improve their outcome, a substantial block of Nader and Gore
>voters trade preferences.  Bush 40%, Gore 45%, Nader 45%.

I really doubt that. As you say yourself, the opposing voters couldn't
trust eachother, unless they're allowed to stand over eachother while
they vote (they wouldn't be allowed to). That deal wouldn't happen.

Bush 40%, Gore 35%, Nader 35%  , when Nader voters don't vote for Gore
in the poll, that's what you're saying. Obviously what will happen
is that all the lesser-of-2-evils people who voted for Gore last week
will vote for him in your scenario when they see that polling result.
They'll do it without counting on the Gore voters voting for Nader.
Gore is the CW. The method has worked.

By the way, judging from my conversations, you greatly overestimate
the percentage of the people who consider Gore their favorite.

IRV would likely have Nader eliminate Gore, possibly then losing
to Bush, and making the Nader people regret that they voted sincerely.

>The point is not so much that polling can be strategically abused by
>approval, but rather that the outcome of approval voting is so uncertain
>(any one could win, and this may or may not have any correlation to 
>actual wishes).

Now that's a funny thing for an IRVie to say about Approval.
The outcome is uncertain? IRV capriciously jumps away from the
voter median to extremes. IRV makes people reverse against their

In your country they do that all the time. You said so yourself.

How much "correlation to actual wishes" does that have :-)

As Don Davison points out, Borda, Condorcet, & Approval all have
something important in common. Here's what it is: They all
act on a candidate's overall high-ratedness. They all are stable
and center-seeking. (Except for Borda's strategy problems outside
of Utopia).

You say Approval has stragegy problems too? Sure, and I've told you
why IRV has worse ones. If you want to really minimize strategy need,
then enact Condorcet.

  If there was the same contest with IRV, Gore and Nader
>voters can vote for their own candidates first (ie vote sincerely) and
>maximise their outcome at the same time.

Nonsense. Only if Nader is such a sure loser, such an unpopular candidate 
that we can be sure that he'll be immediately eliminated.
How many times has it been necessary to answer you people on that

I've never found someone who was voting for Gore because he/she
considered Gore as good as Nader. Every Gore voter I found told me
that Nader is better, but can't win. Apparently Nader is favorite to
more people than Gore is. Nader would eliminate Gore under sincere
voting in IRV.

Mike Ossipoff

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