[EM] Blake's margins arguments

Blake Cretney blake at condorcet.org
Wed Feb 19 18:48:37 PST 2003

On Tue, 2003-02-18 at 00:22, MIKE OSSIPOFF wrote:

> Blake has recently recommended his margins arguments to us, and so
> for that reason I'd like to reply to them here. I realize that all of
> these arguments have already been replied to here more than once.
> Because Blake's arguments are very long, I'd like to copy part of
> my reply to the beginning of this message:
> Before re-answering the remaining arguments, let me show an example
> of how wv & margins treat majorities differently:
> 101: A
> 50: BAC
> 100: CBA
> About 60% of the voters have indicated that they'd rather elect
> B than A. And so margins elects A.
> WV counts, keeps, & honors the B>A majority. A has a majority defeat that wv 
> doesn't lose or erase. With margins, what happens to that majority against 
> A? Margins erases it.
> With wv, I should add that B wins whether or not the B voters vote
> a 2nd choice.
> If one wants a majority to count, then one doesn't want margins.

Of course margins just counts different majorities.  But let's review
what this whole honoring majorities argument is really about.

Normally, when we speak of honoring a majorities wishes, there is a
majority (at least of those with a preference) and they want something
done, and then you do what they want.  But that's not what is going on
here.  The majority who prefer B to A have differing opinions on C. 
Many may think that C is just as bad as A.  In your example, many think
that C is worse.  So you aren't giving them what they want by electing

A preference for B over A doesn't really say anything by itself about
whether A or C should be elected.

Blake Cretney

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