[EM] No evidence that IRV doesn't fail. Reasons why it must.

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Fri Jan 23 09:35:05 PST 2004

Eric asked: 
> Why do you believe that the first place preferences matter more then 
> the middle or final preferences? What is the basis for this 
> assumption?

Unless you ask the voters specifically you cannot know, but I think there is an intuitive answer.
Consider a Borda election in which a candidate, with a majority of the first preference votes is
defeated.  I think most voters would intuitively consider such a result to be "wrong".  Those
immersed in social choice theory may argue that such voters have been brainwashed by decades of
exposure to plurality voting systems and need to be educated to see the one true light.  But I know
from experience what the intuitive reaction of most voters is.  On that basis I think we can say
that first place preferences do matter more than later preferences.  But that, of course, is quite
different from constructing a voting system that depends on assigning specific values to successive
preferences when you have not asked the voters what those values might be.

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list