[EM] Re: Condorcet's strategy problem

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Wed Sep 14 19:38:31 PDT 2005


You wrote:

In my opinion, a method where favorite betrayal scenarios are restricted to
a very narrow range of situations are not a major problem.

I reply:

That's what I believed too. I thought that I, and maybe a few others who 
share my opinions of the candidates, would be the only ones to do 
favorite-burial in wv Condorcet elections.

But then I watched a progressive voting in an Internet presidential poll, by 
rank balloting, counted by BeatpathWinner. That person said that Kerry's 
policies and honesty weren't as good as Nader, but she voted Kerry, and all 
the other Democrat candidates, over Nader. Just what LO2E progressives do 

I admit that that is the only person whom I've observed to do that. But that 
is the only person whom I've observed when they voted in an Internet poll. 
In those polls, as in real elecdtions, there are many votes for the 
Democrats. How many of those are by lesser-of-2-evils-dominated 

You might say that observation of one person doesn't prove anything. Of 
course not. But it isn't just one person. It's two, because, as I was 
saying, I myself would do favorite-burial to increase the probability that 
an acceptable candidate would win. The score, then, is two out of two.

Now obviously, in Internet presidential staw polls by rank balloting, not 
every Nader-preferrer votes Nader below the Democrats. That's obvious 
because Nader usually wins those polls. But you certainly can't tell by 
someone's ballot what their actual preferences are. I can tell you that 
particular voter's preferences because she told me. And I can tell you for 
sure that I'd favorite-bury to maximize the probability of an acceptable 
candidate winning. As I said, then, it's two out of two.

Another thing: Of course the fact that Nader wins those staw polls doesn't 
mean that those Nader-preferrers would vote the same way in a real election. 
They know it isn't a real election, and many are free of their LO2E 
domination. (I myself voted all the acceptables together in 1st place 
instead of ranking them sincerely. I didn't rank them in order of 
winnability because, without AERLO, that might or might not be better than 
equal ranking, and because it's more work, and because it isn't so easy to 
estimate their winnability.)

But when that person voted her favorite below all the Democrats, even in a 
staw poll, you can bet that she'd do the same thing if it were a real 

We can theorize about what voters would do, but I'm just reporting about two 
voters whose preferences and voting I'm in a postition to report.

You continued:

If the polls
start to look something like this, voters will know well in advance. In the
vast majority of situations, there is no incentive to bury your favorite.

I reply:

Our mass-media polls have questionable reliability. And how many voters are 
sophisticated enough to assure themselves that that the situation is such 
that they can't regret not doing favortite-burial?

You continued:

Forest has argued recently (with regards to DMC, but the argument still
applies here) that voters will be very reluctant to vote full favorite
betrayal unless they know for certain that it is necessary.

I reply:

Maybe, for most voters, or maybe not. All I can say is that it isn't true of 
the two voters about whom I'm in a postiion to report.

You know, it depends on how the voter values the candidates. What would you 
yourself do if it were an acceptable/unacceptable situation for you? If you 
vote optimally, you yourself would favorite-bury if it would maximize the 
probability of the winner being an acceptable candidate. And that could be 
so even if there is no information available about whether or not that 
special FBC-failure situation exists.

You continued:

This runs
contrary to what Mike suggest, which is that voters will reverse order
unless they are absolutely sure it is *not* necessary.

I reply:

You, like me, would do that if it were an acceptable/unacceptable situation, 
and, lacking the information needed to judge if an FBC-failiure could 
happen, favorite-burial would maximize the probability that the winner would 
be an acceptable candidate.

You continued:

Ultimately it is very
hard for any of us to predict what effect wv Condorcet voting would have on
the political climate and people's attitudes toward voting.

I reply:

True. I was really surprised when that intelligent progressive voted her 
favorite below all the Democrats. That shows that we can't make reliable 
predictions without observations.  As I said, all I have to report is two 
voters' preferences and voting. But I can tell you that anyone who perceives 
an acceptable/unacceptable situation, and wants to maximize their 
expectation, will favorite-bury if it maximizes the probability that the 
winner will be an acceptable candidate.

Mike Ossipoff

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