[EM] Why I think IRV isn't a serious alternative 2

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Mon Dec 22 02:18:34 PST 2008

> > James Gilmour had written:
> > It MAY be possible to imaging (one day) a President of the USA elected 
> > by Condorcet who had 32% of the first preferences against 35% and 33% 
> > for the other two candidates.  But I find it completely unimaginable, 
> > ever, that a candidate with 5% of the first preferences could be 
> > elected to that office as the Condorcet winner when the other two 
> > candidates had 48% and 47% of the first preferences.
> > Condorcet winner  - no doubt.  But effective President  -  never!

Dave Ketchum  > Sent: Monday, December 22, 2008 4:24 AM 
> Such a weak Condorcet winner would also be unlikely.
> Second preferences?
>       That 5% would have to avoid the two strong candidates.
>       The other two have to avoid voting for each other - likely, for they 
> are likely enemies of each other.
>       The other two could elect the 5%er - getting the 5% 
> makes this seem possible.
>       Could elect a candidate who got no first preference 
> votes?  Seems unlikely.
> I see the three each as possibles via first and second preferences - and 
> acceptable even with only 5% first - likely a compromise candidate.
> Any other unlikely to be a winner.
> What were you thinking of as weak winner?

I'm afraid I don't understand your examples at all.  The "no first preferences" example is so extreme I would not consider it
realistic.  But, of course, if it were possible to elect a "no first preferences" candidate as the Condorcet winner, such a result
would completely unacceptable politically and the consequences would be disastrous.

The two situations I had in mind were:
Democrat candidate D;  Republican candidate R;  "centrist" candidate M

Election 1
35% D>M;  33% R>M;  32% M

Election 2
48% D>M;  47% R>M;  5% M

M is the Condorcet winner in both elections, but the political consequences of the two results would be very different.  My own view
is that the result of the first election would be acceptable, but the result of the second election would be unacceptable to the
electorate as well as to the partisan politicians (who cannot be ignored completely!).  If such an outcome is possible with a
particular voting system (as it is with Condorcet), that voting system will not be adopted for public elections.


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