[EM] SodaHead online Approval Voting poll

Jameson Quinn jameson.quinn at gmail.com
Wed Mar 21 06:09:31 PDT 2012

What strikes me most about the comments is how many of them are positively
proud of their loudmouth know-nothingism. The same people who think it's a
liberal plot seem to enjoy showing off their closed-mindedness. That is,
they see it not as a rational argument, but as a tribal counting-coup on
those egghead liberals.

Finding better rational arguments is not going to change such people's
minds. I'm not really sure what would. It seems that they make up their
minds pretty quickly and reflexively. Now I know that such blowhards are
overrepresented on the internet, but the truth is they tend to make more
than their share of noise in any context, so it's important to have some
strategy to deal with them.

... Separately, I think your point about the demographics is a good one.
Obviously, the sample sizes are small and so basically none of it is
reliable (statistically significant), but still, it can give some clues. As
far as I can see states on that map which have the most-significant (not
largest) advantages for "Yes, approval" are New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Minnesota, South Carolina, Oregon, and Florida. Smaller states would be
unlikely to show significance even if there were an advantage, but the
small New England states might be promising too.


2012/3/21 Kristofer Munsterhjelm <km_elmet at lavabit.com>

> On 03/20/2012 01:51 PM, Jameson Quinn wrote:
>> I know that online polls are silly. But thousands of people see them,
>> and if they see that the idea actually has support, some of them will be
>> more open to consider if it has merit.
> While the poll has comments of low quality, and the users seem to be
> against Approval at the moment, I do think even those low-quality comments
> can be useful.
> Namely, they give us insight into the objections, fair or not, to Approval
> itself. There are partisan arguments ("this is a liberal plot to deny
> conservatives their voting power"), what can be done about them? Can we
> point out places where conservatives are being hurt by vote-splitting? Can
> we point at Ron Paul when responding to a libertarian?
> Then there are method centric arguments. Some are just confused about what
> the thing means, as one can see by the "oh, and let the voters vote for a
> single candidate many times" type of posts. Others think it violates
> one-man one-vote. How can we clear that up? Perhaps by rephrasing it in
> terms of thumbs-up/thumbs-down? If each voter gets ten options to either do
> thumbs-up (approve) or not (don't approve), then the voting power is the
> same for each. Maybe that is a better phrasing than approve/not in any
> case, and maybe it's a better format, too, because it clears up the
> confusion between "haven't made a choice about X" (no approval) and "have
> voted, but didn't like X" (also no approval).
> And so on...
> The demographics, if representative, may also give some idea as to where
> it will be hard to sell. What kinds of people like Approval the least? Why?
> I do note that there are very few arguments about chicken dilemma
> situations. If there are barriers to Approval being adopted, that isn't it
> - at least not yet. Though one could of course say that the reason nobody
> objects using the chicken dilemma is that they haven't studied the thing
> enough to know there actually *is* a chicken dilemma problem.
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