Friday, 25 April 2008

on the London mayoral election - tactical voting

I have heard a lot of people say they are not voting for Brian Paddick because if they do Boris Johnson will get over 50% of the vote and win simply based on the 1st preferences, so they are voting for Ken to prevent this happening (see graph).

If Boris is going to get 50% of the vote in the first round, he will get 50% in the first round regardless of who you give your first preference to, here’s why.

Even if everyone who intend to for one of the other candidates decided to believe this OMGwemustkeepborisoutsovoteken waffle and did vote Ken. Boris my dear friends would still get over 50% and win without a second round (as illustrated on the graph, on the left pre-waffle on the right post-waffle)

Tactical voting using the electoral system is not necessary in London until you get to the second preference votes (it would if it was a first past the post system but its not!), its up to you to decide who out of the now 9 candidates you think will make it to the second round and to vote accordingly to keep the other one out. In the first round you should vote for who you would like to make it to the second round. My choice is Brian Paddick and it should be yours too.

The only way to avoid Boris getting over 50% of the vote in the first round is to make sure you go out and vote for someone else, sitting at home will not help.

Thanks to
ajanusface (for making it click), stop Boris blog and yorksher gob

9 comments:

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) 25 April 2008 at 16:11  

Actually, you're wrong. Tactical voting does matter for first preference votes.

Anyone who would rather have Brian Paddick than either Livingstone or Johnson should give Paddick their first preference vote, while giving the candidate they would prefer between Livingstone or Johnson their second preference vote. Giving any other party your first preference simply ensures that the election will be a run off between the top two tipped candidates.

Sadly, I don't think that is an easy thing to explain on the doorstep.

thechristophe 25 April 2008 at 16:23  

no you are wrong, what you are describing isn't tactical voting at all,

"Anyone who would rather have Brian Paddick than either Livingstone or Johnson should give Paddick their first preference vote"

thats not tactical voting, if you were going to vote Brian for first preference and do, then thats simply voting for who you would like.

There is a difference between that and telling someone to vote for your candidate, which I believe is what you are telling people 'on the doorstep'...

"Giving any other party your first preference simply ensures that the election will be a run off between the top two tipped candidates"

telling someone to vote for your candidate is common sense electioneering not tactical voting

Tactical voting is best summed up as (from wiki): In voting systems, tactical voting (or strategic voting or sophisticated voting) occurs when a voter supports a candidate other than his or her sincere preference in order to prevent an undesirable outcome.

If Brian is their sincere preference then they should be voting for them any way.

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) 25 April 2008 at 16:30  

Of course it's tactical voting! Take for example a Green supporter who really hates Ken Livingstone, prefers Paddick but would settle for Livingstone over Johnson.

If they were voting in an AV election, they would vote this way:

Berry 1
Paddick 2
Livingstone 3

Under SV, if that individual were to not vote tactically at all, they would vote:

Berry 1
Paddick 2

If they were to vote tactically for their second vote but not tactically for their first vote, they would vote:

Berry 1
Livingstone 2

If they were to vote tactically for both votes, they would have to vote:

Paddick 1
Livingstone 2

That is a very real dilemma for a lot of people. You simply cannot claim that is not tactical voting.

thechristophe 25 April 2008 at 16:37  

I agree if a Green supporter is choosing then it is tactical voting to choose Brian if they don't want Ken or Boris.
You didn't however mention that it was a Green supporter in your original comment simply stating

"Anyone who would rather have Brian Paddick than either Livingstone or Johnson should give Paddick their first preference vote"

but your argument could be transposed to any party, a Green supporter wanting it to be between Sian, Boris or Ken should give Sian their first preference etc. etc.

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) 25 April 2008 at 17:03  

I think we have differing interpretations of the term "anyone". You appear to interpret it to mean just Paddick supporters, while I meant it in the context of, um, anyone.

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) 25 April 2008 at 17:06  

Sideswipes aside, my point is that while I used a Green supporter for my example, I could have used a UKIP, Respect, English Democrat, Christian Choice or Winston McKenzie supporter equally well. In each and every case, if they would prefer Paddick over and above either Johnson or Livingstone, they will have to choose between voting tactically and giving Paddick their first preference, and giving their first preference to their most preferred candidate.

jackw85 25 April 2008 at 17:25  

I hadn't really visualised it like that.

I suppose the only bad thing I could do would be not to vote, thereby increasing Borris' share of the vote.

I suppose the only reason to 'tactically' vote in the first round is if you thought it was possible to get Ken (or another candidate) a 50%+ share and thereby stop there being a second round. A few people are saying Boris might actually do better than Ken in a second round (unlikely but still). In that case you could argue that Paddick supporters should vote ken first to stop the evil that is Borris.

As I think James is trying to say the real dilemma is for those who can't chose between Boris and Ken, should they waste they're vote on another, third candidate?

thechristophe 25 April 2008 at 17:58  

@ James, I think I get what you are saying although my post was more focused on Labour telling people not to vote for Paddick because Boris will get over 50%

@ Jack, Ken won't get over 50% in the first round, I don't think any candidate will

Richard Gadsden 27 April 2008 at 14:32  

There is a real tactical vote - if you're a Ken supporter who want to stop Boris, then the best voting option is to vote Brian 1, Ken 2, as Brian's second preferences are less reliably anti-Boris than Ken's

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