Archive for the ‘Elections – General’ Category

Reprise: How Beef-Loving Voters Can Get Tofu (aka Trump) for President

March 9, 2016

This is from the HomaFiles archives – one of my favs.

The original WSJ article was inspired by Clinton’s win over elder Bush (the Perot factor), younger Bush’s win over Gore (the Nader factor), and Jesse Ventura’s gov win in Minnesota.

trump rubio cruz kasich

The analysis has relevancy these days, given the way that the not-Trump vote is being carved thin among the array of GOP presidential contenders.

Let’s see how Iowa turns out tonight …

(more…)

Reprise: How Beef-Loving Voters Can Get Tofu (aka Trump) for President

February 1, 2016

This is from the HomaFiles archives – one of my favs.

The original WSJ article was inspired by Clinton’s win over elder Bush (the Perot factor), younger Bush’s win over Gore (the Nader factor), and Jesse Ventura’s gov win in Minnesota.

image.png

The analysis has relevancy these days, given the way that the not-Trump vote is being carved thin among many GOP presidential contenders.

Let’s see how Iowa turns out tonight …

(more…)

Reprise: How Beef-Loving Voters Can Get Tofu for President

August 10, 2015

This is from the HomaFiles archives – one of my favs.

The original article was inspired by Clinton’s win over elder Bush (the Perot factor), younger Bush’s win over Gore (the Nader factor), and Jesse Ventura’s gov win in Minnesota.

The analysis has relevancy these days, given the way that the not-Trump vote is being carved thin among many GOP presidential contenders.

* * * * *
Excerpted from WSJ: How Beef-Hungry Voters Can Get Tofu for President, March 14, 2003

Those odd ducks who scrutinize returns, calculate how each additional candidate affects the others’ chances and analyze strategic voting are hard at work. I refer, of course, to mathematicians.

Yes, there is a mathematics of elections.

Research has identified various voting systems world-wide in which, paradoxically, becoming more popular can make a candidate lose, abstaining gives your preferred candidate a better chance, and picking a winner means accepting someone a majority of voters don’t want.

This last paradox characterizes the U.S. system of plurality voting (vote for one; the top vote-getter wins). It works fine when there are two candidates, but with three or more, plurality voting can come up short.

For a democracy, the mathematicians’ most robust result is chilling. “It’s surprisingly difficult to identify a voting system that accurately captures the will of the people”.

* * * * *

The Election

So as not to inflame passions with current political examples I’ll illustrate his point with food.

You and two colleagues are planning an office party, and the caterer offers chicken, steak or tofu. You poll 17 invitees:

5 people prefer chicken to steak to tofu.

2 people prefer chicken to tofu to steak.

4 people prefer steak to tofu to chicken.

4 people prefer tofu to steak to chicken.

2 people prefer tofu to chicken to steak.

One organizer tallies the ballots by the plurality method, counting only first-place votes. Chicken wins (7 votes), while steak is last (4 votes).

A second organizer uses “approval voting,” in which voters mark all acceptable choices (everyone’s top two choices are acceptable). Now steak wins with 13, tofu gets 12 and chicken is last with 9.

The third organizer uses a point system that gives their first choices 2 points, second choices 1 and last picks 0. Now tofu wins with 18, steak gets 17, chicken 16.

The ‘winner’ changes with the choice of election procedureAn ‘election winner’ could reflect the choice of an election procedure” rather than the will of the people.

* * * * *

It gets better. Thanks to a mathematical property called non-monotonicity, in some voting systems, ranking a choice higher can defeat it.

In a plurality-with-runoff system, the two candidates with the most first-place votes face one another in round two.

This time, we invite other departments to our office party, and get this first-round result:

27 prefer chicken to steak to tofu.

42 prefer tofu to chicken to steak.

24 prefer steak to tofu to chicken.

Chicken (27 votes) and tofu (42) reach the runoff. Assuming steak fans maintain their preference and give their second-round votes to tofu, tofu wins the runoff.

That seems fair.

But what if four people in the group of 27 chicken lovers are last-minute converts to vegetarianism and, in round one, prefer tofu to chicken to steak, like the group of 42?

Now steak (24 first-place votes) and tofu (46) make the runoff, in which steak beats tofu 47 to 46. Tofu’s late surge turned its win into a loss.

* * * * *

Such paradoxes tend to occur under specific but far from unusual circumstances.

With plurality voting, the most common is when two centrists face an extremist. The majority splits its vote between the centrists, allowing the fringe candidate to squeak in. In Minnesota’s 1998 governor’s race, Hubert Humphrey got 28% of the vote, Norm Coleman 34% and Jesse Ventura won with 37%, even though most voters ranked him last.

* * * * *

Thanks to such outcomes, scientists say what’s most needed is “a way for voters to register their second and third choices … especially in primaries, where there tends to be a large field.” Both a ranking system (give candidates 4, 3, 2 or 1 point) and approval voting accomplish that.

The U.N. chooses a secretary-general by approval voting. “It is particularly appealing in elections with many candidates … If your favorite candidate is a long shot, you can vote for both him and a candidate with a better chance without wasting your vote on the long shot. Approval voting would do a lot to address the problem of presidential-primary victors not being the choice of most voters.” Approval voting could well make more people (especially supporters of long shots) feel their ballot matters.

Still, no system is perfect. As Nobel-winning economist Kenneth Arrow proved mathematically in 1951, no voting system is guaranteed to be free of paradoxes in a race with three or more candidates, except one — a dictatorship.

Here’s a wild election scenario that you won’t see anywhere else …

August 7, 2015

First, a couple of disclaimers:

This is neither my prediction of what’s to come, nor my preference..

It’s just an oddball scenario that could conceivably happen.

 

image

Bottom line:

All the pundits say that if Trump runs as a 3rd party candidate, then the GOP is toast..

I say: Not so fast …

(more…)

Millennials amped about 2016 election, but …

February 6, 2015

Fusion.net surveyed 1000 people aged 18-34 about everything from politics to dating.

One finding: The millennials are say they’re engaged ahead of the all-important 2016 election.

 

image

That’s a good thing, except …

One question revealed how alarmingly uninformed they  are about politics …

(more…)

Turnout: About the Dems’ highly touted GOTV ground game … and other ironic twists.

November 7, 2014

The United States Elections Project estimates that only 36.6% of eligible voters cast a ballot on Tuesday.

That’s pretty ironic since the Dems were, before the election, boasting about their predictive analytics and their unstoppable get-out-the-vote organization.

I haven’t been hearing much on the news about the GOTV machine that failed to get-out-the-vote.

 

 

image

=====

So, what happened?  Here are a couple of hypotheses to ponder (more…)

Tuesday: A bad night for pollsters … and some other folks.

November 6, 2014

The election results looked a lot different than the pollsters predicted.

Pat Roberts was supposed to lose … he won by a comfortable margin.

Joni Ernst “might” eek out win … she romped.

Mark Warner was supposed to be popping champagne corks by 8 o’clock … he got less than 50% and the VA race hasn’t been officially called yet.

What happened?

Nate Silver’s 535 has nailed the symptoms … but not the cause.

 

image

=====

Bottom line: Silver’s crew observes that there was an average 4-point polling bias in favor of the Dems ….

(more…)

Reprise: How Beef-Loving Voters Can Get Tofu for President

January 11, 2012

Ken’s Take: This is from the HomaFiles archives – one of my favs.

The original article was inspired by Clinton’s win over elder Bush (the Perot factor), younger Bush’s win over Gore (the Nader factor), and Jesse Ventura’s gov win in Minnesota.

The analysis has relevancy these days, given the way that the not-Romney vote is being carved thin among many conservative GOP presidential contenders.

* * * * *
Excerpted from WSJ: How Beef-Hungry Voters Can Get Tofu for President, March 14, 2003

Those odd ducks who scrutinize returns, calculate how each additional candidate affects the others’ chances and analyze strategic voting are hard at work. I refer, of course, to mathematicians.

Yes, there is a mathematics of elections.

Research has identified various voting systems world-wide in which, paradoxically, becoming more popular can make a candidate lose, abstaining gives your preferred candidate a better chance, and picking a winner means accepting someone a majority of voters don’t want.

This last paradox characterizes the U.S. system of plurality voting (vote for one; the top vote-getter wins). It works fine when there are two candidates, but with three or more, plurality voting can come up short.

For a democracy, the mathematicians’ most robust result is chilling. “It’s surprisingly difficult to identify a voting system that accurately captures the will of the people”.

* * * * *

The Election

So as not to inflame passions with current political examples I’ll illustrate his point with food.

You and two colleagues are planning an office party, and the caterer offers chicken, steak or tofu. You poll 17 invitees:

5 people prefer chicken to steak to tofu.

2 people prefer chicken to tofu to steak.

4 people prefer steak to tofu to chicken.

4 people prefer tofu to steak to chicken.

2 people prefer tofu to chicken to steak.

One organizer tallies the ballots by the plurality method, counting only first-place votes. Chicken wins (7 votes), while steak is last (4 votes).

A second organizer uses “approval voting,” in which voters mark all acceptable choices (everyone’s top two choices are acceptable). Now steak wins with 13, tofu gets 12 and chicken is last with 9.

The third organizer uses a point system that gives their first choices 2 points, second choices 1 and last picks 0. Now tofu wins with 18, steak gets 17, chicken 16.

The ‘winner’ changes with the choice of election procedureAn ‘election winner’ could reflect the choice of an election procedure” rather than the will of the people.

* * * * *

It gets better. Thanks to a mathematical property called non-monotonicity, in some voting systems, ranking a choice higher can defeat it.

In a plurality-with-runoff system, the two candidates with the most first-place votes face one another in round two.

This time, we invite other departments to our office party, and get this first-round result:

27 prefer chicken to steak to tofu.

42 prefer tofu to chicken to steak.

24 prefer steak to tofu to chicken.

Chicken (27 votes) and tofu (42) reach the runoff. Assuming steak fans maintain their preference and give their second-round votes to tofu, tofu wins the runoff.

That seems fair.

But what if four people in the group of 27 chicken lovers are last-minute converts to vegetarianism and, in round one, prefer tofu to chicken to steak, like the group of 42?

Now steak (24 first-place votes) and tofu (46) make the runoff, in which steak beats tofu 47 to 46. Tofu’s late surge turned its win into a loss.

* * * * *

Such paradoxes tend to occur under specific but far from unusual circumstances.

With plurality voting, the most common is when two centrists face an extremist. The majority splits its vote between the centrists, allowing the fringe candidate to squeak in. In Minnesota’s 1998 governor’s race, Hubert Humphrey got 28% of the vote, Norm Coleman 34% and Jesse Ventura won with 37%, even though most voters ranked him last.

* * * * *

Thanks to such outcomes, scientists say what’s most needed is “a way for voters to register their second and third choices … especially in primaries, where there tends to be a large field.” Both a ranking system (give candidates 4, 3, 2 or 1 point) and approval voting accomplish that.

The U.N. chooses a secretary-general by approval voting. “It is particularly appealing in elections with many candidates … If your favorite candidate is a long shot, you can vote for both him and a candidate with a better chance without wasting your vote on the long shot. Approval voting would do a lot to address the problem of presidential-primary victors not being the choice of most voters.” Approval voting could well make more people (especially supporters of long shots) feel their ballot matters.

Still, no system is perfect. As Nobel-winning economist Kenneth Arrow proved mathematically in 1951, no voting system is guaranteed to be free of paradoxes in a race with three or more candidates, except one — a dictatorship.

Dancin’ in the streets: 61% think election results are positive for the country …

November 19, 2010

According to a recent WSJ poll …

Question: Overall, how do you feel about the results of this year’s elections — do you feel they are very positive for the country, somewhat positive, somewhat negative, or very negative for the country?

image

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/WSJpoll111710.pdf

Why there are nitwits and scoundrels in Washington ?

November 10, 2010

I think everybody has wondered at one time or another: with so many talented, solid citizens around, why are our election day ballots littered with losers? 

Why do we have to pick the least of the evils rather than being torn between 2 highly qualified candidates who both deserve to get elected?

Peggy Noonan has a perspective: Negative advertising tears everything down.

It contributes to the cynicism of the populace, especially the young.

It undermines the faith in government Democrats are always asking us to have, by undermining respect for those who govern, or who seek to.

It wears everyone down.

And in the long term, though this can never be quantified, it keeps from electoral politics untold numbers of citizens who could bring their gifts and guts to helping solve our problems.

I will never forget the visionary real-world entrepreneur who sighed, when I once urged him to enter politics, “I’ve lived an imperfect life. They’d kill me.”

WSJ, The Twister of 2010, Oct. 1, 2010
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704483004575524340160716872.html?mod=djemEditorialPage_t

"Words matter" … after lecturing us, the orator-in-chief gets another teaching moment.

November 2, 2010

Remember when — during the presidential campaign — candidate Obama was criticized by some folks as being all talk?

His response was a speech — which he plagiarized from Gov. Patrick of Massachusetts — that refrained the phrase “they’re not ‘just’ words, words matter”.

Well, last week he told Latino voters that they should vote “to punish their enemies”.

That has become a battle cry in recent days … for his opponents.

One of Obama’s usual targets — John Boehner — put it succinctly:

We have a president in the White House who referred to Americans who disagree with him as ‘our enemies’.

Think about that. He actually used that word.

When Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush used the word ‘enemy,’ they reserved it for global terrorists and foreign dictators – enemies of the United States.

Sadly, we have [a] president who used the word ‘enemy’ for fellow Americans … fellow citizens.

He uses it for people who disagree with his agenda for bigger government…people speaking out for a smaller, more accountable government.”

WSJ, Boehner Blasts Obama’s ‘Enemies’ Line*, November 1, 2010
http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2010/11/01/boehner-blasts-obamas-enemies-line/

I think Obama’s message resonated … more with his opponents than his supporters.

* * * * *

While I’m on the subject, don’t forget his cocky proclamation “elections have consequences, and I won

I wonder if tomorrow morning he’ll man-up and say “elections have consequences, and I lost”

My, oh my … words do matter, don’t they ?

Dems: “An inefficiently distributed base of voters”

October 20, 2010

An interesting election snippet that caught my eye …

“The Democratic Party has “an inefficiently distributed base of voters.”

It “consists mostly of union workers, upscale urban liberals and minority voters, many of whom are clustered in highly Democratic districts.”

In many other districts, Democratic candidates depend on “independents and soft partisans,” the very voters who have defected from the Obama coalition of 2008.

If Democrats lose control of the House by a small number of seats, this might be condign punishment for a practice they favor  — racial gerrymandering.

It concentrates African-American voters in majority-minority districts in order to guarantee the election of minority candidates.

George F. Will: An election of historic significance
http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=George+F.+Will%3A+An+election+of+historic+significance&articleId=289c83e0-246d-46a2-aaa6-701321cf476f

Dems losing "guys who spend nights wearing funny hats"

October 15, 2010

A couple of interesting election snippets that caught my eye …

* * * * *

“Forget about Big Business moving away from us,” said one administration official, “we’re losing the Kiwanis Club guys who own a small business and spend their nights wearing those funny hats.

They’re independents and we need them but all the class warfare stuff seems to have pushed them away.”

Daily Beast, Obama Secretly Courts Big Business, by Charlie Gasparino
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-10-14/how-obama-secretly-courts-big-business/2/

* * * * *

“The Democratic Party has “an inefficiently distributed base of voters.”

It “consists mostly of union workers, upscale urban liberals and minority voters, many of whom are clustered in highly Democratic districts.”

In many other districts, Democratic candidates depend on “independents and soft partisans,” the very voters who have defected from the Obama coalition of 2008.

If Democrats lose control of the House by a small number of seats, this might be condign punishment for a practice they favor and that Republicans have cynically encouraged — racial gerrymandering.

It concentrates African-American voters in majority-minority districts in order to guarantee the election of minority candidates.

George F. Will: An election of historic significance
http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=George+F.+Will%3A+An+election+of+historic+significance&articleId=289c83e0-246d-46a2-aaa6-701321cf476f

Dems losing “guys who spend nights wearing funny hats”

October 15, 2010

A couple of interesting election snippets that caught my eye …

* * * * *

“Forget about Big Business moving away from us,” said one administration official, “we’re losing the Kiwanis Club guys who own a small business and spend their nights wearing those funny hats.

They’re independents and we need them but all the class warfare stuff seems to have pushed them away.”

Daily Beast, Obama Secretly Courts Big Business, by Charlie Gasparino
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-10-14/how-obama-secretly-courts-big-business/2/

* * * * *

“The Democratic Party has “an inefficiently distributed base of voters.”

It “consists mostly of union workers, upscale urban liberals and minority voters, many of whom are clustered in highly Democratic districts.”

In many other districts, Democratic candidates depend on “independents and soft partisans,” the very voters who have defected from the Obama coalition of 2008.

If Democrats lose control of the House by a small number of seats, this might be condign punishment for a practice they favor and that Republicans have cynically encouraged — racial gerrymandering.

It concentrates African-American voters in majority-minority districts in order to guarantee the election of minority candidates.

George F. Will: An election of historic significance
http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=George+F.+Will%3A+An+election+of+historic+significance&articleId=289c83e0-246d-46a2-aaa6-701321cf476f

"Young People and Minorities Are All the President Has Left"

October 4, 2010

That’s the headline on the National Journal’s new poll of Americans, conducted with the Pew Research Center.

Digging into the details:

  • Obama still retains support among voters under 30 , but even there his excellent or good job rating is only 45%, as opposed to 47% who rate him fair or poor.
  • His worst numbers are with voters aged 50 to 64, only 34% of whom rate him positively.
  • Minority voters are still solidly behind the president, with 76% of blacks expressing approval. A majority of Hispanic voters also still approve.
  • Among non-Hispanic whites, the bottom has dropped out. Only 30% score Obama positively, with 66% rating him fair or poor.
  • White women who are college graduates give Obama a 39% positive job rating; 31% of white men with a similar educational background do.
  • Only 31% of white women without a college degree rate the president well; only 22% of men without a college degree .

WSJ, For Obama, Even the Good News Is Bad, Sept. 30, 2010
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704116004575522160145340470.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion

 

Clyburn says: “GOP majority would waste time, create gridlock”

October 1, 2010

House Majority whip James Clyburn warned other Dems this week that the GOP — if they win a majority in the House — would waste Congress’ time with hearings into whether the Obama was really born in Hawaii.
 http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/121059-rep-clyburn-gop-majority-will-issue-birther-subpoenas-against-ob

My take:

  1. His comment comes during the week that the House committee was entertained by Stephen Colbert’s stand-up testimony.
  2. I like it when the Congress wastes time … means they’re not causing any real damage.
  3. I am concerned that Congress adjourned with unfinished business, e.g. steroids in baseball, the BCS play-off sytem.
  4. Is that Clyburn’s best shot re: why Dems should be elected ??? 

How Beef-Loving Voters Can Get Tofu for President

November 2, 2009

Ken’s Take: This is from my archives – one of my favs.  The original article was inspired by Clinton’s win over elder Bush (the Perot factor), younger Bush’d win over Gore (the Nader factor), and Jesse Ventura’s gov win in Minnesota.

There’s current news in the article since the independent in NJ may allow Corzine to sneak thru, and the Conservative may prevail in NY 23 as the party cadidates split the liberal vote. It’ll be interesting to watch … and (I think), the article is a fun read.

* * * * *
Excerpted from WSJ:  How Beef-Hungry Voters Can Get Tofu for President, March 14, 2003

Those odd ducks who scrutinize returns, calculate how each additional candidate affects the others’ chances and analyze strategic voting are hard at work. I refer, of course, to mathematicians.

Yes, there is a mathematics of elections.

Research has identified various voting systems world-wide in which, paradoxically, becoming more popular can make a candidate lose, abstaining gives your preferred candidate a better chance, and picking a winner means accepting someone a majority of voters don’t want.

This last paradox characterizes the U.S. system of plurality voting (vote for one; the top vote-getter wins). It works fine when there are two candidates, but with three or more, plurality voting can come up short.

For a democracy, the mathematicians’ most robust result is chilling. “It’s surprisingly difficult to identify a voting system that accurately captures the will of the people”.

* * * * *

The Election

So as not to inflame passions with current political examples I’ll illustrate his point with food.

You and two colleagues are planning an office party, and the caterer offers chicken, steak or tofu. You poll 17 invitees:

5 people prefer chicken to steak to tofu.

2 people prefer chicken to tofu to steak.

4 people prefer steak to tofu to chicken.

4 people prefer tofu to steak to chicken.

2 people prefer tofu to chicken to steak.

One organizer tallies the ballots by the plurality method, counting only first-place votes. Chicken wins (7 votes), while steak is last (4 votes).

A second organizer uses “approval voting,” in which voters mark all acceptable choices (everyone’s top two choices are acceptable). Now steak wins with 13, tofu gets 12 and chicken is last with 9.

The third organizer uses a point system that gives their first choices 2 points, second choices 1 and last picks 0. Now tofu wins with 18, steak gets 17, chicken 16.

The ‘winner’ changes with the choice of election procedureAn ‘election winner’ could reflect the choice of an election procedure” rather than the will of the people.

* * * * *

It gets better. Thanks to a mathematical property called nonmonotonicity, in some voting systems, ranking a choice higher can defeat it.

In a plurality-with-runoff system, the two candidates with the most first-place votes face one another in round two.

This time, we invite other departments to our office party, and get this first-round result:

27 prefer chicken to steak to tofu.

42 prefer tofu to chicken to steak.

24 prefer steak to tofu to chicken.

Chicken (27 votes) and tofu (42) reach the runoff. Assuming steak fans maintain their preference and give their second-round votes to tofu, tofu wins the runoff.

That seems fair.

But what if four people in the group of 27 chicken lovers are last-minute converts to vegetarianism and, in round one, prefer tofu to chicken to steak, like the group of 42?

Now steak (24 first-place votes) and tofu (46) make the runoff, in which steak beats tofu 47 to 46. Tofu’s late surge turned its win into a loss.

* * * * *

Such paradoxes tend to occur under specific but far from unusual circumstances.

With plurality voting, the most common is when two centrists face an extremist. The majority splits its vote between the centrists, allowing the fringe candidate to squeak in. In Minnesota’s 1998 governor’s race, Hubert Humphrey got 28% of the vote, Norm Coleman 34% and Jesse Ventura won with 37%, even though most voters ranked him last.

* * * * *

Thanks to such outcomes, scientists say what’s most needed is “a way for voters to register their second and third choices … especially in primaries, where there tends to be a large field.” Both a ranking system (give candidates 4, 3, 2 or 1 point) and approval voting accomplish that.

The U.N. chooses a secretary-general by approval voting. “It is particularly appealing in elections with many candidates … If your favorite candidate is a long shot, you can vote for both him and a candidate with a better chance without wasting your vote on the long shot. Approval voting would do a lot to address the problem of presidential-primary victors not being the choice of most voters.” Approval voting could well make more people (especially supporters of long shots) feel their ballot matters.

Still, no system is perfect. As Nobel-winning economist Kenneth Arrow proved mathematically in 1951, no voting system is guaranteed to be free of paradoxes in a race with three or more candidates, except one — a dictatorship.