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Ranked Choice Poll Mess/NYC Mayoral Race

June 3, 2021 am30 9:24 am

We are thinking about “lanes” – blame modern polling pundits for that – but voters apparently aren’t. It’s the easy way to break down politics, especially if you are a numbers guy, nNuAmTbTeSrIsI LgVuEyR… and don’t know much about politics.

Ranked Choice Polling (asking what voters will do in a ranked choice elections) gives away the mistake.

Here’s the last ranked choice poll that I can find on wikipedia:

Notice what happens when Morales is eliminated? Adams and Yang don’t gain votes. Stringer and Garcia gain 1% each. And Wiley gains 5%. That’s like 70% of Morales’ vote going to Wiley. That’s a lane, isn’t it?

But watch what happens when Stringer goes out. His 13% goes to Adams (3%), Garcia (4%), Wiley (5%), and Yang (3%). Pretty evenly split. No lane.

And previous polls? A May 17 poll has Morales’ vote going 1% to Adams, 2% to Garcia, 1% to McGuire (!), 3% to Wiley. No lane. And Stringer’s going 3% Adams, 4% Garcia, 3% Wiley, 3% Yang. No lane at all. More of his votes go to Garcia than to Wiley?

Where do Stringer’s votes shift?

May 243%4%5%3%
May 173%4%3%3%
*May 1517%14%
*May 126%5%6%
*May 1212%10%
*April 2113%13%
**April 15
*Mar 1813%13%

*Wiley and Morales were already eliminated

**Runner-up, votes did not shift

Where do Wiley’s votes shift?

***May 246%9%4%
***May 1716%14%
May 151%0%2%1%1%0%1%
May 123%3%3%3%
May 127%5%6%
April 214%6%7%
April 154%5%7%
Mar 184%4%7%

***Stringer and Morales were already eliminated

Where do Morales’ votes shift?

May 240%1%1%5%0%
May 171%2%1%0%3%0%
May 151%0%2%1%1%0%1%
May 120%0%2%0%1%2%1%
May 121%0%0%0%1%3%2%
April 211%1%2%3%2%
April 152%1%1%3%2%
Mar 181%0%1%0%0%1%0%

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2021 am30 10:58 am 10:58 am

    Interesting. As a (very novice) student of voting theory, I’m strongly in favor of shifting US elections to an approval voting system (relatively easy to implement with existing voting mechanics, easy for voters to adopt, reduces a lot of the problems with strategic voting, should eliminate the path DJT followed to the GOP nomination in 2016….)

    That said, it may be that ranked choice is the right structure for polling questions like this one, especially if the dynamics of the election mean that many current candidates will drop out before voting starts.

    • June 3, 2021 am30 11:03 am 11:03 am

      Approval voting has massive strategic voting problems, much worse than any ranked-choice systems (where strategic voting is possible in theory but not generally in practice).

  2. June 3, 2021 am30 11:37 am 11:37 am

    The theory behind elections, and behind primaries, is different. I think it is very weird that ranked choice is being used in a primary.

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