'Is AV really so complex? Or is it just confusion marketing?' blog discussion

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  • Soubrette
    Soubrette Posts: 4,118 Forumite
    zagfles wrote: »
    You could "win" by a fraction of a % several times over with AV! For instance, very similar to the previous example, say first place votes were Tory 34%, Lab 33.1%, LD 32.9%.

    So Labour beat the LDs into second place by a fraction of a %.

    Then say the transferred LD votes split almost 50/50 Tory/Lab, but slightly in favour of Lab, making the end result Tory 49.9,% Lab 50.1%. So that's two "fractions of a %" wins in the same election!

    Even so - taking it that every round, the eliminated loser loses by 1 vote, this will still not happen as much as it can with FPTP - do we agree on this?
    If Labour had lost either of those "fraction of a %" counts, they'd have lost.

    It also highlights that other anomily in AV, which is that the worst place to finish is second (ie lose the final round). Your views are better respresented if your party finishes 3rd or 4th.

    For instance if 10% of Tory voters had stayed at home and not bothered voting, then the Tories would have finished 3rd and the transferred votes from the Tory voters would have probably gone mainly to the LDs, who'd have won the seat!

    No, your views are only represented once - the loser is the loser whether they lost in fourth place or second place.

    Voters staying at home is oxymoronic - you are either a voter or you stayed at home ;)

    It is feasible that your final scenario could happen - do you think this might make people more likely to vote though? And is worse/the same/better than people not voting because they think their vote is wasted?
  • zagfles
    zagfles Posts: 20,172
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    Soubrette wrote: »
    Even so - taking it that every round, the eliminated loser loses by 1 vote, this will still not happen as much as it can with FPTP - do we agree on this?

    No - I think close calls would happen more in AV because there are more counts! But this isn't a bad thing - close calls are good because they highlight that every vote counts - if an election is won by 1 vote then voters can truely say their vote mattered! Whereas a big majority, they can't.
    No, your views are only represented once - the loser is the loser whether they lost in fourth place or second place.

    Yes but the whole point of AV is giving people a second choice - "if you can't have your preferred candidate, who do you want?". This second choice never applies to those who voted for the candidate finishing second, so such voters would have been better represented had their candidate been eliminated earlier, then their second choice would have counted.

    Of course the same applies to those who voted for the winner, but they got their first choice so they have no cause for complaint!
    Voters staying at home is oxymoronic - you are either a voter or you stayed at home ;)

    OK got me there. Those who would have voted Tory then :)
    It is feasible that your final scenario could happen - do you think this might make people more likely to vote though? And is worse/the same/better than people not voting because they think their vote is wasted?

    I'll be voting for AV for the same reason I think you said earlier, it's slightly better. But it's still a highly flawed system, and it won't really make a lot of difference. Which is why the Tories were prepared to offer a referendum on it and Labour are split on it.
  • Soubrette
    Soubrette Posts: 4,118 Forumite
    edited 2 May 2011 at 1:21PM
    zagfles wrote: »
    No - I think close calls would happen more in AV because there are more counts! But this isn't a bad thing - close calls are good because they highlight that every vote counts - if an election is won by 1 vote then voters can truely say their vote mattered! Whereas a big majority, they can't.



    Yes but the whole point of AV is giving people a second choice - "if you can't have your preferred candidate, who do you want?". This second choice never applies to those who voted for the candidate finishing second, so such voters would have been better represented had their candidate been eliminated earlier, then their second choice would have counted.

    Of course the same applies to those who voted for the winner, but they got their first choice so they have no cause for complaint!



    OK got me there. Those who would have voted Tory then :)



    I'll be voting for AV for the same reason I think you said earlier, it's slightly better. But it's still a highly flawed system, and it won't really make a lot of difference. Which is why the Tories were prepared to offer a referendum on it and Labour are split on it.

    Not much to disagree with tbh :D I think we'll have to agree to disagree with the idea of second counts being more more important to everyone except those who voted for the winner at the start. If the rounds were actual physical rounds of vote - we go to the polls, all vote for 1 candidate, the bottom candidate is eliminated, we all go to the polls again, all vote for 1 candidate etc etc until 1 candidate gets over 50% of the vote - would you still feel the same?

    Out of interest - what is your ideal voting system?
  • zagfles
    zagfles Posts: 20,172
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    Soubrette wrote: »
    Not much to disagree with tbh :D I think we'll have to agree to disagree with the idea of second counts being more more important to everyone except those who voted for the winner at the start. If the rounds were actual physical rounds of vote - we go to the polls, all vote for 1 candidate, the bottom candidate is eliminated, we all go to the polls again, all vote for 1 candidate etc etc until 1 candidate gets over 50% of the vote - would you still feel the same?

    Yes, it's the same. Though I suppose it might be worse with separate elections, as polls could be done between rounds giving people better opportunities to vote tactically.

    For instance if we're down to the final 3, and polls show the Tories ahead on 40% and Labour and the LDs neck and neck on 30%. Now given that Labour voters are likely to prefer the LDs, and LD voters are likely to split more evenly, the likely result would be a Tory victory if the LDs are eliminated, or a LD victory if Labour are eliminated.

    So a handful of cunning Tory voters could decide to vote Labour tactically!
    Out of interest - what is your ideal voting system?

    Probably the German system, as described earlier in this thread. Seems to have served them pretty well.
  • gt94sss2
    gt94sss2 Posts: 5,603
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    The Economist have a leader column on Constitutional Reform in Britain: Yes or No?

    It concludes:
    For supporters of constitutional reform, such as this newspaper, these are good times. The previous government introduced a freedom of information act. An overhaul of the House of Lords is under way. But this referendum is a disappointment. AV would not be a disaster, but it would not be an improvement either; and although we are reformers by instinct, we do not believe in change for change’s sake. The Economist would therefore vote No.
    Regards
    Sunil
  • Mander
    Mander Posts: 65 Forumite
    I'm not a citizen so I can't vote, but I think the "no" campaign's argument that the AV system it is too complicated to understand is profoundly insulting to the British people.
  • Lotus-eater
    Lotus-eater Posts: 10,789
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    Mander wrote: »
    I'm not a citizen so I can't vote, but I think the "no" campaign's argument that the AV system it is too complicated to understand is profoundly insulting to the British people.
    It is insulting, but unfortunately probably correct. It's my opinion that this referendum won't be decided on facts anyway, but on public perception.
    And I'm pretty sure the perception will be NO.
    Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
  • dtsazza
    dtsazza Posts: 6,295 Forumite
    It is insulting, but unfortunately probably correct.
    I really don't think that's the case - it simply is a matter of ranking the candidates in the order that you prefer them. On the whole, a voter doesn't need to understand more than that to fully express their opinions.

    The only potential reason you wouldn't be honest is in those unlikely scenarios where tactical voting still changes the outcome, which generally requires the top three parties to be close in primary votes, with a triangular net of second-preference transfers. It's theoretically possible, but I can't imagine a situation where it's plausable that A voters prefer B next, B voters prefer C next and C voters prefer A next.

    Anyway, those that are interested can easily look up the details of the process, which in itself is not that complex. I'd argue that the overall complexity level is lower than FPTP; since you don't need to try and double-guess what other voters are going to vote, in order to ensure you vote for one of the top two parties.
    It's my opinion that this referendum won't be decided on facts anyway, but on public perception.
    And I'm pretty sure the perception will be NO.
    Sadly, I agree with both parts of that. People can't seem to get away from the politicking, and realise that this is a vote about whether FPTP is a better (i.e. fairer/more representative/what have you) system than AV or not. Any argument that invokes a political party is not a valid one, because it means you're not discussing the referendum on its own merits.

    But, with all the mudslinging going on, people are likely to be fed up with the whole thing. Besides, I've heard that if AV gets introduced, all paediatric wards across the country will spontaneously combust. I'm not sure if it's true or not, but FPTP hasn't combusted any hospitals yet, so why rock the boat? :(
  • Lotus-eater
    Lotus-eater Posts: 10,789
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    dtsazza wrote: »
    I really don't think that's the case
    Your opinion, mine is that for a great deal of the population, they can just about read The Sun and that's about it.

    I'm not that far above that level and I was confused by all the varied information coming at me, before I started reading this thread. You only have to watch one NO advert and one YES advert to be totally confuddled.
    And most people won't think it important enough to find out the truth.
    So that's why I think it will be down to perception. People who read The Mail to start with, will all vote No.
    Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
  • navyguy1965
    navyguy1965 Posts: 94
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    edited 2 May 2011 at 7:19PM
    I think that the whole AV thing is a complete waste of money which is quite ironic that the subject is disucssed on a money saving website.

    The money that has been spent on this farce could be better spent on other more important matters like health and education. In these difficult times with public spending and jobs being cut how many jobs has this farce cost ?

    A libdem backed policy because they simply have no hope of ever getting into power on their own.

    Guess what way i am voting ? lol
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