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BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen

Willie-O 05 May 02 - 03:24 PM
Auxiris 05 May 02 - 03:37 PM
Willie-O 05 May 02 - 03:53 PM
Gareth 05 May 02 - 05:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 May 02 - 06:13 PM
Hrothgar 05 May 02 - 09:27 PM
Wolfgang 06 May 02 - 06:46 AM
DMcG 06 May 02 - 06:55 AM
John MacKenzie 06 May 02 - 07:02 AM
Ringer 06 May 02 - 07:06 AM
Wolfgang 06 May 02 - 07:33 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 May 02 - 06:47 AM
Wolfgang 07 May 02 - 06:59 AM
Ringer 07 May 02 - 07:22 AM
Wolfgang 07 May 02 - 08:15 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 May 02 - 02:00 PM
Wolfgang 08 May 02 - 03:57 AM
McGrath of Harlow 08 May 02 - 07:29 AM

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Subject: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 May 02 - 03:24 PM

Just heard the French election results, which are a complete sweep for Jacques Chirac.

Chirac: 82%
LePen: 18%

Here's the BBC report

The actual numbers, which are all I know so far, seem to tell a story, and a pretty heartening one.

In a two-candidate runoff, LePen's percentage of votes was only one percent higher than in the first round! Turnout was 10% higher, so he picked up a few votes but Chirac got millions of free votes courtesy of the left. Far as I know, he didn't even have to promise them anything...well, that part isn't so heartening.

Pretty ironic who the people of goodwill had to rally around... the contest was characterized by someone as between a crook and a bigot. France overwhelmingly chose the (alleged) crook. Well, at least that wasn't his campaign platform.

Willie-O


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: Auxiris
Date: 05 May 02 - 03:37 PM

I'll take a crook over a fascist anyday, Willie-O, especially as I personally do not have a choice. It was pretty tough to sit by and not be able to vote, I must say. The real danger now is the upcoming legislative elections. . .

cheers,

Aux


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 May 02 - 03:53 PM

Auxiris: Danger? I suppose you mean the National Runts have some strong regional candidates...usually the case.

But it's an opportunity too, because the universal sentiment of the left is that they are aroused and PISSED OFF that they actually had to vote for Chirac this time...and he doesn't seem terribly grateful, his plans are:

"The priorities of the new government would be "to re-establish the authority of the state, respond to the demands for security and put France on a new path of growth and employment", Mr Chirac said in his victory speech." (from the BBC story)

Gosh, what does that mean about the authority of the state, anyway?

So France is at least going into a parliamentary election with a suddenly motivated and apparently practical-minded left, which is bound to be interesting.


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: Gareth
Date: 05 May 02 - 05:00 PM

Arrrgh ! Will the Left never learn from history ??

A divided left lets in the right.

The UK saw this in the 1980's and early 90's. More tellingly, and violently it happened in Germany, and Spain in the 1930's with consquences still with us to day.

And the less said about the Nader vote in the states, the better.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 May 02 - 06:13 PM

Electoral systems make a big difference. The ones that rely on the voters having some kind of telepathic ability to know what's going to happen in advance are potentially disastrous.

Such as the one they've got in French presidential elections, where the two leading candidates have a run-off is a pretty daft one, as was demonstrated here. A whole bunch of candidates, with the leading ones all receiving a pathetic share of the vote. It meant the election was a kind of lucky dip. Anyone could have gone into the run-off.

I imagine if it had ended up in a contest between Le Pen and Jospin, the vote in the end would have been similar. In fact if it had been the Monkey Mayor of Hartlepool maybe he'd have done even better than Chirac. I mean, there must have been some people who just couldn't bring themselves to vote the man. So far as I know the Monkey Mayor hasn't been caught doing anything dishonest, unlike Chirac.

First past the post wouldn't have been any better either - on last week's vote it would have meant Chirac in, with less than one in five of the people who voted backing him. A hundred people voting the other way and it could have been Le Pen in with a similar vote and, no doubt, civil war in France.

In this kind of election the only system that makes sense is one where you put the candidates in order of preference, and strike them off from the bottom, redistributing the votes, until someone gets over 50%. Not exactly a difficult thing to do.


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: Hrothgar
Date: 05 May 02 - 09:27 PM

McGrath, we have the preferential system of voting here in Australia, and it works - with reservations.

Except in Tasmania, of course - down there they just vote for their relations.


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: Wolfgang
Date: 06 May 02 - 06:46 AM

The French voting system has disadvantages. It can be shown that with such a system even the least preferred of all candidates can win in the end. But the alternatives are only better at the first glance.

Bringing the candidates in order of preference in the first round is under some circumstances slightly better, but only very slightly so, for that system invites too many tactical tricks that can backfire. So, e.g., the left could vote for Le Pen on second place not because they prefer him to Chirac but because their candidate has better chances against him than against Chirac. And the right for the same reasons votes for the Trotzkist in second place and then in the final vote you could have a Trotzkist vs. LePen.

Bringing the candidates in order of preference in a single voting round also invites speculations of the same kind and has been shown in a couple of mathematical simulations to be suboptimal and sometimes even downright bad. Optimal it is only if you assume that the people really rank according to their preferences and don't use the voting system in a tactical way by ranking the relatively best of the opposition to a low place. If such a system is used in a tactical way (no way to prevent this) even worse things can happen than in the present system.

If there are more than two candidates, each system can be shown to have disadvantages under certain conditions, some more some less. The present French system is by far not the worst from a theoretical point of view.

However for this system to work you have to assume that voters know what they vote about and behave in such a way. After the first round I have added the votes of the eight left candidates and the votes of the three right candidates and came up with more votes for the left than for the right. But the two right candidates were leading the panel.

The big error of the left voters was that they saw the first round as a kind of beauty contest where it doesn't matter who they vote for. They did expect to have the choice between Chirac and Jospin in the second round. But the first round was no irrelevant beauty contest but determined who came into the second round. That was known before the election, wasn't it?

Some suckers even went so far as to sue the agencies that published predictions from surveys for wrong predictions. "We would have voted for somebody else if we only had known..." Predictions are predictions and not results. They could have known that too. The best rational choice is to vote in the first round not according to you preference but according to who you want to see in the final.

I get very angry here because I am a left voter and my co-voters in Germany also behave irrationally much more often than the right voters. Even in our system tactical voting can have (slight) advantages. In the last couple of elections the right parties always got about 8 to 12 seats more than they had to get according to the mere percentage due to better tactical voting from their clientele. It has never mattered yet for the overall majority, but it could. For instance, in the third election back Kohl won by 12 seats instead of only 2 seats if you go by percentages. Who knows if that would have been enough to form a government if the left voters would have shown the same tactical thinking than the right.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: DMcG
Date: 06 May 02 - 06:55 AM

A thoughtful article in the paper today was warning of a 'nationalist' strategy that built on a "preserving identity" theme covering such ideas as protecting the high street small businesses against supermarkets, etc etc.

If anyone succeeds in linking anti-immigration attitutes with anti-WTO attitudes and pro-local-post office we could be in deep trouble, and the exact voting system we used would not make a lot of difference


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 06 May 02 - 07:02 AM

A bit like Blair v Haig if I remember correctly. When you could have stuck a red rosette on a pig and it would have been elected. [Come to think of it-----!!] Did the UK electorate vote for Labour or against the Conservatives? This is after all the unanswerable question in all national elections......Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: Ringer
Date: 06 May 02 - 07:06 AM

Can I ask a quick off-topic question of you, Wolfgang? I understand there's a 1-day strike in the car industry in Germany today. The (English) press all say it's hitting Merc, Porsche & Audi, but there's no mention of VW or BMW. Is there a reason for this?


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: Wolfgang
Date: 06 May 02 - 07:33 AM

I don't know, Ringer, I'll come back when I know, but here's my guess:

The union has to decide where to strike. Assume that in VW they had 75% for the strike and in Mercedes 90%. So they would start there, wouldn't they?

That could explain it, but there's another reason I guess is more probable. At the start of the strikes they don't strike in all of the country but only at some selected plants, as a kind of threat. This way it is cheaper for the union. But they take turns, for none of the workers wants to damage the ability of their own plant to compete. So tomorrow you may see VW and BMW strinking and the others back on work. Two days later, teh steel workers...The union doesn't want the damage to be selective.

These strikes are only demonstrations of strength and preparedness yet and not real strikes. After a couple of more weeks without successful negotiations there could be strikes which last longer than just one shift and afflict more than just some selected plants. But that will not happen. They'll come to terms before that.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 May 02 - 06:47 AM

Wolfgang, I'm trying to work out how that tactical voting in a single round would work. At the end of the day, at least you could never get a candidate elected unless a majority ofthose voting preferred them to the alternative, even if they didn't likemthem that much.

In a first past the post system it can easily happen, and frequently does happen, that the winner is detested by a majority of the voters, but slips through the middle.

The disadvantage with alternatve voting is that you could end up with winners who were second or third choice for a lot of people, and first choice for a relatively small number. But that's what you get anyway in most elections.


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: Wolfgang
Date: 07 May 02 - 06:59 AM

As I thought, these are strikes just for the purpose of demonstration of strength and not meant to hurt (yet). In the next days others plants will strike so that there is a balance.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: Ringer
Date: 07 May 02 - 07:22 AM

OK. Thanks, Wolfgang.


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: Wolfgang
Date: 07 May 02 - 08:15 AM

Kevin,

it is even difficult with only three candidates.

Assume the cadidates are A, B and C. The voters rank them.
ABC gets 10% (A first, B second, C third place)
ACB gets 30%
BAC gets 15%
BCA gets 20%
CAB gets 5%
CBA gets 20%

Then you have 55% who prefer B to A (BAC, BCA and CBA added), 55% who prefer A to C (ABC + ACB + BAC) but also 55% who prefer C to B (CAB + CBA + ACB).

A has 40% for her in place 1, 20% in place 2 and 40% in place 3
B has 35%, 30%, 35 % respectively
C has 25%, 50%, 25 %.

A has to be eliminated for being last most often, that's why C wins here who had least first places.

Or take this result:
ABC 24%
ACB 24%
BAC 4 %
BCA 22 %
CAB 4 %
CBA 22 %

Here A is prefered to C and A is prefered to B by a majority, A has 48 % first places but nevertheless A has to be eliminated for he has most last places. Therefore we have a toss up between the two candidates who both came in behind A in individual comparisons.

It has been done very often, but with more than two candidates there is no system which does never lead to funny results.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 May 02 - 02:00 PM

I can see that it can mean that the person with most first places won't win, and the candidates who is seen as second best by most people wins instead, and so forth. But I can't see how tactical voting works in this situation.

There is an argument for saying that a strong preference should count for more than a weak preference. But I have some serious worries about where that kind of thinking can lead in the end, if you follow its logic. I think there is more to be said for the idea that noone should ever be in authority unless more people back them than oppose them, even if they don't much like them.


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: Wolfgang
Date: 08 May 02 - 03:57 AM

I had tried to picture a situation with tactical voting in my first example.

In my first example, the order of preferences violates transitivity. Transitivity means that if A is preferred to B and B is preferred to C then A has to be preferred to C. This usually holds for single humans. If you prefer in a single choice situation (could be different the next day, but that doesn't matter here) a beer to a whiskey and a whiskey to a wodka then it is very safe to predict that given a choice between beer and wodka you'd prefer the beer.

My first example has B being preferred to A, A being preferred to C, but nevertheless C being preferred to A. Such a situation of violation of transitivity can arise in these ranking situations. When is this likely to happen?

In particular, in situations with tactical voting. We have in my example a situation where many people prefer either A or B in first place. Under present French voting system the population would have to decide between A and B.

Under a ranking system, people place their own preference first (Jospin or Chirac), then for second/third place they start thinking: Gee, Le Pen(C) cannot actually win, only up to a quarter of the population really wants him. So I can be clever and place (my second choice) Chirac (Jospin) last and LePen second. Wouldn't it be fun if Chirac (Jospin) only comes in third and then it is easy game for my preference, for I know much more want him rather then Le Pen.

So they think they are clever and don't rank according to actual preferences (Jospin, Chirac, LePen) but fail to see that the others also try to be clever and don't rank Chirac, Jospin, LePen as their preference is. Now LePen has far less third places than he would have had had the people actually ranked according to their preferences without tactical thinking. Therefore one of the other two candidates is eliminated according to a majority of last places rule and the least prefered candidate, LePen, wins according to a majority of second places which only come not from real preference but from tactical thinking.

In the present French system, at least there is a second round and the people can show how much they like LePen. In a ranking system it can happen that the least preferred candidate wins if there is tactical voting. These are the possible cases that have brought most analysts to decide against a ranking system. In the present French system, at least one thing cannot happen that could possibly happen in a ranking system: that the least prefered candidate wins

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: 82% for Chirac!!! Or just against Le Pen
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 May 02 - 07:29 AM

Me head's spinning trying to work that one out, and I think I've got it now. To get that result you'd need an electorate made up of people who are at the same time very cunning and very stupid - but that's a not uncommon combination.

I think the whole idea of having a single massive electorate voting for a single person to act as monarch is a pretty risky way of running things, whichever system of voting is picked.


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Mudcat time: 15 August 9:34 AM EDT

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