Sunday, 16 January 2011

Everyday senarios with AV and FPTP principles

Scene- Two Flat mates (Jane and Sam) are sitting down to watch TV.
Sam - I Hope 'Hollyoaks' is on I love that programme.
Jane - Oh, I hope 'friends' is on, it's my favourite.

*Tv is turned on, flicking through the TV Guide, Hollyoaks is on but friends isn't...Eastenders is though.

Jane -Oh, Eastenders is on, now THAT is my favourite now
Sam - But you just said Friends was?
Jane- That was before I knew it wasn't on, now this one is my favourite.

action. There is a glitch with the BBC, a message scrolls across the screen asking viewers to stand by, while waiting they flick through the channels

Jane- Oh look, Location, location, location is on.. that's my favourite.....
Sam- *Sighs*

Now very crudely we can test the principles of FPTP and AV here.
Does someone's second or third choice equal the same amount of support as others first?

Is it fair that they are still undecided what to watch and in a stalemate?

Under AV this is a draw. Plain and simple and if the third preference goes down, then her fourth or fifth or sixth 'favourite' will be considered the same as their first, despite obviously lower levels of support.

Should people be elected with support or technicalities?


  1. The question shouldn't be "what's your favourite?" but what's your most preferred out of the available options?

    When you have more candidates than voters as in your example, neither FPTP nor AV could really work, especially when you only have two voters. You'd never really have a majority except where the vote is unanimous.

    You'd really need a condorcet method to decide the winner. Condorcet methods calculate the results of all the individual head-to-heads between each possible pairing of candidates, one pair at a time to work out the overall winner. It's brilliant, but incredibly complicated. In this case it would be absolutely necessary though.

    If you instead set out a case where you have a reasonable number of people watching, and fewer programmes available, you'll then be able to make a point about AV and FPTP.

  2. Yes, my point exactly, under AV every run off would be 1 all. Though any unbiased person would see that Sam won after the first round

    My favoured voting system is the Bucklin system (with a couple of preference weighting additions). However that is not on offer and AV goes backwards

  3. Very crudely indeed. In that, it's nothing at all like AV. If there are only two candidates in the running, as here, one would have an outright majority in the first round and would win. There is no introducing of other candidates later in the game.