Seth Woolley's Blog

Occasional Musings

Sun Sep 21 16:08:41 2008 -- washington state top two results

washington state top two results(0)

I just looked at all the results for Washington, and a few results stood out that kill the argument for Measure 65.

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L 11% D 89%\

D 80% G 20%\

D 58% N 42%\

N 24% D 76%\

I 36% D 64%

In EVERY case where a minor party or an independent made the top two, THERE WERE ONLY TWO IN THE RACE TO BEGIN WITH.  And they are all against Democrats in heavily Democratic districts.  The Republicans could have run a candidate, any candidate, and third parties would have been kept out of the debate.  The Libertarians should be particularly concerned.

In 3/5 of the cases, the Dems could have run two candidates as well with NO WORRY, as they had a combined 2/3 of the vote.  In the other two cases, the Republicans could have run, and neither of those two were from minor parties, but instead were independent or non-affiliated voters (there is no organized Independent Party of Washington) from suburban areas (Snohomish an Clark counties -- the two places in washington where I have a lot of family mambers).  A Republican would have easily beaten those two.

Also note that when two candidates from a major party run, if a third party candidate runs, the third party vote is suppressed because people want to be able to "pick from the winners", not support the third party, regardless if there are two of the same party or two different parties.  Add any spoilers and ringers and people react strategically, particularly when their party tells them how to vote.

In each of the above cases, the general will be no different than the primary, and the general under the existing system would have the same result anyways.

So, we can see that top two is definitely no help.

Further, let's look at some anomalies that even defied expectations:\

Republicans don't beat out two Democrats -- something Phil's ok with.\

And again -- who's to say the Republicans didn't cross over and pick which Democrat they'd rather have thinking their Republican would make the top two?  We'll never know!  It's just a strategy guess in these small races.\

Here the Republicans have their vote split, and they would have made the top two with just one candidate running.  Instead two democrats go on to compete in the general, leaving out 26.7% of the populace that would have defeat a Democrat with 26.23% of the populace.  That's not democratic.\

General election will just be a re-run of the primary -- among two Democrats.\

Here three Republicans prevent people from seeing two Republicans like they "should have".  The one Democrat pulls in only 26.54% of the vote in a four-way race.  Republican challengers Neal and Ted combined could have pulled in 33.22% of the vote against an incumbent Republican as they represent disatisfaction with the incumbent Republican (who in our system would be the "endorsed" Republican).

We can see spoilers and ringers are a fact of life.\

Here the sole Democrat gets 30.01% of the vote, and no Republican beats that, but there are 6 Republicans in the race.  Could have easily been two Republicans there but for ringers.\

Here's an example of a third party kept out of the general election.\

And another.  This is supposed to be good for third parties?  Whatever, Phil!

Note that there are even more I don't point to.\

And again, a repeat of the primary with two Republicans in the race.\

Here we have five Republicans and no other party.  The top two both have between 26 and 27% of the vote.  only 53% of the population got to pick who moved on to the general election.  47% didn't get any say, and that's just of people who voted in the primary, which is around half the voters.  Effectively, 1/4 of the voters picked who went on to the top two for one to be rubber-stamped.

To see for yourself:

The proponents of measure 65 cannot point to Washington and say it works better for anybody but Republicans and Democrats.

Seth Woolley's Blog

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