Why Donald Trump Should be a Fervent Advocate of Using Rank-Choice Voting in 2024
Cervas, Jonathan, & Bernard Grofman. forthcoming. "Why Donald Trump Should be a Fervent Advocate of Using Rank-Choice Voting in 2024". PS - Political Science and Politics.
11 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2021 Last revised: 22 Jul 2021
Date Written: June 29, 2021
This article builds off work by Devine and Kopko (2021) and Lacy and Burden (1999) who estimate a probit model of candidate choice from nationally representative survey data to determine the second choice of third-party voters. Using this model on 2020 election data, we show that the Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgenson probably cost Donald Trump victory in at least two state – AZ and GA. Additionally, the popular vote margin enjoyed by Joe Biden could have been between 260,000 and 525,000 votes less, using conservative estimates. The motivation of this paper is to give contrary evidence for two main misconceptions. First, that third-party candidates are “spoiling” elections for the Democrats. Our evidence clearly shows that third-parties have the potential to hurt either of the two main parties, but in 2020, it was Donald Trump who was hurt most; though not consequentially. Second, some reformers believe that Rank Choice Voting benefits the Democrats; again, we show that, all else being equal, in the presidential election of 2020, it was the Republicans that would have benefited by the change in rules, since the majority of third-party votes are going to the Libertarian candidate, and whose voters prefer Republicans over Democrats 60% to 32%.
Keywords: Rank Choice Voting, Third Parties, Elections, Social Choice
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