Why I don’t support strategic voting

30 posts / 0 new
Last post
NorthReport
Why I don’t support strategic voting
radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Strategic voting is bulllshit pure and simple.    What it means is "vote Liberal".   Where were all the "strategic voters" in Manitoba when the obvious leading anti-Tory party was the NDP?   Nowhere.

Aristotleded24

radiorahim wrote:
Strategic voting is bulllshit pure and simple.    What it means is "vote Liberal".   Where were all the "strategic voters" in Manitoba when the obvious leading anti-Tory party was the NDP?   Nowhere.

It had a huge impact here in Wolseley. Kinew essentially pleaded for Liberal and Green supporters to vote NDP to stop Pallister. The Wolseley NDP published material begging people to stop Pallister, even though the race here was NDP-Green, and the PC candidate barely registered. In the end, Wolseley stayed NDP by a larger margin than I expected, the NDP took back a northen seat that had gone Liberal in 2016, and the Liberals essentially held the 3 Winnipeg seats they had going into the campaign.

One thing I find amazing about the strategic voting thing is that it treats Conservative voters as this monolithic bloc that cannot be penetrated. It may be true that few Conservatives consider the NDP as a second choice, but that is because the NDP gave up trying to win over Conservative voters a long time ago. Here in Manitoba, there is a rock-solid 40% of voters who will support the PCs no matter what. If you can chip away at that number, then the bar that the NDP needs to clear to win drops. Meanwhile in the US, Bernie Sanders is going into staunch Republican counties and on Fox News and getting Republican voters to cheer for Medicare for All.

NorthReport

I agree basically that strategic voting means vote Liberal, and I don't want any part of it. One of the many Liberal election campaign bag of tricks.

bekayne

radiorahim wrote:

Strategic voting is bulllshit pure and simple.    What it means is "vote Liberal".   Where were all the "strategic voters" in Manitoba when the obvious leading anti-Tory party was the NDP?   Nowhere.

There were a lot of Liberals on twitter backing Rachel Notley in the last Alberta election.

NorthReport

The very last thing Canadians need to do now is strategically vote to support Liberals. If Trudeau gets away with his Brown-Face antics, it will just prove to everyone that Canada is an elitist society, run by a bunch of elitists, who can get away with anything.

melovesproles

One thing I find amazing about the strategic voting thing is that it treats Conservative voters as this monolithic bloc that cannot be penetrated. It may be true that few Conservatives consider the NDP as a second choice, but that is because the NDP gave up trying to win over Conservative voters a long time ago. Here in Manitoba, there is a rock-solid 40% of voters who will support the PCs no matter what. If you can chip away at that number, then the bar that the NDP needs to clear to win drops. Meanwhile in the US, Bernie Sanders is going into staunch Republican counties and on Fox News and getting Republican voters to cheer for Medicare for All.

Agreed. I've been impressed with the resurgence of class politics in the US and UK. The Canadian left is several steps behind. 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

One thing I find amazing about the strategic voting thing is that it treats Conservative voters as this monolithic bloc that cannot be penetrated. It may be true that few Conservatives consider the NDP as a second choice, but that is because the NDP gave up trying to win over Conservative voters a long time ago. Here in Manitoba, there is a rock-solid 40% of voters who will support the PCs no matter what. If you can chip away at that number, then the bar that the NDP needs to clear to win drops. Meanwhile in the US, Bernie Sanders is going into staunch Republican counties and on Fox News and getting Republican voters to cheer for Medicare for All.

Having worked the last provincial election in Ontario in a constituency that went NDP, I know that I personally convinced a number of potential Doug Ford voters not to vote for him.    It's possible to do that, it just takes some work.

With working class folks it wasn't so hard, but with managerial types and self-employed small business types it was pretty much a waste of time.

Misfit Misfit's picture

I have a friend who came over the other day and said that he can’t decide who to vote for, Liberal or Cinservative. I asked him what his main election issue was and he said healthcare. I asked him why not look at the NDP? He gave me a funny look and walked out the door. Anyhow..,

KarlL

This is always one of the most fiercely-argued topics on this forum and in many ways, one of the most pointless.  None of the parties and, I imagine none of the posters on here, actually expect to shift the vote of committed partisans.  The real target is a subset of swing voters: those who may like one option more than another but can live with either; or those who fear one of the alternatives more than another.  I have given up trying to persuade committed New Democrats and Greens to vote Liberal because it is a waste of my time and theirs and a bit insulting to suggest that another person's firmly held beliefs/commitments should be subordinated to my aversion (or their presumed aversion) to the Conservative Party.

That is not to say that strategic voting does not make sense for some voters in some ridings.  The arithmetic is simple and irrefutable.  If your own candidate (Mary) has no chance of winning and a candidate from your 2nd (or 3rd) choice party (Jane) has the chance to defeat a candidate (Ted) who/whose party you really don't want to win, then placing a vote for Jane makes it more likely that Ted won't win than if you vote for Mary.

There may be all kinds of good reasons to vote for Mary notwithstanding her lack of competitiveness in the riding but if ensuring that Ted or his party don't win is your main priority, then strategic voting for Jane makes sense.  That said, there may be challenges in getting good riding-level data on which to make your decision and on occasion, campaign dynamics sometimes lead to late shifts in support that could leave you making the wrong decision.

One old reason not to vote strategically no longer applies, i.e., the per-voter subsidy, in which strategic voting for your 2nd choice could cost your 1st choice financially in the longer run.  Yes, there's still the "deposit" but it is pretty trivial.

I have to say that I have never voted strategically.  The ridings in which I have lived in two provinces have meant that in 24 votes for Liberal candidates in general elections and by-elections since 1981, the Liberal has won 19 times out of 24.  My candidate has come 2nd four times, losing twice to the PCs and twice to the NDP.  In only one instance did my candidate (previously the incumbent) come third and in that fluky case, all three candidates received over 30% of the vote and as it turns out the NDP candidate won.  

But I would vote strategically in certain BC and Saskatchewan ridings if I lived in one of them and maybe in Kenora or Timmins or in a few in the Windsor or Oshawa area.  That is not just because I would prefer an NDP MP to a Conservative one but also in part because a Liberal minority government is more plausible if NDP candidates win those seats than if Conservatives do.

Lastly, what I think many posters resent is the blunt instrument aspect of a general call for strategic voting, which often pulls in votes that are uninformed data-wise and that is some cases could cost an NDP candidate a real opportunity to defeat a Conservative or elect a Liberal in a head-to-head NDP-Liberal fight.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

I'm voting straregically. The race is too close. Given the choice between the Liberals and the Conservatives, I will support to infinity the Liberals.

I hope one of these days I won't need strategic voting.  But the race is too close to vote for a party that is fighting with the Greens for third place. It would be a waste of my vote.

Aristotleded24

KarlL wrote:
That is not to say that strategic voting does not make sense for some voters in some ridings.  The arithmetic is simple and irrefutable.  If your own candidate (Mary) has no chance of winning and a candidate from your 2nd (or 3rd) choice party (Jane) has the chance to defeat a candidate (Ted) who/whose party you really don't want to win, then placing a vote for Jane makes it more likely that Ted won't win than if you vote for Mary.

There may be all kinds of good reasons to vote for Mary notwithstanding her lack of competitiveness in the riding but if ensuring that Ted or his party don't win is your main priority, then strategic voting for Jane makes sense.  That said, there may be challenges in getting good riding-level data on which to make your decision and on occasion, campaign dynamics sometimes lead to late shifts in support that could leave you making the wrong decision.

Progressive voters following this advice ended up electing Conservative MPs in Oshawa in 2004 and Brampton in 2011. In 2004, with the Liberals holding that seat going in and the NDP having finished in 4th place in 2000, progressive voters voted Liberal. The Conservatives won that seat, with the NDP in second place. In 2011, the Liberals held Brampton going into this campaign, and the NDP had never had any history here. Again, progressive voters voted Liberal, only for that party to tumble to third place with Jagmeet Singh of the NDP barely losing to the Conservative candidate.

Strategic voting is an invention of the Liberal Party, borne out of entitlement and arrogance. It is done to excuse their losses as having someone else taken "their" votes, without the Liberals having to earn votes or do any self-reflection. Period. End of story. In theory, people want to choose the candidate best placed to defeat the Conservatives. In practice, this often results in people voting Liberal. People also don't pay close attention to local dynamics. That is why NDP MPs in Halifax and Winnipeg lost to the Liberals in 2015, even though the Conservatives were never in serious contention to take these areas.

NorthReport

Strategic voting translates into voting Liberal. No thanks.

Bacchus

Plus with the funding formula for parties, votes is how they get money. The more votes, the more funding comes from the government. Strategic voting hurts the party you would have preferred not only by the vote, but the cash

KarlL

Bacchus wrote:

Plus with the funding formula for parties, votes is how they get money. The more votes, the more funding comes from the government. Strategic voting hurts the party you would have preferred not only by the vote, but the cash

Uness I have missed something, the per-vote subsidy was eliminated in the 2011 Budget from Sephen Harper's government.

JKR

NorthReport wrote:

Strategic voting translates into voting Liberal. No thanks.

Strategic voting also translates into keeping the Cons out of power so most Conservatives hope that the voters who dislike the Cons don’t vote tactically.

Bacchus

KarlL wrote:

Bacchus wrote:

Plus with the funding formula for parties, votes is how they get money. The more votes, the more funding comes from the government. Strategic voting hurts the party you would have preferred not only by the vote, but the cash

Uness I have missed something, the per-vote subsidy was eliminated in the 2011 Budget from Sephen Harper's government.

 

It was? Somehow I totally missed that

 

NorthReport

Mouseland

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

alan smithee wrote:

I'm voting straregically. The race is too close. Given the choice between the Liberals and the Conservatives, I will support to infinity the Liberals.

I hope one of these days I won't need strategic voting.  But the race is too close to vote for a party that is fighting with the Greens for third place. It would be a waste of my vote.

What riding do you live in? Has it always been a two way race between the Libs and Cons?

bekayne

Just so you all know, there's a video of Jagmeet Singh promoting strategic voting in the 2015 election.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1180236504444145664

Sean in Ottawa

The discussion is always a crock.

All voting is strategic.

All voting is about who you want to stop and who you want to support.

Let's stop pretending otherwise.

I oppose strategic voting that is presented dishonestly as an across the board thing -- or promoted in ridings where the Conservatives do not have a chance or the Liberal does not have a chance. To ask the NDP supporters to vote Liberal BOTH the Conservatives and the Liberals have to have a legitimate shot. Most ridings that is not the case.

But it is also illigetimate to say that strategic voting is always wrong. That obviously ridiculous claim is one of the reasons strategic voting keeps getting promoted.

There is strategy also in trying to keep party status for the NDP to keep the Liberals at least a little progressive once in a while.there is strategy in voting for the candidate offering what you want to see. There is strategy in building support in a no-hope riding. there is strategy in blocking a Conservative, or a bad canddiate, or a Liberal, or if you dislike the NDP or Greens their candidates as well. There is strategy in choosing to vote for the party that has the first ever visible minority leader. It sends a terrible message for a party to be devastated in this circumstance when race has been undeniably part of the election.

What is bogus is saying that the only strategy is to vote Liberal or that all non conservatives have to have the same objectives and strategy or that even with the same objectives there is the same rational strategy in all ridings.

Each person shoudl weight the possibilities in their riding, their own objectives and priorities and stop assuming that other people have the same order of priorities and therefore the same strategy.

Sneering at people for voting strategically, however, is laughable. We all are, even if we do not have the same strategy.

I voted already. I did so based on carefully thought out strategy based on my priorities and where I live. I do not deny others from coming to different conclusions with their vote. That is why we each have a vote.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

The discussion is always a crock.

All voting is strategic.

All voting is about who you want to stop and who you want to support.

Let's stop pretending otherwise.

I oppose strategic voting that is presented dishonestly as an across the board thing -- or promoted in ridings where the Conservatives do not have a chance or the Liberal does not have a chance. To ask the NDP supporters to vote Liberal BOTH the Conservatives and the Liberals have to have a legitimate shot. Most ridings that is not the case.

But it is also illigetimate to say that strategic voting is always wrong. That obviously ridiculous claim is one of the reasons strategic voting keeps getting promoted.

There is strategy also in trying to keep party status for the NDP to keep the Liberals at least a little progressive once in a while.there is strategy in voting for the candidate offering what you want to see. There is strategy in building support in a no-hope riding. there is strategy in blocking a Conservative, or a bad canddiate, or a Liberal, or if you dislike the NDP or Greens their candidates as well. There is strategy in choosing to vote for the party that has the first ever visible minority leader. It sends a terrible message for a party to be devastated in this circumstance when race has been undeniably part of the election.

What is bogus is saying that the only strategy is to vote Liberal or that all non conservatives have to have the same objectives and strategy or that even with the same objectives there is the same rational strategy in all ridings.

Each person shoudl weight the possibilities in their riding, their own objectives and priorities and stop assuming that other people have the same order of priorities and therefore the same strategy.

Sneering at people for voting strategically, however, is laughable. We all are, even if we do not have the same strategy.

I voted already. I did so based on carefully thought out strategy based on my priorities and where I live. I do not deny others from coming to different conclusions with their vote. That is why we each have a vote.

Well said.

JKR

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

The discussion is always a crock.

All voting is strategic.

All voting is about who you want to stop and who you want to support.

Let's stop pretending otherwise.

...

I think it’s very important to remember that under FPTP all voting is especially strategic/tactical. If we had PR or even just single-seat preferential voting, people could much more comfortably vote just for the candidates they support without worrying about their vote helping candidates they oppose. I think FPTP is just completely inadequate for multi-party elections. Because the Greens and PPC are now a factor, in this election in Quebec where the BQ is also a factor, it will now be possible for candidates to win with less than 1/4 of the votes! If the Liberals get lucky and do well in Quebec they could also come in second place nationally and still win the most seats or even a phoney FPTP majority government. Under our ludicrous FPTP system, the Conservatives could also win a phoney FPTP majority government even though most voters would not consider voting for them. 

NorthReport

When was the last time a government won more than 50% of the vote?

JKR

NorthReport wrote:

When was the last time a government won more than 50% of the vote?

1984

[It wasn’t that Orwellian after all]

JKR

Countries that don’t use FPTP are usually represented by governments that represent a majority of the voters.

Sean in Ottawa

Let us not fall into the trap of accepting that a vote against a party is the only strategy to consider. I agree that all voting is tactical/strategic but I would not limit that to FPTP. People vote for their personal priorities and these invovle choices and strategies as well.

I understand the PR point but I think we need to understand that even where there is PR there is still some strategic voting (coalition building for example).

I prefer a proportional system but I refuse to allow that the only strategy for voting is based on a FPTP agreement to support a second choice party to avoid a truly bad result. By allowing that this is the only strategy, we allow that this strategy must be universal. We are better off challenging strategic voting campaigns by avoiding complete opposition to the concept of strategic voting and instead speaking about poor strategies and alternate priorities. Otherwise, we lose the argument down the line.

Sean in Ottawa

JKR wrote:

Countries that don’t use FPTP are usually represented by governments that represent a majority of the voters.

All governments represent all voters. The question is how faithfully they do so.

Herding people to cast votes for second choices only makes it harder to determine what the population really wants.

Forcing people to back a second choice does not make people retrospectively happier when the government does not do what they expect, need, or want. the key is to have elected governments listen to their entire population. Minority governments tend to do a better job of this, although not always.

JKR

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

All governments represent all voters.

I agree that all governments represent or govern for all the voters (and the non-voters.)  What I meant to say was that under FPTP, governments have almost always received just a minority of the votes and under PR, governments usually have received only just a majority of the votes.

Sean in Ottawa

JKR wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

All governments represent all voters.

I agree that all governments represent or govern for all the voters (and the non-voters.)  What I meant to say was that under FPTP, governments have almost always received just a minority of the votes and under PR, governments usually have received only just a majority of the votes.

What I am saying is that getting these votes due to forced second choices or not getting these votes becuase people voted for their first chocies does not make a difference to the responsibility of the government and getting these votes is not a benefit to the people if they are not first choices.