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2016 Sanders victory with instant runoff elections


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Based on a May 2017 nationwide SurveyMonkey survey of almost 1300 respondents, and many tens of thousands of voting simulations, we show that Bernie Sanders would likely have been elected president in 2016 if we had used instant run-off elections to choose the electors in the electoral college. Please send feedback at or democracygps <at> gmail <dot> com.

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2016 Sanders victory with instant runoff elections

  1. 1. 1/20/2018 4:41 PM, p. Bernie Sanders would likely be president with ranked choice voting Chris Krenn, Ph.D. 1/15/18 Copyright © 2017 by Christopher Krenn democracygps <at>
  2. 2. 1/20/2018 4:41 PM, p. Voters are frustrated, but have not yet given up or irreversibly polarized >85% polled think the two-party presidential election system is not working [AP-NORC, 2016] Voting rates have not changed much in 100 years [, 2016;, 2014] Polarization is increasing, but there is still a large population of moderates [Pew, 2014] Political Ideology, 1970- 2015
  3. 3. 1/20/2018 4:41 PM, p. Ranked choice voting allows voters to rank their choice of political candidates Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens, and Libertarians have supported ranked choice voting in elections from Maine to California Mock Election ballot for “Mayor of Animal Town”
  4. 4. 1/20/2018 4:41 PM, p. We are looking forward, not backward… This study is not trying to question the actual outcome of the 2016 Presidential election. It is trying to answer the following questions: "What would have happened in 2016 if ranked voting was used?", and "Should the United States use ranked voting in the future?"
  5. 5. 1/20/2018 4:41 PM, p. We use computer models based on actual election results and a May 2017 nationwide poll 1457 total responses 1262 completed (87%) 54% female 46% male Age: Not representative of the general population, but of an online population Copy of the poll is still open:
  6. 6. 1/20/2018 4:41 PM, p. All major candidates were included: Carson, Sanders, Trump, McMullin, Johnson, Clinton, Stein, Kasich, Rubio, & Cruz
  7. 7. 1/20/2018 4:41 PM, p. Poll results Hawaii model Utah model Number of voters in each state model are changed to match the 2016 November election results This method uses a national poll to estimate state results
  8. 8. 1/20/2018 4:41 PM, p. Uncertainty is estimated by choosing different groups of voters in each model (Utah shown here) Model #1 Model #2 Model #3 This method uses a national poll to estimate state diversity
  9. 9. 1/20/2018 4:41 PM, p. A typical electoral map result: ◼: flipped Clinton to Sanders ◼: stayed Trump ◼: flipped Trump to Sanders ◼: Stayed Clinton
  10. 10. 1/20/2018 4:41 PM, p. Instant run-off simulations give a variety of results for many states
  11. 11. 1/20/2018 4:41 PM, p. Sanders beat Trump in electoral votes >99% of the time Sanders and Clinton totaled >269 electoral votes together in 99.9% of the models examined Sanders won electoral college in 85% of 20,000 models examined 90% chance outcome falls in these ranges
  12. 12. 1/20/2018 4:41 PM, p. Biases between online and general populations and due to “buyers’ regret” could shift some states from Sanders to Trump and Clinton But, Trump had a projected 20% chance of winning in 2016, and we project less than a 1% chance with ranked voting The two-party primary system did not represent the “will of the people” well in the 2016 presidential election Ranked choice voting is more likely to represent voters’ interests We recommend implementing ranked choice voting in more elections Conclusions
  13. 13. 1/20/2018 4:41 PM, p. Analysis of alternate ranked voting methods (e.g. “Schultze” and “MDDA”) More detailed description of uncertainty analysis and “convergence” of numerical simulations More detailed analysis of poll results Public release of polling and simulation data Still to come…
  14. 14. 1/20/2018 4:41 PM, p. Acknowledgements and References 2016 electoral results taken from: _States_presidential_election,_201 6 ections/2016/exit-polls Visualizations and charts inspired by Survey done using Male/female symbols from High contrast colors from S. Trubetskoy: of-20-simple-distinct-colors/ APNORC: /APNORC_Elections_Topline.pdf ElectProject: FairVote: and-analysis/voter-turnout/ Pew: http://www.people- polarization-in-the-american-public/
  15. 15. 1/20/2018 4:41 PM, p. Chris Krenn is a computational physicist and metallurgist working near San Francisco since 2001 and has been exploring electronic democracy systems since 2013. He has a B.S. from Yale and a Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley. About the author