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Institute for Public Policy Research Issues Analysis of Winner-Take-All Elections

Published on January 4, 2011, by in General.

The Institute for Public Policy Research was formed in Great Britain in 1988, and now has a presence in 25 nations. On January 4, 2011, it issued a 24-page report, “Worst of Both Worlds: Why First Past the Post No Longer Works.” The study finds that British parliamentary elections, which use the same winner-take-all system that the United States uses for federal and state elections, are deeply flawed.

It says, “The strongest case in favor of First Past the Post is that it delivers single-party majority government; however, there is good reason to believe that this will be more difficult to achieve in the future because of long-term trends in voting patterns across the United Kingdom. The two principal forces undermining FPTP’s ability to produce single-party government are: (1) The declining share of the vote for Labour and the Conservative parties; and the rise in support for third parties; (2) The changing electoral geography of the UK.” The study can be read at this link.

Much of what the report says about Britain is true for the United States as well. The report emphasizes that only a small number of House of Commons districts are “swing districts”, and documents the extent to which campaigns by the major parties are focused much more on those districts, than on “safe” districts. That generalization certainly describes presidential elections in the United States, where voters in swing states get far more attention than voters in safe states. Thanks to Thomas Jones for the link.

5 Responses

  1. Demo Rep

    For the Stone Age election math MORONS in the U.K. and everywhere else –

    P.R. NOW — Total Votes / Total Seats = Equal votes needed for each seat winner.

    small/large voter swings = small/large seat changes.

    App.V. for executive/judicial offices.

    Political *science* has advanced since the pre-written history Stone Age — when Stones were votes — use a Stone and wipe out an enemy. Bible fans — David and Goliath.

  2. I love how, in the UK, they sell the alternative vote (and make no mistake, this is a pro-AV piece, even though it doesn’t mention it by name) as the fix for current voting, because it will guarantee single-party-majority governments, while in the US, the same system is sold under a different name–instant runoff voting or ranked choice voting, depending on the state–as the fix for current voting because it will guarantee a greater say for third parties.

    Both claims can’t be true.

  3. Demo Rep

    Roughly 20 percent ANTI-Democracy indirect minority rule now in the U.K. House of Commons – due to FPTP UK — plurality USA.

    With Alt.V. — about 30 percent — about 60 percent of the votes in a bare majority of the MP gerrymander districts — to be reduced from 650 to 600 — to have more Labour ghetto city districts — political concentration camps.

    Hitler would be very happy with Alt. V. in the U.K.

    Is there ANY body in the U.K. who is NOT a party hack robot ??? — doing the nonstop swing district math and scheming about the next gerrymander election of MPs.

    P.R. and App.V.

  4. Mark Goodair

    What is this total nonsense about the reduction in the number of M.P.’s from 650 to 600 benefiting the Labour Party? Anyone who knows anything about British politics knows that the Labour Party benefit disproporationately from FPTP as their M.P’s tend to represent inner city constiuencies that have smaller electorates than rural seats which elect Tory or Liberal Democrats.

  5. Demo Rep

    The fewer Labour ghetto districts will be MORE concentrated — as in Hitler concentration camps.

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