Re: a hit, a palpable hit! (market compared to election)

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Wed Apr 12 2000 - 22:46:40 MDT

Damien Broderick wrote:
> At 09:39 AM 12/04/00 -0700, Dana wrote:
> >Also, it's been shown in several psychological studies that uninformed
> >people who vote (either through requirement, or simply coming across
> >names of people they know nothing about) tend to pick the first name
> >listed for a given position and/or the name that sounds most ethnically
> >similar to themselves.
> >I'd be interested, Damien, if you could find out how the ballots were
> >laid out compared to the winners of those elections.
> This is known in the trade (and the media coverage) as the `donkey vote',
> and has indeed been significant in several tight elections.

What a way to talk about taxpayers... no wonder they feel so enthused to
contribute their 'real' opinions...

> < Donkey vote
> < A ballot paper on which the voter has ranked candidates from `1' onwards
> straight down the ballot
> paper without regard to the merits of the candidates; also refers to the
> total number of votes
> allocated in this way. >
> By and large, it balances out, since places on the ballot paper are
> allocated by chance. The donkey vote tends to be no larger than a couple of
> percent (and sometimes, again by chance and connivance, it actually is
> appropriate to vote straight down the form - since a party might advise its
> team to vote for the guy at the top and their enemy is at the bottom, and
> it doesn't significantly matter which order the rest are checked off so
> it's easier just to run straight down and prevents spoilage of a vote by
> filling the ballot incorrectly).

Are the order of candidates changed for various ballots, so that the
actual donkey vote has no effect on the elections, or does the ruling
party take advantage of the donkey vote effect to retain enough of an
edge in the elections to stay in power?

Mike Lorrey

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