EBC Poll: Citizens Cautiously Optimistic About Weighted Voting

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EBC Poll: Citizens Cautiously Optimistic About Weighted Voting
Majority Favor Giving the Idea a Chance

Written by @Rand


After hours of painstaking analysis, EBC's amateur data scientists have concluded that citizens are ready to take the conversation on weighted voting a step further.

The poll was run for 96 hours earlier this month, and it raked in 31 responses. Our survey experts took a unique approach, asking many detail-oriented questions first, and then having high-level questions at the end, after giving respondents a bit more time to stew on their thoughts and weigh the pros and cons. That being said, for the reader's enjoyment, we will be taking a "bottom line up front" approach to this analysis.

One more thing! For purposes of these upcoming "high level" questions, which were held on the last page of the survey, we grouped respondents into two categories: all citizens, and experienced citizens. Experienced citizens were determined by a proprietary, uniform alogrithm assigning score to their citizenship age (<1, 1-2, 3-5, and 5+ years), offices held, Presidential experience, and number of Senate campaigns. The top 15/31 scorers were grouped into the "experienced citizens" category.

Let's dive in.

Big Ideas
Where Do You Stand On The Concept Of Weighted Voting?

Okay, now for the results.

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On this question, a cool majority of 53.5% of all citizens clocked in supporting weighted voting as a concept, with an additional 7.1% unsure. Experienced citizens were less sure of themselves, with 15.4% unsure, and 46.2% in favor. Maybe experienced citizens are more wary of new ideas, or maybe they're just more pensive.

That being said, those who are opposed are strongly opposed. Not one experienced citizen was somewhat opposed, and in both samples, those strongly opposed outnumbered those strongly supportive.

Are You Open To Trying Weighted Voting?

As you're about to see, respondents were a bit more generous with this particular wording.

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In both samples, the "Strongly opposed" group mostly held true, with the "No, not in any form" scores following closely. In the all citizens sample, 32.1% were strongly opposed and 26.7% do not want to try weighted voting in any form (-5.4%); while in the experienced citizens sample, those figures were 38.5% and 35.6%, respectively (-2.9%).

The biggest win here for proponents of weighted voting is that 50.0% of experienced citizens are open to trying weighted voting in any form (up 19.2% from those strongly supporting), and a large 73.4% majority of all citizens are open to trying the idea.

Where do you stand on sending this bill, if passed by the Senate, to referendum?

This question did not vary much between the two sample groups, so we'll just show the all citizens chart. The options are simplified on the chart, but on the survey they appeared as:
  • Should go to referendum immediately
  • Should go to referendum after a trial period (e.g. one to three terms)
  • Does not need to go to referendum
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A slim majority of 53.3% favor immediate referendum, while 40.0% prefer a delayed referendum. Only a couple of citizens felt a referendum is unnecessary.

Surprisingly, this 40.0% result exactly matches a later question...

Where do you stand on passage of some form of this bill, with an automatic sunset or automatic referendum provision?

...where citizens were asked whether they would support the bill regardless of a sunset provision, or ONLY if it contained an automatic sunset or automatic referendum position.

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Unfortunately for this novel idea, it does not seem to hold majority support.

However, it's worth noting that here, only 7 of 31 respondents indicated unwavering opposition (down from 9 of 31 strongly opposed in the first question analyzed), meaning the length of this poll was surely waring down those curmudgeonly conservatives!

Merits of the Proposal

Next, we'll move backwards in the survey to the section asking respondents to weigh in on the various pros and cons of the weighted voting concept. This chart is our most in-depth yet! As you'll see on the Y-axis, a score of 3.0 or higher means that sample generally agrees with the statement shown on the X-axis, whereas a score of 3.0 or lower means that sample generally disagrees with the statement shown on the X-axis.

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Let's break it down further. Here are the positive statements citizens, on average, agreed with.

"Weighted voting will..."
  • Make voters more open-minded to even Senate sizes (3.79).
  • Promote greater effort in elections by experienced candidates (3.63).
  • Cause Senate by-elections to be more competitive (3.38).
  • Cause voters to support larger Senate sizes (3.34).
  • Cause voters to support a greater number of candidates (3.28).
  • Cause Senate elections to be more competitive (3.21).
Here are the negative statements citizens, on average, agreed with. These are also the only statements that opponents, on average, agreed with.

"Weighted voting will..."
  • Discourage less experienced citizens from running (3.30).
  • Discourage underrepresented demographics from running (3.10).
Here are the positive statements citizens, on average, disagreed with.

"Weighted voting will..."
  • Cause Senate decisions to closer match public sentiment (2.97).
  • Cause Senate compositions to be more representative (2.97).
  • Cause less popular candidates to win more often (2.90).
Finally, the only statement both proponents and opponents agreed with was that weighted voting would make voters more open-minded to even Senate sizes.

Weighted Voting on Which Matters

Respondents were asked the following question: "I would (oppose/tolerate/favor) this Senate decision being decided by weighted voting."

Forms response chart. Question title: I would (oppose/tolerate/favor) this Senate decision being decided by weighted voting.. Number of responses: .

From the results, we can see that a majority of citizens would tolerate or favor the following decisions being decided by weighted voting:

  • Non-Constitutional laws (85%)
  • Cabinet confirmations (63%)
  • Justice confirmations (52%)
For now, the majority would prefer the remainder of possible Senate decisions be decided by one Senator, one vote.

That being said, Constitutional amendments, Speaker elections, and Treaty approvals/repeals, while still having majority opposition, had the highest favorable ratings besides Non-Constitutional laws.

Legislation Breakdown

Last but not least, our professional question-askers broke the legislation down into smaller components, and asked respondents whether they would favor the law as written, or with an alternative structure. Here's how our citizen-respondents weighed in.

AW01. Each Senator is assigned a "weighted vote" equal to the number of votes cast for that candidate in the most recent General Election or By-Election in which they were a candidate.​

AW01 part 1: If the bill is to pass, which general election policies (contained in AW01) would you tolerate?
Forms response chart. Question title: If the bill is to pass, which general election policies (contained in AW01) would you tolerate?. Number of responses: 26 responses.
A slim majority of 50% would accept AW01 as written, but respondents are split on other possible methods of weighted vote allocation. Stack ranking was the most tolerable alternative, but still received less support than the current language.

AW01 part 2: If AW01 is to pass as written, which of the following election voting methods would you tolerate?
Forms response chart. Question title: If AW01 is to pass as written, which of the following election voting methods would you tolerate?. Number of responses: 28 responses.
A huge majority of 67.9% would be okay with approval voting, if weighted voting is implemented. Additionally, 61% are fine with the status quo.

AW01 part 3: If the bill is to pass, which by-election policies (contained in AW01) would you tolerate?
Forms response chart. Question title: If the bill is to pass, which by-election policies (contained in AW01) would you tolerate?. Number of responses: 26 responses.
Respondents didn't feel strongly on this one and are equally open to the current proposal (weight equaling the number of votes in the by-election), or some other unspecified alternative, both clocking in at 58%. A majority disapproved of the suggestion that the by-election candidate might inherit the outgoing Senator's weight.

AW02. Each Senator shall have, at minimum, 50% (rounded up) of the "weighted vote" of the Senator with the greatest "weighted vote."

After seeing this section of legislation, citizens were asked: "If the bill is to pass, what versions of AW02 would you tolerate?"
Forms response chart. Question title: If the bill is to pass, what versions of AW02 would you tolerate?. Number of responses: 27 responses.
A majority (56%) would tolerate the current weight floor of 50%, while a greater majority (63%) would tolerate a stronger restriction (with less difference between Senators). So, respondents approve of a minimum weighted vote currently found in the legislation, but do not support weakening or eliminating this provision.

VT04. All Senate matters, unless otherwise specified, require a weighted simple majority to pass.

From this amendment, citizens were asked: "If the bill is to pass, what versions of VT04 would you tolerate?"
Forms response chart. Question title: If the bill is to pass, what versions of VT04 would you tolerate?. Number of responses: 28 responses.
As our dear readers can see, respondents once again accept the bill as written (61%), or a weaker version of the bill with less decisions made by weighted voting (54%).

Conclusion

When challenged on the specific elements of the bill, respondents generally preferred weaker versions of the bill. That being said, the average citizen agreed with 6 out of 8 of the listed reasons to implement weighted voting. If weighted voting is pushed forward, voters can look forward to more even Senate sizes, more competitive Senate elections, and more engagement by traditionally 'safe' Senate candidates, most respondents agreed. At the same time, policymakers should be careful to consider whether the proposal would discourage new or underrepresented groups from pursuing Senate seats.

With all that said, in this editor's opinion, this poll clearly shows that Europeians are ready to give weighted voting a try. At the same time, there is a healthy amount of uncertainty surrounding the proposals, especially among more experienced citizens. Then again, what new idea hasn't garnered skepticism? We encourage the Senate to carefully consider these results, and to strongly consider a fair compromise that lets this new idea see the light of day, where it can gather some real-world data. Again, if the right balance can be struck, a large 72% majority of citizens are open to trying this idea!
 

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One more thing! For purposes of these upcoming "high level" questions, which were held on the last page of the survey, we grouped respondents into two categories: all citizens, and experienced citizens. Experienced citizens were determined by a proprietary, uniform alogrithm assigning score to their citizenship age (<1, 1-2, 3-5, and 5+ years), offices held, Presidential experience, and number of Senate campaigns. The top 15/31 scorers were grouped into the "experienced citizens" category.
Why?
 
One more thing! For purposes of these upcoming "high level" questions, which were held on the last page of the survey, we grouped respondents into two categories: all citizens, and experienced citizens. Experienced citizens were determined by a proprietary, uniform alogrithm assigning score to their citizenship age (<1, 1-2, 3-5, and 5+ years), offices held, Presidential experience, and number of Senate campaigns. The top 15/31 scorers were grouped into the "experienced citizens" category.
Why?
To make it seem like stuffy old citizens are more opposed to weighted voting and the hot new young ones love it like it's Beatlemania.
 
To make it seem like stuffy old citizens are more opposed to weighted voting and the hot new young ones love it like it's Beatlemania.
It's coming off not in a favorable light to me, but I am looking forward to the author's response.
 
Thanks for the time and effort put into this Rand! It would be great to have access to the raw dataset, if possible
 
One more thing! For purposes of these upcoming "high level" questions, which were held on the last page of the survey, we grouped respondents into two categories: all citizens, and experienced citizens. Experienced citizens were determined by a proprietary, uniform alogrithm assigning score to their citizenship age (<1, 1-2, 3-5, and 5+ years), offices held, Presidential experience, and number of Senate campaigns. The top 15/31 scorers were grouped into the "experienced citizens" category.
Why?
To make it seem like stuffy old citizens are more opposed to weighted voting and the hot new young ones love it like it's Beatlemania.
For greater depth of analysis. Whenever I run surveys, I always try to extrapolate meaningful data from the demographics, rather than just copy and pasting Google Forms outputs. Nothing new here.

I was actually mainly interested in whether less experienced citizens were more concerned that it would deter citizen participation, but the results were equally lukewarm between the two demographics.
 
Still strongly against. As I said in private recently it only takes one senior europeian running on a single issue platform to wield almost limitless power.
 
To make it seem like stuffy old citizens are more opposed to weighted voting and the hot new young ones love it like it's Beatlemania.
Adding onto this, I did some further analysis, and found this:

Proponents
  • Average 3-5 Years of Citizenship
  • 64% previously served as President/VP
  • 57% previously served as Speaker
  • 100% previously served on Cabinet
  • 85% previously served on the Senate
  • 35% previously served as Justices
  • Average 6.0 Campaigns for Senate

Opponents
  • Average 3-5 Years of Citizenship
  • 63% previously served as President/VP
  • 56% previously served as Speaker
  • 100% previously served on Cabinet
  • 88% previously served on the Senate
  • 50% previously served as Justices
  • Average 8.4 Campaigns for Senate

However, there are two proponents who skipped all demographic questions, causing them to be counted as inexperienced, which could have easily skewed the All Citizens/Experienced Citizens charts above. On most questions, I did not find a significant difference between all citizens and experienced citizens.

Finally, as requested by @Elio (who already had access since I let him review the poll ;), Raw Results.
 
As I said in private recently it only takes one senior europeian running on a single issue platform to wield almost limitless power.
Can you expand on how a candidate could wield "almost limitless power" under the amendment? I think this is factually wrong but would be be happy to fix any loophole you've discovered, or scenario you can imagine, that gives a single senator "almost limitless power." Identifying flaws in how weighted votes would be allocated is helpful in improving the amendment!

However, if this is just hyperbole, I must point out that no senator would have "almost limitless power," and should not be able to advance any legislation, pass any motion, or confirm/ deny any nomination without the support of other Senators. There is a hard limit in the Amendment that prevents any Senator from having more than twice as much power as any other Senator. So in other words, no Senator can actually get anywhere near the power level that you say is possible. I think it's helpful to identify actual flaws but don't understand the critique given my impression of the amendment as written.
 
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almost limitless power
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I'd like some almost limitless power pls. Not in the Senate, just over my own life and mental wellbeing
Unfortunately, you'll have to find that power outside of the weighted voting amendment because no such power exists or is intended w the Amendment. Happy to amend any loophole that OD points out but important to point out factually incorrect arguments :)
 
PhDre woke me up from a sound sleep and made me think I did something right.

nope turns out I made a poor choice of words.

No one is to blame but I blame Dre
What was the point you were making then?
 
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