He's hardly the only one with this attitude. But, as much as I've been accused of "wasting my vote" on a candidate that "doesn't have a chance of winning," there's a new article showing how voting with the above attitude (keeping candidate X out of office) is entirely wasted:Nyarlathotep wrote:I have voted for a third party candidate every election since I was old enough to vote, more to send a message than because I thought the guy could win. This year, after a lot of thought, I decided to vote for Kerry because I figured that this year getting Bush out of office seemed more important than my usual symbolic vote.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig5/hooper1.html

To run the numbers, I created a Monte Carlo computer simulation model and ran well over 300,000 simulations. My model has two pretty evenly matched main political parties and three smaller ones that fight over roughly ten percent of the vote total. I defined voting groups, each with probability distributions. With these groups defined, I ran multiple runs of the model at 5,000 iterations (5,000 elections) each while varying the number of total voters.

It turns out that your one vote, and mine too, has a probability of swinging any evenly-matched election based on the following formula: Probability equals 3.64 divided by N, where N is the total number of votes cast. So for a small election, say for a homeowners' association with 100 members, your probability of casting the vote that determines the outcome is about 3.64 percent (or 0.0364). Stated differently, you'd have to vote in 27.5 elections to determine a single one. As we move up to the state and national level, the odds fall dramatically. With 11 million voters in California, where my friend and I live, the probability drops to 3.3 x 10-7 (0.00000033), which means that you'd have to vote in over three million presidential elections to determine the winner in California just once.

Of course, California isn't the whole country. California currently has 55 electoral votes out of a total of 538, with 270 needed to elect a president. Since 1852, when Californians first voted for U.S. president, California has been a key swing state in only two presidential elections...: A voter in California would have to vote in 57.5 million elections to determine one President of the United States.

What does this mean? Well, first of all it means that you'd have to vote for a very long time – 230 million years – to swing one election and all you'd have to show for it is a Bush in the White House instead of a Kerry (or visa versa). If you are like me and many other voters, you can't get very excited about either Bush or Kerry, so your final payoff would be lackluster, at best. For those who still think these odds look acceptable, consider the following comparisons. You are 12 times as likely to die from a dog attack, 34,000 times as likely to die in a motor vehicle accident, and 274 times as likely to die in a bathtub drowning as you are to swing a presidential election.

So, should you vote for Kerry to keep Bush out of office, or vice-versa? I say (somewhat facetiously): sure, if you want to waste your vote, go right ahead! On the other hand, if what you want isNow, what if my friend votes for Michael Badnarik, the 2004 Libertarian candidate? Is that vote wasted? Well, it is clear that no third-party candidate will win the 2004 election, but my friend's support would certainly help his favorite political party stay in business and therefore get noticed. While it is in business, his party will help define election issues and could even get lucky and elect a president...More likely, as any third party becomes successful, the Democrats and Republicans will simply adopt that party's platforms. The same thing happened with the Socialist party early in the 20th century. As Milton Friedman points out, the Socialists failed miserably with a popular vote total that peaked at only six percent in 1912. But they succeeded in the way that matters most. Dig below the surface and you'll find that virtually every economic plank of the Socialist's 1928 platform has since been written into law. The votes cast for these Socialists certainly weren't wasted from the point of view of those who cast them.

*real*change in politics, voting for either establishment party just isn't going to do it. But a vote for a third party just might,

*even if they don't get elected!*

In either case, I say, don't vote for the same old same old--you'll only encourage them!