What if the world voted for the US President?

Beta Vote is an interesting concept- what if the rest of the world got to vote in the US Presidential elections?

Go to the link, enter your country and vote. Don’t cheat.

FAQ here.

  1. Eh. It proves exactly nothing. Not that I have any love for Bush (as you and I have discussed privately), but of course the rest of the world is not going to be as much for Bush, or for most any U.S. president for that matter, as Usonians would be. A U.S. president is always going to put U.S. citizens before the rest of the world, because if he doesn’t, he’s going to lose.

    (I suppose it’s logically possible that a candidate could have majority support at home and even bigger support abroad, but realistically, I don’t think I can see that happeneing. Politics is currently waged as a short-term, zero-sum game and not as a longer term win-win situation.)

    You’d see a similar phenomenon if Gore were President now, I should think, although the gap between the U.S. ad the rest-of-the-world measures wouldn’t be quite so pronounced. Maybe that gap is what we should really be looking at.

    And besides, the 29%/70% split under United States? I call unrepresentative sample and shenanigans in light of the electoral vote predictor, which isn’t completely representative itself but at least takes its data from a wider variety of non-self-reporting sources.

    I did find it interesting to compare the stats for Israel and the Palestinian Territory. I suspect unrepresentative samples there, too, although maybe there is a logical explanation for why two countries at each others’ throats would support the same U.S. presidential candidate.

  2. um, no disrespect intended, but…

    that point? I think you missed it.

    This is a data set, not an assertion. “Proves nothing”? Did you bring some expectation of bias to your observation of the data set? It just is. Let it be that.

    Did you vote?

    Did you see how other people voted?

    did it make you go “hm…”?

    Mission Accomplished!

  3. No disrespect taken. 🙂

    As for preconceived expectation of bias, no, not really. But basic to any statistical study is getting a representative sample, and if the sample is self-selected, the only proper response is to mutter, “Well, that’s nice,” and move on.

    As an example, it might be the case that people with Internet access are better educated, are more politically active, and/or are overwhelmingly more likely to vote for Kerry. I don’t know either way, obviously. But after seeing this poll, I have to ask myself those questions about the sample if I’m going to be intellectually honest with myself. Otherwise… there are 25,493 people from around the the world who prefer Bush, and there are 170,466 preferring Kerry.

    Well, that’s nice, and if only we could get those 170,466 to vote. But it doesn’t really deepen my understanding of Kerry, or Bush, or geopolitics. They’re numbers without context. There’s nothing to do with them. It’s not even interesting to bring up at the next party I go to. So no, it didn’t make me go “hm…”, or “beee-yoop”, or “snap crackle pop”, or anything.

  4. Well, slight correction. That Israel/Palestine comparison does interest me at least. But I can’t trust it without some method of randomizing the sample.

  5. I see it as an interesting sampling of people with internet access who know some of the same people that I know. I find it more interesting than indicative of anything.

    I fully accept the possibility of automated tampering. I am aware that this was forwarded to me from someone in Europe, which will further skew the sample set. Also, the instructions are in English, it is possible to vote many, many times from the same IP, blahblahblah.

    Again, this was not presented as indicative of anything, silly. It was “Hey, look at that!” In much the same way that I used to love it when the tree-climbing pit bull would be on Carson. “Cool! A tree-climbing dog!” I don’t take it as indicative that all dogs can climb trees, or even that most dogs can climb trees. I see it as a sure sign that at least one dog can climb a tree.

    Here is some guy’s neat experiment in meme propogation.

    Can’t it just be interesting?

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