Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

November 29, 2013

Different Measures of Popularity of City Council Candidates

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,City Council,elections — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 1:06 pm

Different Measures of Popularity of City Council Candidates – 2013 Election

Anyone familiar with Cambridge municipal elections knows the importance of the #1 vote in electing favored candidates, but there are other measures of popularity that provide insight into the general acceptability of candidates to voters. Shown below are the standings of the top 12 candidates showing #1 Vote Totals; number of ballots listing candidate either #1 or #2 (Top2); number of ballots listing candidate #1, #2, or #3 (Top3); number of ballots listing candidate anywhere from #1 through #5 (Top5); and number of ballots listing candidate anywhere from #1 through #9 (Top9). There was a total of 17,743 valid ballots in the City Council election.

Candidate #1 Votes Rank1
Cheung, Leland 2391 1
Maher, David 1464 2
Toomey, Tim 1457 3
Benzan, Dennis 1301 4
McGovern, Marc 1187 5
Simmons, Denise 1184 6
Carlone, Dennis 1151 7
Kelley, Craig 1093 8
Mazen, Nadeem 985 9
Reeves, Ken 934 10
vanBeuzekom, Minka  875 11
Seidel, Sam 701 12
Candidate Top2 Rank2
Cheung, Leland 4406 1
Maher, David 2646 2
Simmons, Denise 2531 3
Toomey, Tim 2438 4
McGovern, Marc 2266 5
Benzan, Dennis 2208 6
vanBeuzekom, Minka  2017 7
Kelley, Craig 2009 8
Carlone, Dennis 1968 9
Reeves, Ken 1964 10
Mazen, Nadeem 1944 11
Seidel, Sam 1503 12
Candidate Top3 Rank3
Cheung, Leland 6082 1
Simmons, Denise 3847 2
Maher, David 3600 3
McGovern, Marc 3275 4
Toomey, Tim 3231 5
vanBeuzekom, Minka  3079 6
Benzan, Dennis 3032 7
Reeves, Ken 2887 8
Kelley, Craig 2861 9
Mazen, Nadeem 2720 10
Carlone, Dennis 2645 11
Seidel, Sam 2363 12
Candidate Top5 Rank5
Cheung, Leland 7999 1
Simmons, Denise 5721 2
Maher, David 4912 3
vanBeuzekom, Minka  4685 4
McGovern, Marc 4629 5
Toomey, Tim 4336 6
Kelley, Craig 4233 7
Reeves, Ken 4172 8
Benzan, Dennis 3966 9
Seidel, Sam 3828 10
Mazen, Nadeem 3727 11
Carlone, Dennis 3437 12
Candidate Top9 Rank9
Cheung, Leland 9299 1
Simmons, Denise 7181 2
vanBeuzekom, Minka  6253 3
Maher, David 6196 4
McGovern, Marc 5822 5
Kelley, Craig 5630 6
Toomey, Tim 5547 7
Reeves, Ken 5400 8
Seidel, Sam 5179 9
Benzan, Dennis 5004 10
Mazen, Nadeem 4687 11
Carlone, Dennis 4172 12

8 Comments

  1. This year, and other years, I am struck by how many people don’t appear to vote for enough candidates to ensure their ballot will end up with a winner. Is that right? When I read the results, am I correct in thinking that the “exhausted” pile could have been counted if people had marked enough candidates? Meaning that this year 992 ballots on the CC side ended up not in a winner’s pile – which swamps the difference between many candidates. I always tell people to mark about 5 or 6 for School Committee and at least 9 or 10 for Council (esp. if they vote for a lot of challengers). Thoughts on the idea of encouraging more people to vote for more candidates?

    Comment by Patty Nolan — November 29, 2013 @ 8:47 pm

  2. I’ll check the ballot data and give you a more thorough answer, but don’t forget that because the City Council quota is 10% rounded up, there will always be just shy of 10% of ballots that will end up “exhausted” and many of those ballots will have many candidates ranked on them. If we used the Hare Quota (one-ninth) there would be far fewer exhausted ballots, but we use the Droop Quota which is the lowest possible number guaranteed to not elect more than the number who are to be elected.

    Comment by Robert Winters — November 29, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

  3. Most common is 3 rankings (and this has typically been the case in past elections).
    Median number of rankings is 5. Mean is about 6 (which seems low with 25 candidates from whom to choose).
    1563 of the 17,743 ballots ranked only one candidate (bullet).
    452 ballots ranked all candidates.

    Ranked…..Number…..Pct
    1…..1563…..8.8%
    2…..1380…..7.8%
    3…..2974…..16.8%
    4…..2147…..12.1%
    5…..1983…..11.2%
    6…..1641…..9.2%
    7…..1353…..7.6%
    8…..985…..5.6%
    9…..1580…..8.9%
    10…..580…..3.3%
    11…..266…..1.5%
    12…..212…..1.2%
    13…..130…..0.7%
    14…..84…..0.5%
    15…..56…..0.3%
    16…..47…..0.3%
    17…..48…..0.3%
    18…..35…..0.2%
    19…..25…..0.1%
    20…..25…..0.1%
    21…..18…..0.1%
    22…..28…..0.2%
    23…..46…..0.3%
    24…..85…..0.5%
    25…..452…..2.5%
    Total…..17743…..100.0%

    Comment by Robert Winters — November 29, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

  4. Robert-I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, but I am SO confused by all of this…and I watched your CCTV shows! Looking at the above statistics regarding the candidates’s rankings on the Top 2, etc. I do not understand how if Minka was always in the top 9 after the first round that she ends up behind Mazen and Carlone.

    Comment by Judith Nathans — November 30, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

  5. Judy – What these results illustrate is the extreme importance of the #1 vote. In this election there were 17,743 valid ballots cast and, of these, 11,959 of them went to their #1 ranked candidate. That’s 67.4% of ballots for which none of the other rankings ever played a role in the election.

    It is abundantly clear from these results that Minka vanBeuzekom was more than popular enough to be reelected, but many of her supporters thought they would give their #1 vote to a different candidate out of some misguided belief that they could somehow game the system to elect another preferred candidate. Many of these people are now kicking themselves. Proportional representation only cares that constituencies get their fair share of representation. It doesn’t care which individuals will do the representation. This, of course, is not a point of view shared by candidates who fail to be elected.

    Comment by Robert Winters — November 30, 2013 @ 5:09 pm

  6. The only thing that seems clear is that Minka was popular in the top three, but her constituents gave their number one vote to someone else. Further, that Carlone was not very popular outside of his core. Denise is also extremely popular, which I find baffling, but what do I know.

    Comment by Patrick Barrett — November 30, 2013 @ 7:15 pm

  7. Patrick – Denise’s jump from 6th place in #1 votes to 3rd position in “top 2″ rankings is clearly a function of significant cross-over (i.e #1 or #2, in either order) voting by a considerable percentage of voters in her and Reeves’ shared “core constituencies”, a factor which I believe has been present (Robert, please correct me if I’m wrong on this!) for as long as both of them have held Council seats. (Denise’s pulling a bit ahead David once the #3′s – and beyond – are added in to the cumulative rankings Is likely a result of David’s voters being top-heavy on 1′s and 2′s, and somewhat thinner after that.)

    Comment by Lesley Phillips — December 2, 2013 @ 3:58 pm

  8. Robert, this is a great piece of information. How far back in time is it possible to construct these data?

    Comment by Jack Santucci — December 11, 2013 @ 7:03 pm

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