Ann Coulter, in this video, seems to say yes.
Coulter, at least by my interpretation, advocates that Republican voters should engage in “sophisticated voting.” This is a political-science term in which voters choose not to vote for their favorite choice. Instead, they vote for their second (or lower ranked) choice because they do not believe their first choice has a good chance at winning. Rather than “throw away” their vote, they vote for their second (or lower ranked) choice in order to prevent an extremely distasteful choice (say, President Obama) from winning.
Another political science concept—Black’s Median Voter Theorem—suggests that Coulter’s advice is wise. At least that was my hunch as recently as a week ago. But to determine that for certain, I’m about to ask for feedback from Ricochet members.
First, here’s a brief explanation of Black’ Median Voter Theorem. The Theorem says that—under a set of reasonable assumptions—if you line up voters according to their preferences for an issue, then the middle person (the median) gets his way. The theorem suggests that in the general election next November, Obama will win if and only if moderate voters prefer him to the Republican nominee.
For some perspective, I’ve taken a poll of some of my moderate friends. One way to define moderate is to look for people who’ve split their vote over the last few presidential elections—that is, people who voted for the Democrat in at least one election and the Republican in at least one other.
Another way is to use the Political Quotients that I construct in my book, Left Turn. (The book lists a 10-question quiz if you want to compute your own PQ. You can access that quiz here. And if you want a more precise estimate of your PQ, you can take a 40-question quiz here.) For my own poll, I define a person as moderate if his or her PQ is between 35 and 65.
I asked my moderate friends this question: “Suppose Romney (or respectively, Gingrich, Huntsman, or Ron Paul) wins the Republican nomination. If so, what’s the likelihood that you’ll vote him over Obama in the general election? The four moderate friends have PQs of 36, 38, 56, and 63. Their answers are below. I list their answers from smallest PQ to largest.
Obama vs. Romney: probably Romney, probably Obama, Obama, Obama
Obama vs. Gingrich: Obama but maybe Gingrich, probably Obama, Obama, probably Gingrich – he’s smart
Obama vs. Huntsman: Obama, Huntsman, Obama but it’d be a tough decision, Huntsman
Obama vs. Paul: Paul, Paul, Paul but it’d take some soul searching, Obama –Paul’s too weird for me
According to my sample of moderates, Romney actually doesn’t do so well. He gets only one vote, and that’s only a “probably.” Gingrich does slightly better: He gets a “probably,” plus an additional “maybe.” Huntsman does even better: He gets two definite votes. Paul does the best – he gets three out of four votes of my moderate friends.
Fellow Ricocheters? I’d be especially grateful if you could report how you believe your moderate friends would vote.