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.

Joined
May '10

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

That's now...so much will happen between then and now (read Rob's post on the Euro)

Love Gingrich in the debates, but Romney's gonna be the guy, and he'd better win or it's revolution-time.

Joined
May '10

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

i don't love Romney but I prefer him.  My reasoning is thus:  Politicians should not get too far out in front of the voters and Romney is very close to the median voter. I also think that he has a record of competence; he seems like a serious man.  For the good of the country, we need a successful president, because we have had incompetents for quite a while.  Think about the side effects of success.  It would move the electorate to the right.  In eight years, a conservative (Rubio?) would be a shoe in.

Joined
Jun '11

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

Obama has the best chance against Mitt, because there is less differences between the two than say Obama and Newt or Obama and Bachmann.

It will be easier to look at both Mitt and Obama if you are an Obama supporter and hear about the same thing. So they'll think, " lets give Obama a chance to clean it all up."

Joined
Dec '10

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

Honestly?  I don't think I could be friends with anyone who would vote for Obama a second time.  Only those who come groveling in sack cloth and ashes are trustworthy enough to even consider forgiving.  The rest don't give a rat about my kids' future. They're not friends.  Any moderate friends still in my circle better vote for the Republican even if Elmer Fudd is the nominee!

Do I sound angry and resentful?  You betcha, I'm angry and resentful!  It's gonna take a long, long time and a lot of strenuous effort getting this country back to something resembling a prosperous democratic republic.  Obama voters need to get the hell out of the way.  We have no use and no time left for them.

Joined
Oct '10

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

"Obama vs. Paul: Paul, Paul, Paul but it’d take some soul searching, Obama –Paul’s too weird for me."

I really don't get that one. Why would anyone in the 36-63 range vote for a 5 rather than a 95?

Joined
Dec '10

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

If your "moderate" friends are indicative of moderates in general, we are all well and truly [toast].

How any human with two eyes and a semi-functional brain could look at the destruction JugEars™ hath wrought and then willingly vote for his again is beyond my reckoning.

I would dearly love to hear them justify their choosing Obama a second time.

It is sure to be an exercise is cognitive dissonance.

Edited on November 27, 2011 at 5:46am

Joined
Jan '11

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

My difficulty here is that whatever this strategy might produce in the short run, in the long run it encourages candidates to avoid any policy that seems extreme ... even if that policy makes perfect sense in a coherent theory of government. I think it encourages poll-tested phrases that sound like theory, but aren't.

Or, to fracture McLuhan, the middle is the message.

Joined
Oct '10

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

Electable in the general election: Romney, Perry, Gingrich, Huntsman

Unelectable: Paul, Cain, Bachmann, Santorum

Joined
Oct '10

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

I am disgusted with the whole pseudo-fraud of thinking we are voting in a sophisticated manner when we choose the "most electable" candidate.  After 50 years as a voter the only certainty is that the Republican candidate will be a milquetoast "next guy in line" McRomney type.  The only certainty is that whether we vote for him, or stay at home, we will end up with another loser from one of the two parties.

I will vote for the person who will carry my own beliefs forward, and seek to strengthen the America I, that's right, I believe in.  I do not give a damn whether he is a Republican, independent, Libertarian or even a D'crat (doubtful), he will get my vote.

If you believe all this [poltroonery] about the most "electable" Republican as the savior of America, than you are very young and inexperienced, or just plain stupid and inexperienced.

I prefer throwing my vote away on what I believe in, rather than engaging the delusion that I can neglect my deepest beliefs in order to elect a candidate who will give me 10% down, and 90% in the future.

Who could buy into that deal???

Edited on November 27, 2011 at 5:48am

Joined
Oct '10

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

If Romney or Huntsman are the GOP nominee, then it becomes a referendum on Obama.

If Perry or Gingrich becomes the nominee, then it becomes more of a choice between him and his opponent.

Joined
Oct '10

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

Sorry, but Cain is unqualified for the presidency. He's having a good time with the book tour though. Wish he ran for governor in 2010.

Joined
Jun '10

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

Because Romney is only human, he's every bit as capable as any other candidate to have brain freeze at a critical moment, or say something profoundly stupid. The candidates are not robots--not even Romney. Because of that, I'll support the candidate that I'm most willing to forgive for their next screw-up, and that's Newt Gingrich. If Romney's main attraction is that he seldom missteps, well that's not a good reason to support him. You can certainly avoid mistakes by never being bold, but you can't be a great, or even good, President that way.

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

Editor's note: A gentle reader has raised concern about the appropriateness of referring to our Commander-in-Chief as "JugEars." This editor feels the term falls within the penumbra of the rich tradition of American political satire--and besides, no one could fail to spot that the man does, indeed, have large, jug-like, and funny-looking ears. However, the editor wishes to remind members that she faints at the sight of coarse references to excretion and copulation.

Joined
Oct '10

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

Thank you Claire.  We suffer from an excess of conviction and a deficiency of decorum.

Joined
Aug '10

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

Interesting experiment to perform.  I will try to do it with a group of teens in mid-December.  I'll have to get their PQs first, which leads me to wonder.  Does the listing of party of support in the PQ questions cue the reader toward their own self identified party bias?  Would it be better to ask the question without reporting the party support of the bills, or is that a central part of the question?

show ETD's comment (#16)

Joined
Nov '11

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

 raycon:  After 50 years as a voter the only certainty is that the Republican candidate will be a milquetoast "next guy in line" McRomney type.

"Milquetoasts" do not earn \$250 million plus. Give the Mitt his props; that net worth doesn't come easy in any day or age...

Joined
Apr '11

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

Some elections it is about choosing the middle path, so Black's theorem is not completely discredited. I don't think this is one of them. There is a profound shift going on in the American electorate right now and Romney is not the guy to capitalize on it. This makes questions of electability somewhat mote at this time. Liberals embrace the notion that modern life is too difficult for the average citizen to manage and so all but the most minute decisions should be made by some set of enlightened mandarins. Conservatives reject this notion and generally believe that within the limits of the civil society individuals should be allowed to choose their own destiny. The problem with Romney is he wants to have a debate about the competence of one set of mandarins verse another; rather than argue for the position of individual soveignity. This misses the central argument and risks either losing because the support is really soft or at worst winning a hollow victory with no governing mandate. In this case it is probably better to have a clear contrast rather than an argument on which set of government officials get to order your life.

show ETD's comment (#18)

Joined
Nov '11

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

 RaxxalanisThe problem with Romney is he wants to have a debate about the competence of one set of mandarins verse another; rather than argue for the position of individual soveignity.

I would argue the problem is that the American electorate fails to review the resume. Mitt Romney's life is the prime example of individual sovereignty.

Joined
Apr '11

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

ETD Three points: 1) Most liberal elites believe in individual soveignity for themselves so, your point does not necessarily prove anything about Romney's positions on the issue. 2) I was pointing out Romney's campaign message, not necessarily his beliefs. He may believe in individual soveignity; however, he has not chosen to make it prominient in his campaign. He has instead basically articulated a good government platform. That is fine as a value proposition but it isn't an embrace of individual soveignity. 3) I am not aware of him championing individual soveignity in his tenure as governor of Massachusetts. In fact while he may have argued that individual responsibility made his health insurance mandate necessary, the policy itself is coercive and therefore a rejection of individual soveignity. So while I admire Mitt Romney's success and accept his value proposition that he can select a better group of mandarins to administer the government. He has not convinced me at all that he truly understands the scope of the contest he is involved in.

Joined
Apr '11

### Re: Is Mitt Romney the Most “Electable” of the Potential Republican Nominees, and Should Republicans Vote for Him for that Reason?

ETD Three points: 1) Most liberal elites believe in individual soveignity for themselves so, your point does not necessarily prove anything about Romney's positions on the issue. 2) I was pointing out Romney's campaign message, not necessarily his beliefs. He may believe in individual soveignity; however, he has not chosen to make it prominient in his campaign. He has instead basically articulated a good government platform. That is fine as a value proposition but it isn't an embrace of individual soveignity. 3) I am not aware of him championing individual soveignity in his tenure as governor of Massachusetts. In fact while he may have argued that individual responsibility made his health insurance mandate necessary, the policy itself is coercive and therefore a rejection of individual soveignity. So while I admire Mitt Romney's success and accept his value proposition that he can select a better group of mandarins to administer the government. He has not convinced me at all that he truly understands the scope of the contest he is involved in.

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