Thursday, June 5, 2014

What policies will the next winning political party support? A forecast using the median voter theorem

The median voter theorem predicts that in an election, the outcome most preferred by the median voter will garner the most votes. 

Suppose views about an issue are spread out across two ends on a spectrum, "strongly agree" and "strongly disagree", with "agree", "neutral", and "disagree" in the middle. To win the most votes, the politician/party will have to take a view closest to that of the majority. If you order voters according to their views, the middle person will likely be in the densest part of the voter distribution.

Using this theorem, we can predict what views the winning party might support, assuming that they take positions with the sole strategy of winning votes. Using responses from My Singapore Conversation, I find that the median respondent took the following positions on the topics listed below:

Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree
Pace of life is more important than career advancement

We should reduce the inflows of foreign workers

We should have a more holistic, less competitive education system

Students should learn with others of different abilities and backgrounds

We should limit individual freedom of expression to prevent social tensions

We should censor media content to protect public interest

I accept gay lifestyles

I accept same-sex marriages

The government should take more responsibility to provide for the people

We should keep taxes low even if it limits support to the needy

We should preseve green space, even at the expense of roads, housing, and public amenities

From this, the winning party is likely value a slower pace of life, both for workers and students, and have a more inclusive learning environment in schools. The party will likely have conservative attitudes towards gay marriages, and preserve green spaces. Lastly, the party is likely to preserve the status quo with regards to immigration, freedom of expression and censorship, and supporting the needy.

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