Recently, I wrote a post about the voter’s paradox in relation to GE 2015. In that post, I explained what the voter’s paradox is and how it might partly explain the results. After collecting some data, here are the statistics on the responses I got.
1. Did you vote during GE 2015
A total of 421 participants took the survey. 381, or around 90% of those who took the survey voted. For participants who did not vote, they were directed to the end of the survey. All statistics henceforth only took into account participants who voted.
2. Did WP or SDP contest in your ward?
Of the 381 participants, 196 answered that either WP or SDP contested in their ward. The remaining 185 or 49% had other opposition parties contested in their ward.
3. In this question, I asked those who answered yes to the previous, which party – WP or SDP – contested in their ward.
Most participants (74%) said that WP contested in their ward. This is to be expected since WP contested in more wards than SDP. As you can see, 134 + 46 = 180 which is less than the 196 who answered yes previously. Not everyone answered all questions (some dropped out halfway I assumed), and so in case you are wondering why some numbers don’t match, that is why.
5. For the who answered that either WP of SDP contested in their ward, I next asked them to rank their preference, amongst WP, SDP and PAP.
As you can see from the table, 68, or 40% ranked WP as their top choice. 69 ranked PAP as their top choice and 33 ranked SDP as their top choice.
6. For the 185 who did not have WP or SDP in their ward, I asked them to rank their preference for WP, SDP, PAP and XXX (whichever is the party that contested in their ward).
165 participants answered this question. XXX represents that party that contested in their ward. The table gives a detailed picture of their rankings. I want to focus on the pie chart that shows the percentage of people who ranked their top party choice. As you can see from the pie chart, 35% and 21% of the participants ranked WP and SDP as their top choice, respectively. That is 56% of 165 participants. On the other hand, only 20% ranked the party that contested in their ward as their top choice. Therefore, it seems, at least based on this data set, that some people would have preferred WP or SDP over the party that contested in their ward. It is possible that some of this 56% voted PAP over XXX but would rather have preferred WP or SDP.
This provides some evidence to support the theory of the voter’s paradox that I proposed. That PAP may not be the top choice for some, but because WP and SDP did not contest in their wards, PAP is favored over whichever party contested in their ward. That is, if they did not have the chance to vote for WP or SDP, they would rather vote for PAP.
7. Lastly, I asked everyone who voted, to rank their party preference across the 9 political parties involved in GE 2015, assuming that all parties are contesting in their ward. They do not have to rank all parties. Participants have the option to stop whenever, if they feel that they only know enough about certain parties to be able to rank them.
Here, I focus on the last pie chart. A total of 285 participants ranked their top choice. Of the 285, 40% ranked WP as their top party with 28% preferring PAP and 22% preferring SDP. No statistical analysis were ran and so we cannot infer if 40% is statistically significant. However, if we extrapolate from this limited dataset, it is possible that if we change the voting structure to be more national and less wards based, we might see a different pattern of results.
What is the make up of this group like?
Where I got my participants?
This is important because it affects the make up of the data set, which may bias the data to some extent. I posted the link in these places: 1) my facebook wall 2) any party that has a facebook page. Some smaller parties do not have a page that allows you post comments, so I was not able to post a link up 3) I also posted the link on several related groups including SMRT feedback, Fabrications about PAP, Channel News Asia and the facebook page of Calvin Cheng. I did this once every 2-3 days for a week or so.
1. I asked people about their preference, not who they voted for because I wanted their decision to be private. Therefore, the assumption here is that their preference rankings do in fact mirror their voting decision.
2. This survey was done after the elections and the whole episode on RP and Kenneth Jeyaretnam may have shifted the rankings, especially on RP.
3. Participants were not randomly picked to complete the survey. More opposition supporters may have done the survey compared to PAP supporters, biasing the results.
4. From the age group pie chart, we can see that a majority of the participants are in their 20s and 30s. Therefore, the results may be more representative only for this age range. We do not know if older people think the same way as the younger generations do.
This survey is a simple exercise I undertook to test a theory of mine. There seems to be at least some support for it. However, a much larger survey (approx 1400 participants) by QUAD before the elections took place showed that 70% of the Singapore population would have voted for PAP, and that was in fact how the results panned out. I may be wrong after all. I urge readers to exercise caution when interpreting the results here, especially when only descriptive statistics are presented, with no formal analyses done. As I mentioned, there are several limitations to the data set as well. Regardless, for those who participated in this survey, thank you!
If there are any topics you want me to write about, from a psychological perspective or not, do not hesitate to let me know what you have in mind. If it sounds fun, I will be up for it.