2015 Republican Liberty Caucus straw poll

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In 2015, the Center for Election Science (CES) handled the Republican Liberty Caucus straw poll, using three different voting methods: Plurality voting, Approval voting, Score voting (0-5).[1] There were 779 voters and all voters used all three voting methods. The Republican Liberty Caucus chose the Approval voting results as the official results.

Results[edit | edit source]

There were 16 candidates on the ballot, with 2 slots for write-ins. (Write-ins are shown in italics in the chart below.)

Under all three voting systems, Rand Paul was the winner, with Ted Cruz in second place. Under Plurality, satirical write-in candidate Gil Fulbright came in third, but he was much lower in the Approval and Score rankings.

Several of the candidates who got low scores in the Plurality election received significantly higher scores in the Approval and Score elections.

One voter wrote-in Hillary Clinton, with a score of zero, putting her in last place under all voting systems.

Raw score totals:

Candidate Plurality Approval Score
Rand Paul 403 445 2438
Ted Cruz 342 399 2129
Ben Carson 2 139 1075
Carly Fiorina 6 79 819
Marco Rubio 2 75 703
Donald Trump 9 54 573
Bobby Jindal 0 51 678
Rick Santorum 0 26 447
Mike Huckabee 0 25 422
John Kasich 0 17 340
Chris Christie 0 14 309
Gil Fulbright 11 12 50
Jeb Bush 1 9 240
George Pataki 0 6 220
Lindsey Graham 0 4 156
Jim Gilmore 0 3 221
Vermin Supreme 0 3 14
Mark Everson 0 2 180
Heather Wagenhals 0 2 10
Paul Jacob 0 1 5
Ron Paul 0 1 5
Mitt Romney 0 1 4
Ben Shapiro 0 1 4
Hillary Clinton 0 0 0


Analysis[edit | edit source]

The raw ballots were published by CES, making it possible to analyze voter behavior.[2]

Every voter approved of at least one candidate, though 3 (0.4%) did not vote in the plurality election, and 10 (1.3%) did not score any candidate.

Approval election[edit | edit source]

  • There were 1.8 approvals per ballot on average, with a maximum of 14 on one ballot.
  • 70% of voters bullet-voted for only one candidate

Score election[edit | edit source]

The most common behavior was to bullet-vote for only one candidate, leaving the rest blank, while the second most common behavior was to score every candidate on the ballot (not including write-ins):

Explicit scores were distributed somewhat evenly, but blanks dominated the distribution, especially when blanks for write-ins (which are inevitable) are included:

  • 44% of voters bullet-voted for only candidate
  • 26% of voters rated all 16 candidates on the ballot
  • 39% of voters explicitly used the full range of scores available
  • 4% of voters explicitly min/max voted (Approval-style votes, where all candidates get either maximum or minimum scores).
  • 50% of voters implicitly min/max voted (giving maximum scores to one or more candidates and leaving the rest blank)

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "CES Conducts the Republican Liberty Caucus Straw Poll". The Center for Election Science. 2015-10-14. Retrieved 2018-12-16. 
  2. "RLCNC_2015_StrawPoll.csv". results.electology.org. Retrieved 2018-12-16.