First preference

From electowiki

A first preference or 1st choice is a voter's highest preference for who they want to win i.e. if the voter had complete power to decide who won, this is the candidate they would pick.


The term "plurality" is sometimes used to refer to first preferences, because of Plurality voting.

Some voting methods allow voters to have multiple 1st choices, using equal ranking. The two main ways of dealing with this are to treat the voter as giving full support to each 1st choice (similar to Approval voting) or to consider them as having "split" one unit or vote of support between each 1st choice candidate (similar to cumulative voting)

Several voting methods prioritize 1st choices above all else. Choose-one FPTP voting is prominent for this, as is RCV. See Category:FPTP-based voting methods for some examples.

A common argument against Condorcet methods and other consensus voting methods (i.e. voting methods that avoid the center squeeze effect) is that they make 1st choices matter less.

Multi-winner case

Instead of looking only at 1st choices, it is useful to instead look at each voter's [number of winners] most-preferred candidates, because these are the candidates they would choose to fill all of the seats if they could. See solid coalition.