Setting up the polls for the 2016 US Presidential elections

This blog entry is related to the poll:Who would be the best Democratic candidate for 2016?

There is already some demand for polls for the 2016 US Presidential elections, so I thought I would bring the discussion out in the open for how to set up polls in this site for 2016.

2012 polls

As a reminder, for 2012, we had set up 4 presidential polls using different Election Methods + 1 poll on the issues:

2016 polls previously set up

Since we are starting very early for the 2016 cycle, I thought we could do something different. To start with, 2016 will be an open election, without any incumbent on either side of the 2 major parties. Nobody can say who will run in the primaries and much less who will receive the nomination.

Also, the voters on this site have a very obvious left-wing bias. So, instead of pitching Republicans (and Libertarians, etc.) against Democrats (and Greens, etc.), I thought we could have separate polls on each side of the political divide.

I had already started setting up polls for 2016, but I am still not sure about which Election Method to use and what question exactly to ask.

Two members have already voted in the following poll, but I have currently locked it because I believe the poll set-up is wrong:

The poll uses Approval Voting, but it's a wrong EM to use for this type of question. Instead, I should have used Score Voting with a range of 0~100 with a question like: "In your opinion, what percentage chance does each of the following candidates have of defeating the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016?"
So, I have locked the above poll. We can now discuss how exactly to set it up and start a new poll accordingly.

I also had done an initial set up for the poll on the Democratic side:

I am not too happy with the question asked, but polling has not started on that poll, so it is still time to change it...

Polls to set up

So, how many polls to set up and what question to ask?

Here is a list of suggestions, with the proposed EM to use for each poll indicated in the square brackets:

  1. "Whom would you bet will win the Democratic nomination for the 2016 presidential election?" [Approval voting] The poll would be closed at the start of the actual Democratic primaries.
  2. "Whom would you bet will win the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential election?" [Approval voting] The poll would be closed at the start of the actual Republican primaries.
  3. "What percentage chance do you think each of the following Democrats have to actually defeat the Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential elections?" [Score Voting 0~100]
  4. "What percentage chance do you think each of the following Republicans have to actually defeat the Democratic nominee for the 2016 presidential elections?" [Score Voting 0~100]
  5. "On the left side of the political divide, who would be your ideal candidates for the 2016 presidential elections?" [Emocracy]
  6. "On the right side of the political divide, who would be your ideal candidates for the 2016 presidential elections?" [Emocracy]
  7. "....????" [??] You may suggest other polling questions...

If you have better or more ideas, please let me know in a comment below. You may suggest a better wording for each question as well.


Polls 1 and 3 would contain only mainstream Democrats.
Polls 2 and 4 would contain only mainstream Republicans.

Poll 5 would include Democrats, Greens and other left-wing third party potential candidates.
Poll 6 would include Republicans, Libertarians and other right-wing third party potential candidates.

For each of the above polls, you may suggest a list of names to include.

On the Democratic side, we already have:

  • Joe Biden
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Andrew Cuomo
  • Martin O'Malley
  • Elizabeth Warren

Who else?

On the Republican side, we already have:

  • Marco Rubio
  • Jon Huntsman
  • Chris Christie
  • Paul Ryan
  • Rick Santorum
  • Mike Huckabee
  • Jeb Bush
  • Condoleeza Rice

Who else?

Also, for the left-wing / right wing polls, which non-mainstream or 3rd party politicians to include?

Public and member polls

As you know, there is the option to make polls either public (any anonymous visitor can vote), or private (only members can vote but everybody can see the results).

Personally, I am in favour of having only/mostly member polls. We can have one or two of the above polls public, but I am mostly interested in gauging the opinion of minguo members.

This is debatable. Which poll would you make public, and which would you keep for members only?

I am thinking to make polls 1, 2, 5 and 6 members only. Thus we can see where our community stands and how good we are of collectively guessing the nominees.

Polls 3 and 4 could be public polls...

All of the above are only suggestions at this stage. What do you think? Do you agree with my proposed polls, or would you set some differently?


My thoughts

This looks like a great plan and I think you asked the questions in a way that gets the most out of the poll. These would also work well for use on my own website. Also, I would say in general that the shorter the question is in characters, the easier to use for me. It doesn't matter to me if they are public or private.

Please checkout my website at

email me at:

Initial list of candidates on the left


Joe Biden — Vice President of the United States & fmr. U.S. Senator from Delaware (D)
Jerry Brown — fmr. Governor of California (D)
Hillary Clinton — US Secretary of State & fmr. U.S. Senator from New York (D)
Andrew Cuomo — Governor of New York (D)
Howard Dean — fmr. Governor of Vermont (D)
Kirsten Gillibrand — U.S. Senator from New York (D)
Amy Klobuchar — U.S. Senator from Minnesota (D)
Janet Napolitano — fmr. US Secretary of Homeland Security & fmr. Governor of Arizona (D)
Martin O'Malley — fmr. Governor of Maryland (D)
Deval Patrick — Governor of Massachusetts (D)
Brian Schweitzer — fmr. Governor of Montana (D)
Kathleen Sebelius — US Secretary of Health and Human Services & fmr. Governor of Kansas (D)
Michael A Steinberg — lawyer (D)
Elizabeth Warren — U.S. Senator from Massachusetts (D)

Third parties:

Roseanne Barr — 2012 presidential nominee (Green / Ind.)
Bernie Sanders — U.S. Senator from Vermont (Ind.)
Jill Stein — 2012 presidential nominee (Green)
Jesse Ventura — fmr. Governor of Minnesota (Ind.)

Do you think I have the winning ticket in the list above?

Initial list of candidates on the right


John R. Bolton — fmr. U.S. Ambassador to the UN (R)
Scott Brown — fmr. U.S. Senator from Massachusetts (R)
Jeb Bush — fmr. Governor of Florida (R)
Chris Christie — Governor of New Jersey (R)
Ted Cruz — U.S. Senator from Texas (R)
Newt Gingrich — fmr. Speaker of the House of Representatives (R)
Mike Huckabee — fmr. Governor of Arkansas (R)
Jon Huntsman — fmr. Governor of Utah & fmr. US Ambassador (R)
Sarah Palin — fmr. Governor of Alaska & 2008 vice-presidential nominee (R)
Rand Paul — U.S. Senator from Kentucky (R)
Rick Perry — Governor of Texas (R)
Condoleeza Rice — fmr. US Secretary of State (R)
Marco Rubio — U.S. Senator from Florida (R)
Paul Ryan — U.S. Representative from Wisconsin & 2012 vice-presidential nominee (R)
Rick Santorum — fmr. U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania (R)
Arnold Schwarzenegger — fmr. Governor of California (R)
Donald Trump — business magnate (R)
Scott Walker — Governor of Wisconsin (R)

Third parties:
Ben Carson — neurosurgeon (Ind.)
Gary Johnson — fmr. Governor of New Mexico (Libertarian)

Do you think I have the winning ticket in the list above?

Gender parity

Republican/ Right

18 males vs. 2 females.

Democrat / Left:

10 males vs 8 females.

I guess there is no surprise, there!