- Ranked Choice Voting
- Details about Ranked Choice Voting
- Data on Ranked Choice Voting
- Campaign Civility
Ranked choice voting (RCV) encourages civil discourse because candidates campaign not only for first- but also second-choice support. Consequently, candidates are incentivized to appeal to a broader range of voters and to avoid negative statements about opponents to reduce the risk of alienating their supporters.
In debates in RCV races, candidates referred to their opponents in more positive terms rather than negative or neutral words, according to a 2020 study by Australian researchers.
First-time RCV users in Santa Fe in 2018 reported more positive campaigning. 67% of poll respondents believed the tone of the mayoral election was more positive than prior mayoral elections while only 3% responded that the tone was more negative.
Voters in RCV cities were more satisfied with the conduct of campaigns and perceived less candidate criticism and negative campaigning compared to voters in non-RCV cities, according to a 2013 and 2014 survey. Virtually every demographic group studied reported less negativity in RCV cities.
Media coverage in RCV cities was 85% more positive than negative, according to a 2013 analysis. By contrast, 77% of news coverage in non-RCV control cities was positive.
A 2021 analysis found that candidates were more likely to engage with each other in RCV cities than in plurality cities. Articles about campaigns in RCV cities had far more positive than negative words. This effect was not present, however, on social media.
To learn more, read our series on research on civility in RCV: