How much is your vote worth?

Most New York University students would give up their right to vote for a full year’s tuition. One in five will give up their right to vote for an iPod touch.

But only on a year by year basis. To get someone to give up their right to vote forever, you need to pay one million dollars. Two thirds of the NYU students said they would jump at this deal.

This study, involving 3,000 respondents and done for a journalism class, did not seem to specify the following condition: You give up your vote and give it to me (or someone else). History tells us that people will routinely do that. This, in fact, is how approximately 49-51 percent of actual voters vote, right? The “I’ll lower your taxes” promise seems to yield these numbers on a regular basis.

The funny thing about this survey, reported here, is this: Most of these students have never voted and a large percentage never will.

Comments

  1. #1 Jeb, FCD
    November 16, 2007

    I’d give up my right to vote for $100 million, since my vote never counts anyway. Then, I’d diversify the funds globally and move to Canada.

  2. #2 Anon
    November 16, 2007

    I live in New Hampshire–my vote is easily worth ten votes in any other state.

    I have a kid in college and another who will be there in a year and a half.

    Let the bidding commence. Hell yes, I can be bought.

  3. #3 IanR
    November 16, 2007

    Can’t vote, so I don’t have anything to sell. :(

  4. #4 ERCC-1
    November 16, 2007

    Although this is an interesting idea, it in no way makes an accurate judgment of an individual vote’s worth.

    While not a applying to all students, the vast majority of the NYU student population has no concept of the actual value of money and an overinflated sense of self-value.

    The fact that a years tuition (30k+) and an ipod touch and a million dollars are the ways in which an amount of money is judged illustrates this.

    I think if you sampled the general populace, you would get a much more reasonable response to a single vote’s value. Something on the order of $5 to $10 (2004 election: 122 million votes, $702 million spent by candidates, this election, obviously more per vote).

    I think that if it were allowed, a decent percent of the population would trade their vote in a given year for $20 outside of the polling station.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    November 16, 2007

    Not to mention the fact that at no point in time was anyone thinking that anyone was going to give anyone even a dime. Nothing on the table, nothing at stake, nothing anyone says can be taken very seriously.