Update time! Here’s some follow-up on yesterday’s post about my unwitting status as a Freakonomics motto competition finalist:
Early polling has pretty much been vindicated. As of 3:11 pm and 412 comments into the voting thread, it’s motto number 5 (“Our Worst Critics Prefer to Stay”) by a crushing margin. Voting is still open for another day or so, but I’d be surprised to see any real sea-change.
My own entry, “You Should See the Other Guy”, is in distant forth with a signficant (but, considering the small absolute numbers, not quite comfortable) lead on the fifth place motto.
The fifth place motto is about bacon. I’m not sure how to feel, here.
Of the first 412 comments in the voting thread, 390 had clear statements of preference for one (or more — one voter declared a dead split on #2 and #5) of the five finalists. The remaining comments were discussion and/or suggestions of write-in candidates (both originals and favored mottos from the original thread).
From those 390 first-place votes, the numbers break down thus:
1 – 16.2% (63/390)
2 – 7.6% (29.5)
3 – 28.2% (110)
4 – 4.1% (16)
5 – 44.0% (171.5)
Allow for rounding error on those percentages. The half points on 2 and 5 are from the split vote mentioned above.
So #5 by a mile, right now, with #3 comfortably in second and #1 holding third. A bacon uprising could hurt my chances for forth.
Some voters allowed for second (and third, fourth, and fifth) choices; #3 and #5 split the lead for runner-up with 5.5 votes each, while #1 has 4. I’m tied with #4 at 1 vote each, here. Motto #1 got the most 3rd place votes; #4 leads on 4th place votes; and my own #2 has the honor of winning (slimly) the most explicit fifth place votes.
There were a few comments that non-numerically expressed an explicit dislike, and even an explicit most disliked status, for specific mottos, but I didn’t tabulate those into the results as it seemed a bit too fuzzy.
Of the 390 votes tallied, a significant minority came with some amount of commentary. I noted all the comments that were substantial (that is, more than e.g. “definitely #x” or “#y FTW” or “I like #z”); while I haven’t done an explict count, an eyeball estimate puts the distribution of rationales as similar to that for votes themselves. The variation in the content, length, and theme of various motto votes’ rationales is interesting, though. There are too many in total to quote, but I’ll note some examples here:
#1 – The Most Gentle Empire So Far
“Speaking for the rest of the world dependance on a generally benign, pragmatic, or apathetic economic superpower is preferable to domination by a grumpier one.”
“ha.. for us living outside USA the pick would be Number 1 by far..though I´m not so sure about the gentle part…”
“Can you imagine what Rome would have done in the current situation? Think about that Chavez.”
2. You Should See the Other Guy
“I think #2 is by far the most honest, but I suppose most of the people voting are probably americans…”
“I vote for #2. Anyone voting for #5 must be thinking of the inmates at Guantanamo, but they don’t actually have any choice in the matter, so “prefer to stay” is a euphemism”
“I voted for #2, and have been watching how unpopular it is. Maybe I voted for it because I’m Brazilian, and have an outsider’s POV.”
3. Caution! Experiment in Progress Since 1776
“I hear comments about the “ongoing democratic experiment” from people of all political stripes.”
“We may not be perfect, but for 230+ years, this experiment is the best the world has ever seen!”
“(I’m a scientist)”
4. Just Like Canada, With Better Bacon
“I love bacon!”
“Anyone who mentions bacon has the inside track to my heart!”
“cuz I’m Canadian and we seem to define ourselves in relation to the USA (despite the schadenfreude and other psychological nastiness that the definition causes).”
5. Our Worst Critics Prefer to Stay
“it both encapulates the the fact that america is a pretty decent place, but also that it is not quite perfect and could use improvement. it reafirms that many internal critics of america have a fundamental respect and appreciation for it, and as such a critic i deeply respect that.”
“It is true because its better to be on a bully’s side.”
“If #5 doesn’t run away with this, I will move to Canada. Wait…”