Plurality vs Majority: Difference and Comparison

After the election is over, everyone is waiting for the result to see who is the winner. By how many votes were won and what was the number of votes of the candidates?

Everyone is curious to know all these things. Whatever the result, either by plurality or by the majority, he elects the winning candidate who is the winner.

Thus, these two words have great importance in the choice, so it is considered very important to know the difference between them. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Plurality refers to the largest number of votes, but less than half, while Majority refers to more than half of the votes.
  2. Plurality can result in a tie if there are only two candidates, while Majority requires at least three candidates.
  3. Plurality is used in some voting systems, while Majority is used in most voting systems.

Plurality vs Majority

In an election, plurality is the scenario where the candidate with the most votes wins even if they do not have the majority of votes. This term is used in the USA. Majority in an election refers to the scenario in which a candidate receives more than half of the total votes to win an election. It is a term used in the UK.

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Plurality vs Majority

The plurality system is considered a simple means of obtaining the result of an election.

To win an election, a candidate needs a large majority of the votes he has. According to the majority formula, it is not necessary to have more votes than the combined opposition.

The number of people standing as candidates in a constituency is won by a minority.

Under the majority system, any party or candidate with more than 50 percent of the votes is awarded to the contesting party of that constituency.

Any candidate who gets an absolute majority does not apply where there are two or more candidates, and there is dissatisfaction. Several majority formulas have been developed to solve this.

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonPluralityMajority
DefinitionPlurality is a noun, which is like the majority which is more than half. In voting and election, plurality means “the number of votes obtained by one candidate is greater than the number of votes obtained by all other candidates”.The majority is a noun meaning “the highest part or more than half of the total number.” In the context of voting or election, it refers to the total number of votes obtained by a candidate which constitutes more than half of the total number of votes. 
Origin wordThis word plurality originated from the Middle English word pluralite which comes from the French and Latin word plūrālitās.The word majority is derived from the Medieval Latin word Majoritas. 
First recorded in Plurality was first recorded in 1325-75.The word majority was first recorded in the middle of 1545–55.
CountryThe term plurality is mostly used in the United States.The word majority is mostly used in the United Kingdom. 
ExampleAndrew won the class head election with 45% which was more than other candidates.Ali won the school president election with 75% of the vote share.

What is Plurality?

Plurality is a noun which is like the majority, which is more than half. If we talk about voting, plurality means “the number of votes obtained by one candidate is greater than the number of votes obtained by all other candidates”.

This means that whichever candidate wins a plurality, if compared with other candidates, will have a higher number of votes than others but not necessarily a majority.

Overall it refers to the excess of votes received by the leading candidate. 

The plurality system is considered a simple means of obtaining the result of an election. To win an election, a candidate needs a large majority of the votes he has;

According to the majority formula, it is not necessary to have more votes than the combined opposition. The number of people standing as candidates in a constituency is won by a minority.

Plurality was first recorded in 1325-75. This word originated from the Middle English word plurality, which comes from the French and Latin word plūrālitās. In the early stages, the term was mostly used in the United States.

For example, Obama won the plurality for the college union leader with 45%, while Kenndy came with 30% and Donald with 25%. Obama did not get more than 50% of support but still, he won the union leader election.

plurality

What is the Majority?

The majority is a noun meaning “the highest part or more than half of the total number.”

In the context of voting or election, it refers to the total number of votes obtained by a candidate, which constitutes more than half of the total number of votes. It refers to the party with the majority.

Under the majority system, any party or candidate with more than 50 percent of the votes is awarded to the contesting party of that constituency.

Any candidate who gets an absolute majority does not apply where there are two or more candidates and there is dissatisfaction. Several majority formulas have been developed to solve this.

The word Majority is an old word that is derived from the Medieval Latin word Majoritas. The term was first recorded in the middle of 1545–55.

Since then, it has been used regularly. This term was mostly used in the context of voting and elections.

Henry Watson Fowler was the first American who suggested this name for election purposes. He gave an alternative name, and that is the relative majority which means “receiving the most votes”.  

For Example, Donald was thrilled to win the majority of votes for the presidential election even after losing the popular vote.

majority

Main Differences Between Plurality and Majority 

  1. Plurality means the highest number or the greatest number whereas the majority means 50% or more than 50%.
  2. Plurality was first recorded in 1325-75, whereas the word majority was first recorded in the middle of 1545–55.
  3. This word plurality originated from the Middle English word pluralite which comes from the French and Latin word plūrālitās, whereas the word majority is derived from the Medieval Latin word Majoritas. 
  4. The term plurality was mostly used in the United States, whereas the word majority was mostly used in the United Kingdom. 
  5. Plurality win is only considered for a single constituency if the candidate does not have the majority, whereas for the party (The Democratic or The Republican)  to win, they must have a majority.
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/026137949390040Q
  2. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/BF00134212.pdf
  3. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0010414094027003001

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