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Rational Voters and Strategic Voting: Evidence from the 1968, 1980, and 1992 Elections

Ordeshook, Peter C. and Zeng, Langche (1997) Rational Voters and Strategic Voting: Evidence from the 1968, 1980, and 1992 Elections. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 9 (2). pp. 167-187. ISSN 0951-6298. doi:10.1177/0951692897009002002.

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Is the rational-choice paradigm more than a mere tautology when applied to the study of voting or can it generate refutable propositions that cannot be deduced or inferred from other approaches? This is the question we address empirically in the context of three-candidate presidential elections. Although we reconfirm the conclusion that the decision to vote is largely a consumptive one, we also establish that once in the voting booth, voters act strategically in precisely the ways predicted by a Downsian model of voting. That is, although expected-utility calculations and the like and little to our understanding of the decision to vote, those same calculations have a significant influence on the decision for whom to vote, over and above such factors as partisanship.

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Additional Information:© 1997 SAGE Publications. Paper submitted 5 May 1995; accepted for publication 9 May 1996. We would like to thank Thomas Palfrey. Morgan Kousser and Rod Kiewiet for their encouragement of this research and their suggestions, and we would especially like to acknowledge Keith Poole, not only for his comments and suggestions, but also for his assistance in organizing data from the national ICPSR election studies in an especially useful way.
Subject Keywords:elections; rationality; strategies; voting
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170830-140814512
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Official Citation:Rational Voters and Strategic Voting Peter C. Ordeshook, Langche Zeng Journal of Theoretical Politics Vol 9, Issue 2, pp. 167 - 187 10.1177/0951692897009002002
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:80977
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:30 Aug 2017 21:18
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 19:40

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