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Published August 12, 2017 | Published
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A New Approach for Modeling Strategic Voting in Multiparty Elections


Whether voters vote strategically, using their vote to best further their interests, or vote sincerely, voting for their first choice among the alternatives, is a question of long-standing interest. We offer two innovations in searching for the answer to this question. First, we begin with a more consistent model of sincere voting in multiparty democratic systems than has been presented in the literature to date. Second, we incorporate new operationalizations of the objective potential for strategic behavior than have been used in the past. We offer a test of strategic voting in the 1987 British General Election based on the variance in strategic setting across constituencies in Britain. We allow voters to use available information in deciding whether or not to cast a strategic vote. We estimate a lower level of strategic voting than many other methods have estimated. We also demonstrate that the use of self-reported vote motivation causes errors in estimating the amount of strategic voting, and that this problem is exacerbated the further from the election the self-report is obtained.

Additional Information

This is one of many papers by the authors; the ordering of names reflects alphabetic convention. Alvarez's work was supported by the National Science Foundation through SBR-9709327; Nagler's work was supported by the National Science Foundation through SBR-9413939 and SBR-9709214. We thank Jonathan Katz and Guy Whitten for supplying helpful data for this project. We also thank Gary Cox, Jonathan Katz, Gary King and Burt Monroe for discussions of this subject. Last, we thank Shaun Bowler for his work with us on a related project. A previous version of this paper was presented at the Annual Meetings of the Midwest Political Science Association, April 1997. Published as Alvarez, R.M., & Nagler, J. (2000). A new approach for modelling strategic voting in multiparty elections. British Journal of Political Science, 30(1), 57-75.

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