Polls, coalitions signals, and strategic voting : an experimental investigation of perceptions and effects

Meffert, Michael F. ; Gschwend, Thomas

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URL: https://madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/2505
URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-25054
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2007
The title of a journal, publication series: Rationalitätskonzepte, Entscheidungsverhalten und ökonomische Modellierung
Volume: 07-63
Place of publication: Mannheim
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Law and Economics > Sonstige - Fakultät für Rechtswissenschaft und Volkswirtschaftslehre
MADOC publication series: Sonderforschungsbereich 504 > Rationalitätskonzepte, Entscheidungsverhalten und ökonomische Modellierung (Laufzeit 1997 - 2008)
Subject: 320 Political science
Subject headings (SWD): Wahlverhalten , Strategie , Meinung , Koalition , Wahrnehmung , Test
Abstract: The paper investigates how poll information and coalition signals affect strategic voting, defined as casting a vote for a party other than the most preferred party to better influence the election outcome. In particular if the outcome of an election is perceived to be close, voters in multi-party systems with proportional representation and coalition governments should have an incentive to cast a vote for the party that best influences the formation of the next government. The study focuses in particular on voters’ attention to and perception of polls and coalition signals sent by parties before elections. The study used an innovative design that embedded a laboratory experiment in two real election campaigns, allowing the manipulation of poll results and coalition signals in a realistic environment. The findings suggest that political sophistication plays a crucial role for the accurate perception of polls and strategic voting. Coalition signals are found to have a surprisingly strong effect on (apparently) strategic voting.
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