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Defections from Parties: Tactical Voting, Split Voting and Protest Voting Eva-Maria Otto.

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Presentation on theme: "Defections from Parties: Tactical Voting, Split Voting and Protest Voting Eva-Maria Otto."— Presentation transcript:

1 Defections from Parties: Tactical Voting, Split Voting and Protest Voting Eva-Maria Otto

2 1. Definitions Tactical Voting – Someone who votes for another party (or party candidate) other than their most preferred one if he or she expects to be more likely to influence the outcome of this election than by casting a sincere vote.

3 1. Definitions Split Voting – In a electoral system in which voters have two votes, they can decide to cast a Straight ticket: giving both votes to the same party OR Split ticket: giving their votes to two different parties Protest Voting – Voters reacting against specific policies or failures of their natural parties rather than being positively attracted to another party (Heath et al., 1985: 113)

4 2. Tactical Voting Assumptions – The literature on tactical voting agrees that institutional incentives are the driving force that spurs tactical voting – Duverger: Political consequences of electoral systems Mechanical effect: how electoral systems affect the way votes are transformed into seats affect the outcome Psychological effect: how the electoral system affect voters choice affect the vote

5 2. Tactical Voting – Voters have rational expectations about electoral outcomes – Voters are servants of two masters: Their preferences and Their expectations –Politicaly aware and informed voters: discussions and pre- election polls –Voters who do not follow the campaign: previous elections

6 2.1. Plurality system Mechanical effect – Single Member Plurality systems under- representation of minor parties Psycological effect – Voters reactions to this systematic under- representation

7 2.1. Plurality system Wasted-vote hypothesis Supporters of parties that are likely to come third (or worse) in a local constituency would do better to cast their vote for whichever of the top two parties they find more acceptable instead of wasting their vote if they vote for their preference Especially when the race between the top two parties is close Do you think this is only true for smaller party supporters (e.g. Liberal Democrats supporters)?

8 2.2 Mixed electoral system Germany – Two votes Candidate Vote (Erststimme): the electorate vote for a candidate in single member districts and the victor is determined by a simply plurality casts the first half of MdBs List Vote: (Zweitstimme) vote for the list of a Land party and elects the other half of MdBs (Members of the Bundetag), which are elected in such a way that the total number of seats which a party receives including any constituency seat won is proportional to its percentage share of such list votes. This gives the system a proportional represention component. – Threshold: 5% – Parties and Coalitions SPD (major party) and Greens (smaller party) CDU (major party) and FDP (smaller party)

9 2.2 Mixed electoral system Mechanical effect – Mixed electoral systems tendency to let more than two parties be represented in the Parliament Psyciological effect – Voters reactions to possible coalition formations

10 2.2. Mixed electoral system Influence of electoral rules on how voters behave – Wasted-vote hypothesis The closer the district race, the more likely small party supporters are to cast a strategic candidate vote. – Coalitions-insurance hypothesis If major party supporters are unsure about the expectations whether or not the smaller coalitions partner will be represented in parliament and the higher their tendency to desert their most preferred party, the more likely they are to cast a strategic list vote. Under which system is tactical voting more likely: the plurality or mixed electoral system?

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12 2.2. Mixed electoral system Voters proclivity to vote strategically – Motivations hypothesis The weaker the voters partisanship, the more strongly motivated they are to split their ticket – Capability Hypothesis The higher the voters level of political sophistication, the more likely they are to cast a strategic vote Does that mean that tactical voting will increase in the future?

13 2.3. PR electoral system Israel – One Vote: The unicameral Knesset is elected via a single, nation-wide district under proportional representation – Threshold: 2% – 2006 Israeli election It was quite clear that the major centre party Kadima would win a plurality of the seats and serve as a senior partner in a multi-member government It was unclear which smaller party would join the coalition (unlike the German case)

14 2.3. PR electoral system Coalition Hypothesis – When voters perceive membership in the coalition to be out of reach for their preferred small party they desert it and instead endorse the lesser of the evils among those parties (ideologically nearest party) they perceive as potential coalition members – Extension of Duvergerian logic: not party entry into parliament, but party entry into government Do you think that there will be a lot of tactical voting in this case, because there are many small parties and the outcome is difficult to predict?

15 3. Split Voting Different meanings of split voting in different electoral systems – US: selecting candidates of different parties for different types of offices (e. g. voting for a Democratic president and for a Republican senator and/or representative) – Bicameral parliamentary systems in which elections for both houses are held on the same day: voting for different parties for the two houses – Mixed electoral systems: split ticket for members of the same house

16 3. Split Voting Reasons for split voting – Special preference for a viable constituency candidates of another party – Wasted vote hypothesis: voters may see no chance of winning for their most preferred candidate tactical – Coalition Insurance strategy: voting support a particular coalition – Voters misunderstand the relative importance of the respective votes

17 3. Split Voting Difference between split voting and tactical voting – Tactical Voting: Comparison of party preference and vote intention or decision – Split Voting: Comparison of first and second vote Two forms of tactical voting are sufficient conditions of split ticket voting, but there are other causes

18 3. Split Voting Germany – Small party voters (according to second vote) desert their constituency candidates more in favour of large- party candidates than do large-party voters the other way around especially FDP voters – Random splitting: other vote combinations than CDU/FDP or SPD/Greens Attractive candidates: this is only the case for the Left party, which won some Berlin constituencies 1990 survey: 50% were unable to answer the question which of the two votes is the party vote Ticket splitting has increased in Germany over the time: In % of the voters split their ticket

19 What do you think the main reason is for the increasing split voting in Germany (e. g. weaker partisanship, voters do not understand the system etc.)?

20 4. Protest Voting Dissatisfied voters have two options – Protest voting Lack of a genuinely preferred alternative (especially in Plurality systems) Signal their disaffection from their normal first- preference party – Abstention

21 4. Protest Voting Theoretical backround – Rational Choice (Downs) Protest voting is irrational When voters are disaffected with their first- preference choice, they will be more likely to abstain considering the cost of voting If voters no longer prefer party A but instead rank party B higher, then protest voting disappears in favour of a simple switch of alignments

22 4. Protest Voting – Alternative approch (Dunleavy and Margetts) Individuals define an appropiate aspiration level against which to judge their involvement, continuing to participate if this level is achieved, and dropping out if it is not. Do you think that decreasing in turnout in Western countries and the formation of new extremist parties like the Lefts in Germany or the New Zealand First are signals for an increasing in dissatisfied voters?

23 5. Conclusion Tactical Voting – The character of tactical voting differs between different electoral systems and the circumstances of each individual election – The more proportional a system is the less motivation there is for voters to cast a strategic vote

24 5. Conclusion Split Voting – The character of split voting also differs between different electoral systems – Tactical voting can be one reason for a voter to split their ticket, but there are other reasons too – The increasing in split voting in Germany is mostly due to easing behavioural norms of partisans, not partisan declinement in general

25 5. Conclusion Protest Voting – The character of Protest Voting also differs between different electoral systems – Dissatisfied voters have the choice between protest voting (voting for extremist parties) and abstention (lowers the turnout)

26 The End Thank you very much for your attention!


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