Electoral Studies

Published by Elsevier
Online ISSN: 0261-3794
Publications
Voter perceptions of MP behaviour.
Constituent perceptions and vote choice.
Voter perceptions of whether MPs claimed excessive expenses. a. Did not vote for MP and does not identify with MP's party. b. Did vote for MP and does identify with MP's party. Note: Based on Model 3, Table 2. Panel (a) holds 2005 vote for MP and party identification with MP's party at ‘no’, panel (b) at ‘yes’. All other variables held at their means (continuous variables) or modes (indicator variables).
Perceptions of misconduct and vote choice. Note: Based on Model 10, Table 4. Panel (a) holds 2005 vote for MP and party identification with MP's party at ‘no’, panel (b) at ‘yes’. All other variables held at their means (continuous variables) or modes (indicator variables).
Article
This paper examines electoral accountability after the 2009-10 UK expenses scandal. Existing research shows that Members of Parliament (MPs) implicated in the scandal fared only marginally worse in the election than non-implicated colleagues. This lack of electoral accountability for misconduct could have arisen either because voters did not know about their representative's wrongdoing or because they chose not to electorally sanction them. We combine panel survey data with new measures of MP implication in the expenses scandal to test where electoral accountability failed. We find that MP implication influenced voter perceptions of wrongdoing more than expected. In contrast, constituents were only marginally less likely to vote for MPs who were implicated in the scandal. Electoral accountability may therefore be constrained even when information about representative misconduct is easily available and clearly influences voter perceptions.
 
Article
One important catalyst for the onset of the Civil War was the Presidential Election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Lincoln, competing against three other candidates, won the election with the smallest percentage of the popular vote in American history. Given the circumstances, a slightly different electoral slate might have engineered his defeat. We examine this possibility by focusing on the candidacy of John C. Breckinridge, the final entrant into the race. Historians disagree over the rationale behind Breckinridge's candidacy. Some argue that it was a desperate effort to defeat Lincoln; others suggest that it was designed to insure Lincoln's victory. Using election counterfactuals and applying spatial voting theory, we examine these arguments. Our evidence suggests that Breckinridge had no reasonable chance to win. Support for Breckinridge's candidacy was only reasonable if the intention were to elect Lincoln.
 
Article
This article examines theoretical and historical issues raised by Donald Stokes's classic 1960s articles on “Party Loyalty and the Likelihood of Deviating Elections,” “On the Existence of Forces Restoring Party Competition,” and “Parties and the Nationalization of Electoral Forces.” I use presidential election returns from 1868 to 1996 and a simple regression model to measure partisan, national, and sub-national forces in each election. My analysis suggests that the contemporary American electoral system is significantly more nationalized than the electoral system of a century ago, but no less partisan, no more volatile, and no less subject to competitive reequilibration.
 
Article
We review a number of different statistical techniques for creating seats-votes curves and apply the most reliable of these to estimate seats-votes relationships in the US electoral college 1900–1992. We consider the now rejected claim, once firmly established as part of the common journalistic and even academic wisdom, that the US Electoral College has recently been strongly biased in favor of Republicans, and show that this claim was based largely on a confusion between bias (asymmetry in the electoral college gains earned by the votes received by different parties or candidates) and swing ratio (responsiveness of change in electoral college seat share to change in popular vote). Although there has been substantial bias during this century in the way the electoral college translates Democratic and Republican votes into electoral college seats, and for the earlier party of this century (from 1900 to 1940) that bias has been in favor of Republicans, to explain why many recent electoral college majorities have been so lopsided we must look not at bias but at swing ratio.
 
Article
“If turnout was 100%, would it affect the election result?” is a frequently asked research question. So far, the question has been primarily answered regarding the changes in the distribution of votes. This article extends the analysis to changes in the distribution of seats and government formation. It therefore proposes a method that factors in apportionment methods, election threshold, sizes of parliaments, leverage of nonvoters, closeness of election results, and individual characteristics of nonvoters. The method is then applied to German national elections from 1949 to 2009. The application shows that Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) would have gained from the counterfactual participation of nonvoters, although usually not enough to result in a government change. However, the elections of 1994 and 2005 show evidence that such a change could have happened.
 
Article
The level of income tax has been an important campaigning issue in every election in Britain since 1950, and the tax record of government is widely held by politicians to be a determining factor in electoral outcomes. Political scientists, on the other hand, generally dismiss these views, and argue instead that taxation has not had a significant influence on voting behaviour in Britain. We examine the background to these divergent opinions, and show that they are based on inappropriate data about the incidence of income tax. We construct new time-series data on income tax trends for different income levels and household types, and then conduct statistical tests for any relationship between these tax data and election results. We show that there is no relationship between changes in the standard (or basic) rate of income tax and election results, but that there is a clear link at the aggregate level between the effective (or average) tax rate and electoral outcomes – an increase in the effective tax rate is associated with electoral defeat. We thus conclude that political scientists have been too ready to dismiss the perceptions of politicians that electoral behaviour is influenced by changes in income tax.
 
Article
Eve-of-election polls in Britain have a reasonably good track record in predicting the outcome of the ensuing general election. Over the 1945–1997 period the average error in estimating parties' vote share was roughly 2 percentage points. Where UK pollsters — unsurprisingly — have encountered the most difficulty has been in estimating the size of the vote share gap between the first- and second-placed parties. The average error in estimating this gap between 1945 and 1997 was 3.2 points. This is clearly enough, in a close contest, significantly to impair the pollsters' ability to identify the winning party — though the paper shows that the closeness of the contest does not affect the accuracy of the pollsters' estimates. The paper considers the extent to which British voters, in response to published opinion polls, have engaged in either bandwagoning or anti-bandwagoning behaviour. It finds that anti-bandwagoning is far more common in Britain than bandwagoning. The paper also explores the extent to which statistical models of government support might improve politicians' abilities to forecast party support in the run-ups to elections. It finds that, given the information available to Prime Ministers at the time they make decisions to call elections, a long-term autoregressive model provides more accurate forecasts of government support than simple forward projections of support in the months preceding elections.
 
Article
Though the German electoral system has provided the opportunity of split-ticket voting since 1953, until now there has only been mere speculation concerning the rationality of ticket-splitting. In this paper we examine the rationality thesis empirically, using data provided by the official representative electoral statistics of the Federal Republic. Modifying the Downsian notion of rational voting, rational ticket-splitting is defined in terms of coalition building and of voters' expectations of the electoral success of candidates and parties. Applying this conceptual framework, it will be shown that the combinations of first and second votes actually chosen by a majority of the German electorate can rather be conceived of as a product of accident than of tactical considerations.
 
Article
In light of the notorious “frontloading” phenomenon in U.S. presidential nominating elections, this paper examines the relationship between state political culture and state primary scheduling, for the purpose of understanding how differences in institutionalized community values may have affected the equity with which democratic voice has been distributed in modern presidential nominations. Using stratified event history analyses of nomination campaign schedules from 1972 to 2000, we find that “moralistic” states tend to schedule primary dates earlier in the campaign season than do individualistic or (especially) traditionalistic states, particularly in states with more ideologically liberal elites. Moreover, this tendency toward frontloading among moralistic states becomes more dramatic as racial homogeneity increases relative to other states. These results disturbingly reveal that the democratic voices of racial minorities have often been muffled under the modern institution of presidential nominations.
 
Article
Recent evidence regarding voters' (low) levels of economic knowledge poses a worrying problem for popularity functions which seek to model the effects of the macro-economy on patterns of party support. If voters are largely ignorant of economic facts, how can economic conditions apparently affect parties' electoral fortunes? The paper argues that although voters may have only a hazy factual knowledge about the state of the economy, their overall sense of macro-economic improvement and decline is remarkably acute and that it is this general sense of improvement or decline that matters electorally. Consistent with recent arguments about ‘reasoned choice’, voters do not need to know precise ‘economic facts’ in order to make reasonably well-informed judgements about the state of the economy—judgements which in turn exert a powerful influence on their party political preferences. This conclusion is strongly supported by aggregate-level evidence relating to British voters over the period 1974–97.
 
Article
A new election law was passed by the National People's Congress in 1979 to replace the 1953 law. This law extended direct elections to the county level people's congresses, and also introduced the practice of multiple candidates for each seat. This reform is part of the general trend towards increased stress on legality and democracy in the People's Republic of China. The new election system has led to an elaborate complex of unequal representation in favor of urban areas at the expense of the peasantry. National minorities also have greater representation than their actual numbers would warrant. The structure and functions of election comittees, election districts, local congresses and government, and small voters' groups are examined. Specific conditions in several localities are also described.
 
Article
This paper studies the number of political parties in the Spanish Autonomous Communities in the period 1980–2000 as the outcome of the combination of the permissiveness of the electoral systems and the heterogeneity of the societies. The differences in the number of parties between the Autonomous Communities are more related to the intensity of the regional cleavage than to the permissiveness of the electoral systems. In any case, the addition of these two variables instead of their multiplicative interaction, is the best predictor of the number of competitors in each Community. That is, an Autonomous Community may have a large number of parties either because it maintains an intense cleavage activated by the political elites or because the electoral system is very permissive.
 
Article
The 1980s saw a dramatic effort on the part of the Thatcher government in Britain to create a new Conservative electorate. Several policies, including Right to Buy—the sale of council housing to residents—were aimed at giving workers and swing voters a material stake in an anti-socialist capitalist system and therefore a reason to support the Conservative Party. This analysis finds the council house sales policy was a success, even when controlling for other changes in Britain's socio-economic structure during the period. The aggregate-level electoral impact of the sales program is larger than that found using survey data, and was enough to ensure the Conservative victory in 1992.
 
Article
Do individuals conceal their voting intentions? If so, why? In this article the author attempts to answer both these questions through a case study of declared voting intentions for the two main Spanish political parties in the 1980s. His analysis shows that the distribution of the hidden vote has not remained constant over time. Whereas in the early 1980s conservative voters were more likely not to disclose their vote, later in the decade a number of decisions taken by the Socialist government led some leftwing voters to hide their partisan preferences from pollsters.
 
Article
Elections to the ‘eleventh convocation’ of the USSR Supreme Soviet took place on 4 March 1984. The process by which the elections took place is examined in detail, from the calling of the election on 16 December 1983, through the nomination, approval and registration of the candidates, to the pre-election meetings with constituents and the poll itself. The level of turnout (99.99 per cent) and the vote in favour of the single list of candidates (99.94 and 99.95 per cent respectively for the two chambers) were in each case the highest in Soviet history; they must, however, be adjusted for the use of ‘absentee certificates’ and an apparent increase in the number of citizens not recorded on the electoral register. Elections without choice, as in the USSR. are not necessarily elections without political significance. Soviet elections appear in fact to perform at least three important functions: legitimation; political communication between regime and citizenry; and political mobilization and socialization. Given the increasing economic difficulties they are likely to face in the later 1980s and beyond, the Soviet authorities may be expected to make even more use of such mechanisms in the future in order to secure acceptance of their decisions without resort to overtly coercive means.
 
Article
Economic voting may be understood at three levels: (i) a reduced form obtained by the responsibility hypothesis; (ii) a middle level using a measure of voters' economic evaluation; (iii) the full Pandora's Box of economic evaluations, connecting the economy to the vote. We explore (iii) using a rich data set covering most variables of the economic evaluation complex. This allows us to estimate a rather full VAR-model of the economic evaluation complex. These estimates are used for an assessment of the causal structure. However, only unreasonable causal links appear in the general confluence. The choice of model thus hinges crucially upon the imposition of a set of restrictions. They have to be chosen from common sense and theory.
 
Article
In recent years, thinking about the American Presidential primaries has been dominated by the image of Carter's victory in 1976. Conventional widsom in the eighties has advised presidential candidates to focus on the early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, and to at least match, or better yet, exceed the expectations that the press, pollsters, and pundits have for them in those states. The successful campaign, it was thought, had to force the competition out by the end of March in order to lock up the nomination before the convention.1 This common wisdom — the so-called ‘momentum theory’ — will now have to be revised as a result of what happened in the 1988 primaries. While one candidate from each party did eventually emerge victorious in 1988, no one followed the Carter script as closely as expected. The Democratic race was not clearly resolved until Dukakis managed consecutive victories over Jackson in Wisconsin (5 April), New York (19 April) and Pennsylvania (26 April). On the Republican side, even though the race was over after Super Tuesday, the conventional ‘momentum’ story was still married by the odd — and in the end, meaningless — outcome in Iowa Republican caucuses. Bush exceeded expectations in Iowa, but in a negative direction, and both Dole and Robertson were unable to convert their successes into any advantage in New Hampshire and the South.
 
Article
The rather sudden up- and down-swing of Green Party support in Britain is analysed with the help of time-series and cross-sectional data. A combination of different cycles, namely issue-attention, economic, and electoral cycles, provided a political framework in which green support could rise but was destined to fall again. The effects on the variations of support in time are supported by individual level data which show that the 1989 green vote was an environmental protest vote that did not lead to any realignment of party allegiances. However, there is strong evidence that the Green Party has many potential supporters, and that there is a Green-Liberal Democrat ‘axis’ of voting choice to supplement the main Labour-Conservative dimension.
 
Article
This study presents a spatial analysis of the 1989 Chilean presidential election. The Chilean election witnessed the military regime of Augusto Pinochet transfer power to the elected government of Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin. I use survey data to estimate a Euclidian map that places voters, candidates, leading political figures and political parties in the same electoral space. The spatial map and multinomial probit analysis of voter choice clarify bases of candidate and party support, extent of voter polarization and the relationship between the pre and post authoritarian eras. The probit estimates confirm the importance of voters' views toward the military regime and spatial proximity in voter choice.
 
Article
Rabinowitz' directional model of issue voting is tested on the basis of data about the November 1991 parliamentary elections in Flanders. The directional and the intensity components of the parties' issue profiles are mapped by means of a survey amongst the candidates, while the bipolar issue-scales of the Flemish election survey are used to measure the voters' attitudes. The scalar product measure, proposed by directional theory, has a significantly larger effect on the far right vote than the traditional Euclidean distance measure, but does not convincingly outperform the traditional measure in the other cases. An analysis of the interaction between issue voting and level of political sophistication shows that the directional measure tends to capture an issue effect on the vote of the less knowledgable part of the electorate, while the traditional measure does not. This finding indicates that the less sophisticated voter favours a party to the extent that he is excited about the issue on which the party adopts a strong profile, while the more sophisticated voter evaluates the parties on the basis of the positions they take on a wide array of issues.
 
Voting in 1992 by members of the BHPS sample in three-person households
Vote-switching by members of the BHPS survey between 1992 and 1997 in two-person households where both voted in the same way in 1992
MCMC estimates of two-level logistic model for Conservative voting 
Article
Most British electoral surveys collect data from individual respondents only, and obtain very little information about other members of their household. In so doing, they ignore what is likely to be one of the most important (and immediate) contexts within which political discussions and decision-making occur. One UK panel study—the BHPS—does collect information on all household members, however. Its data are deployed here to explore the amount of within- and between-household variation in voting at the 1992 and 1997 general elections, by household size and type. The findings show very high levels of within-household agreement and also, most importantly, within-household agreement on changes in voting behaviour between elections. Such findings have important implications for both the conduct of electoral surveys and the modelling of voting patterns.
 
Article
The general election in the Republic of Ireland, held on 25 November 1992, resulted in a spectacular success for the Labour Party, the largest of the three left wing parties in the Dáil, the National Assembly. The incumbent government party, Fianna Fáil, lost 9 seats and the main opposition party, Fine Gael, was reduced by 10. The result made a coalition government inevitable and, following extensive negotiations, Fianna Fáil and Labour formed a government on 12 January 1993. The result of the election is summarized in Table 1 (p. 182). The turnout, 68.5 per cent was the same as the previous election. The national swing from Fianna Fáil was 5.0 per cent.
 
Article
Voters' social networks are largely ignored as an aspect of their contextual milieux. Despite long-standing theoretical evocations of the conversation–conversion model in accounts of the neighbourhood effect, few analyses have considered the impact of actual conversations. The lacuna is addressed in this paper using panel survey data to look at vote and attitude change between the 1992 and 1997 British General Elections. Voters' contexts, as measured by their conversational milieux, were independent influences on both vote and attitude change over the period. Other things being equal, talking to a supporter of a particular party increased a respondent's chances of voting for that party (and decreased the chance of voting for its rivals), and of shifting his or her attitudes in the direction associated with the party.
 
Article
An interesting outcome of the 1992 South Korean National Assembly Election was the sudden rise of a new party based on a big business group. Setting up just two months before the legislative election, the Unification National Party (UNP) emerged as a strong third party from nowhere. The purpose of this article is to explore reasons behind the unexpected rise of its support. This article pays attention to the immobility of party choice under a plurality rule electoral system. Unlike existing research which has focused on the effects of personal voting and the constituency campaign, this article instead suggests that a newly established cleavage after democratization forced voters to make an unwilling choice between existing parties, ultimately helping the UNP's electoral breakthrough.
 
Article
Between 1993 and 1996 Russia underwent a rapid transition to the market and, through a number of electoral iterations, saw considerable development in its party system, in particular the revival of support for the Communist Party. Each or all of these processes may have had important consequences for the character of social cleavages, especially those associated with class position. In this paper we consider the extent to which the relationship between social class and partisanship may have changed in Russia during this period, and how any such changes may be accounted for in terms of voters' experience of the consequences of marketisation, or as a result of broader developments. For this purpose we analyse data from three national random probability samples of the Russian population conducted in 1993, 1995, and 1996. Class effects on partisanship are found to have grown and there are marked and increasing differences in class-based experiences of marketisation. In and of themselves, these market experiences do not appear to fully explain the growth of class-based partisanship—for that purpose we need also to take into account voters' growing tendency over time to connect their market experience with their support for marketisation itself. Our conclusions emphasise therefore the importance of political learning to the evolution of social cleavages.
 
Article
This paper uses a case study of the 1993 Russian parliamentary elections to explore the influence of proportional representation and plurality electoral systems on party formation in a post-communist regime. The mixed PR-plurality electoral system used by Russia in the 1993 elections is a particularly useful case for such analysis for it allows the simultaneous study of these two electoral systems under the same set of social, economic, and cultural conditions. This study found that common emphasis placed on the number of parties allowed by PR versus plurality systems is misplaced in the context of Russian politics. The vital impact of electoral systems under post-communist conditions is their permeability to independent candidates. PR systems tend to impose party labels on the electorate and elites and thus bolster the status of parties as electoral agents. Plurality systems allow independents to compete on a level playing field with partisan candidates, robbing parties of the preferential treatment they need to get established in the initial years of democratic governance.
 
Article
Cross-pressures are social value-conflicts that affect individuals politically. The cross-pressures hypothesis insinuates that these value-conflicts have a passivating effect on voters. In this article I use data from the Finnish presidential election in 1994 and analyse four situations where voters should have experienced cross-pressures. The t-test is used in order to measure whether there is a significant difference in the electoral turnout between the cross-pressure municipalities and the rest of the municipalities. The results show that in one of the test cases cross-pressures have a passivating effect, whereas the hypothesis is falsified in three cases. Since the only verified test case represents a situation where neither of the candidates was evaluated positively by the voters in the context, the results imply that negative cross-pressures passivate voters.
 
Article
The 1995 Turkish parliamentary election was held almost under the conditions of a controlled experiment. The unique cross-section data pertaining to this election is utilized to study the voter behavior in Turkey. Turkish voters are found to take government's economic performance into account but not look back beyond 1 year. A poor performance is found to benefit the extremist opposition parties at the expense of the major incumbent party. The minor incumbent and the centrist opposition parties appear to be unaffected by economic conditions. Voters also exhibit a tendency to vote against the parties holding power. The party preferences of Turkish voters depend on their socioeconomic characteristics as well.
 
Article
High levels of split ticket voting in elections usually indicate either an instrumental electorate, or widespread disaffection from the major parties. Elections to the Russian lower house, the Duma, permit voters both party list options and single-member ballots; as a result, the 1993 and 1995 Duma elections recorded some of the highest levels of split ticket voting ever recorded. Using national survey data collected just after the 1995 Duma election, we test two major explanations for split ticket voting, one based on the activities of voters, the other on the strategic behaviour of parties. The results show that split ticket voting is caused by voters, and more specifically, by their weak attachments to parties. But party strategy also plays a modest role in promoting the phenomenon. In the absence of major reform of the Russian electoral system, split ticket voting is likely to remain at high levels.
 
Article
On the basis of the National election study 1995, it becomes for the first time possible to study the behavior of voters in the elections to the Council of State—the second chamber of Swiss parliament. These data allow a comparison of the behavior of voters in ten different cantons who are faced with substantially different electoral opportunity structures. Although the electoral system for these elections opens up many possibilities for individual choices based on preferences for personalities, the individual choices turn out to be highly prestructured by the configurations of the different cantonal party systems and the party preferences of the individual voters. Just as the voters in other countries, Swiss voters typically make straightforward choices. However, strategic voting turns out to be very widespread in the context of these elections, and to vary systematically as a function of the electoral opportunity structure.
 
Article
Local electoral systems in transitional polities can play a critical role in the growth and development of democratic governance. In this study, the impact of electoral system change at the subnational level in an African nation, Senegal, is examined. Senegal recently altered the electoral system it employs for the selection of its local and municipal councils. The mixed plurality-proportional system, favors the largest parties. It clearly introduced distortions between the distribution of voter support and seats on councils. These distortions are modified by the proportional part of the vote which provides opportunities for smaller parties to obtain seats. The presence and impact of strategic entry and strategic voting, both in rural and urban areas is assessed.
 
Article
The role of the World Wide Web in the 1996 US election was analyzed from three perspectives: receiver, source, and effects. A test Web site was set up to provide political information, and the pattern of use indicates that users seemed more interested in seeking news than in deciding how to vote. An analysis of campaign characteristics and subsequent votes indicates that the higher the office being sought, the more likely a campaign is to have a supporting Web site, and that having a Web site was also associated, for one reason or another, with a statistically significant number of additional votes on the average.
 
Article
This paper examines the relationship between various dimensions of class and voting for the Australian Labor Party (ALP) at the 1996 election. It compares the traditional manual/nonmanual occupational class measure and the eight category version of Goldthorpe's schema used in Baxter et al. (1991). As well, it analyses interactions with class self-identification and a range of work-related variables and discusses the nature of politically relevant social cleavages at the election. The analyses are conducted within the framework of comprehensive multilevel models, incorporating a wide range of social-structural variables. One conclusion is that, although the Goldthorpe measure is superior to the traditional one, occupational class was not strongly related to voting in 1996. However, work-related variables in general were of most importance. Also, sectoral differences in voting were noticeable, with the results suggesting the existence of a state dependent voting bloc, whose interests can be seen as antagonistic to those of some of the ALP's traditional supporters. In relation to political aspects, I suggest that some of the ALP's policies while in government from 1983 to 1996 have resulted in long-term changes which worked to its disadvantage: one important consideration was its failure to reform the indirect tax system in a way that would have allowed for changes in the incidence of direct taxation. Nevertheless, class self-identification not only maintains a separate, independent influence on voting, but also has interactions with most work-related variables, and a number of other long-standing factors (trade union membership and religion, especially) continue to be of importance, suggesting that the size of the ALP's defeat in the election does not necessarily indicate long-term disadvantage.
 
Article
Assessments of the 1996 Russian presidential election have produced a cacophony of theories concerning the factors that led to Boris Yeltsin's victory over his second-round opponent, Gennaddii Zyuganov. As scholars have attempted to put the development of Russian elections into perspective, many have used this election as a means of unearthing the factors that may prove vital for the sustenance of democracy. Examining survey data collected in Russia during the spring of 1997 and comparing it with other pre- and post-election data, we find that the election can be understood as reflecting short term performance, candidate images and economic orientations rather than a profound referendum on the type of political system preferred by the Russian people.
 
Article
We report a meta-analysis of all polls published in the five-month period preceding the June 2, 1997 Canadian federal election. The perception that the Liberals were hurt by the early election call receives support from the polling data. Similarly, media claims that the Reform party ran a strong campaign are supported by a gradual increase in the party's standing during the pre-campaign and campaign periods. Our findings, however, contradict the view that the Conservatives' fortunes in the election were enhanced by Jean Charest's strong performance in the debates. As commonly reported in the media, the fortunes of the Bloc Québécois in Quebec declined gradually during the pre-campaign period and more precipitously after the election call. Contrary to media interpretations, we found that Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe's performance in the debates was not detrimental to his party's support, which levelled off after the French-language debate. Finally, we compare the polls with daily data from the 1997 Canadian National Election Study. We find that the two sources of data are in general agreement and argue that they are complementary.
 
Article
Two successive British general elections appear to have contradicted the conventional wisdom that the economy plays a determining role in election outcomes. It would nonetheless be premature to dismiss the electoral significance of economic factors in Britain altogether. The “subjective economy”—voters' economic perceptions—made an important contribution to the Conservative victory in 1992. The paper shows that the subjective economy continued to be important through to May 1997. Crucially, however, economic influences were strongly moderated and supplemented by political factors. The Exchange Rate Mechanism crisis of September 1992 crystalised a number of important doubts that voters already entertained about the Conservatives as competent economic managers. The Conservatives' loss of their longstanding reputation for competence in the immediate wake of the crisis opened up an electoral space which allowed politics to affect voters' electoral preferences on a scale not encountered since 1979. The Conservatives' failure to manage the aftermath of the ERM crisis inflicted serious and sustained damage on their electoral fortunes. Labour's political renewal under Tony Blair rendered the breach irreparable. Without the “feelgood factor” working in its favour, however, the Tory performance in May 1997 would have been even weaker than it actually was.
 
Article
There is a continuing debate among political scientists and commentators about the relevance of local party campaigns in influencing the vote in British general elections. We review that debate in the case of the 1997 British general election, and then go on to specify and estimate models of the influence of local campaigning on the constituency vote share for Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Conservatives in that election. In contrast to the Michigan studies, which have tended to emphasise long-term partisan and policy-related predispositions, the results of our analysis show that local campaigning, measured from surveys of local party members together with proxy variables based on constituency spending data, had a very important influence on the vote. The effects appear to be strongest for the Liberal Democrats, important for New Labour, and rather weak for the Conservatives. The findings are relevant for both debates about campaign effects in Britain and debates about the electoral–professional party model. The results imply that the image of the electoral–professional party as a well-organised ‘army’ that obeys commands from the centre is misleading when applied to understanding party election campaigns.
 
Article
Using panel surveys conducted in Great Britain before and after the 1997 general election, we examine the relationship between voting behavior and post-election economic perceptions. Drawing on psychological theories of attitude formation, we argue that those who voted for Labour and the Liberal Democrats perceived the past state of the British economy under the Tory government more negatively than they had prior to casting their ballot in the 1997 election. Similarly, we posit that Labour supporters would view the future state of the national economy under Labour more positively than they had before the election. This indicates that, contrary to many assumptions in the economic voting literature, voting behavior influences evaluations of the economy as voters seek to reduce inconsistencies between their vote choice and evaluations of the economy by bringing their attitudes in line with the vote they cast in the election. It also means that voters’ post-election economic perceptions are, at least in part, influenced by and thus endogenous to their vote choice. This finding has two major implications: first, cross-sectional models of economic voting are likely to overestimate the effect of economic perceptions on the vote. Second, the endogeneity of economic perceptions may compromise the quality of economic voting as a mechanism for democratic accountability.
 
Article
The parliamentary election in Singapore in January 1997 is examined, as is the particular electoral system (`the party block vote') which is found to be a central element in the electoral strategy of the ruling party, PAP. The functioning of this rare electoral system is, however, only one element in explaining how PAP has been able to win comfortable majorities in the House. The analysis contributes to the understanding of how a semi-democratic regime can stay in power. The political and electoral process in relation to the 1997 election is also analysed.
 
Article
In France, the Regional vote incontestably obeys national politico-economic determinants. It serves as a simple barometer for the central government. Our model, forecasting 17 regional presidencies out of 22, indicated very early (2 months before the election) that in several regions no obvious majority would emerge and that, despite the Right having a narrow majority, it would be weakened facing the Left and the National Front. Since 1986, the regional vote is supposed to provide a political legitimacy to the managers in charge of the regions; however, the voters do not act in accordance with local economic criteria. One deduces that, in reality France has not gone far with governmental decentralization, at least in comparison with its German or Spanish neighbors.
 
Article
The most prominent theories of electoral participation focus on the individual-level characteristics of citizens as the primary determinants of voter turnout. However, seeking to re-incorporate “politics” into the study of electoral participation, scholars have increasingly turned their attention toward the stimulus provided by political campaigns. A major point of emphasis within this research has been whether negative campaigns mobilize or demobilize citizens. Findings thus far have been mixed. We further this line of inquiry by conducting a broad-based study of the impact of state-level campaigns on individual voter turnout. Merging media market-level measures of television campaign advertising in US Senate elections with individual-level data from the 1998 National Election Study and the Voter Supplement File of the November 1998 Current Population Survey, we find strong support for a mobilization effect. We further demonstrate that the mobilization effect of these advertising campaigns results almost entirely from the volume of negative ads aired. Our results help to clarify the role of campaigns in general, and negative campaigning in particular, in bringing voters to the polls.
 
Article
The Constitutional Referendum of November 1999 saw Australians reject a republic and vote to retain the British Monarch as Australian Head of State. Multivariate analyses of data from the Australian Constitutional Referendum Survey were employed to examine the impact of social background, political and social movement leadership, political knowledge and political trust on the referendum vote. Younger, secular, highly educated and Labor partisans, and those who evaluated republican political and social movement leaders positively, were more likely to vote for constitutional change. Republican voting was stronger also, among those more trusting of politicians. The Yes vote was associated positively with higher cognitive skills and greater voter knowledge of political and constitutional issues, highlighting the salience of political education processes for the outcome of referenda.
 
Article
I argue, and test using data from the 2000 Mexican elections, the following assertions: perceptions of issue space condition the weights voters assign to policy stances and these perceptions in turn are affected by both individual and contextual variables. By perceptions of issue space I mean the choice candidates appear to offer on a given issue. The principal data I use come from the Mexico 2000 Panel Study; hypotheses are tested using multinomial logit and OLS analyses. The first set of results supports the thesis that perceptions of issue space condition the tendency for individuals to select leaders on the basis of select policy stances. The second set demonstrates that individual characteristics, structural constraints, and candidates' rhetorical strategies (the latter mediated by partisan leanings) all affect perceptions of issue space. Combined, these findings have important implications for understanding voting behavior in young and old democracies alike.
 
Article
The emergence of mixed-member electoral systems across the globe has been an attempt to balance local representation through single-member districts (SMD) with programmatic representation through proportional representation lists (PR). However, there are several competing theoretical interpretations for the consequences of mixed systems on legislative bodies. Through a study of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, I test several empirical implications of these competing theories by examining the impact of the electoral system on party discipline, participation, and legislative organization. I find little convincing evidence of differences between legislators elected through PR and those elected through SMD in their levels of party discipline, but I do find that PR legislators participate in a manner theoretically consistent with their mode of election. I also find that PR legislators have disproportionate control over key leadership positions. I suggest the primary reasons for these findings is due to differing methods of candidate selection and restricted use of dual candidacy.
 
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This article examines the behavior at the 2000 US presidential election of the self-described Democrats who, prior to the election but after the candidates were nominated, preferred Bill Bradley to Al Gore, as well as of the Republicans who had a higher opinion of John McCain than they did of George W. Bush. These “thwarted voters” are examined with regard to turnout, candidate choice, and motivations, and they are compared on these dimensions with thwarted voters at earlier US presidential elections. Attention is given to estimating the extent to which their behavior in 2000 was critical for the popular vote totals, and counterfactual analysis is employed to estimate the probable effects on the election’s outcome of marginal alterations in the voters’ perceptions of the candidates’ attributes.
 
Article
The 2000 Taiwan presidential election drastically changed Taiwan’s political landscape. For the first time in Taiwan, an opposition party candidate, Chen Shui-bian, won the presidential race, receiving 39.3% of the popular vote. To understand the factors that determined the election’s outcome, we analyze survey data from the 2000 presidential election. First, we study whether a divided ruling party was the cause of the opposition party candidate’s victory. That is, would the ruling party have lost if one of the trailing candidates had opted not to run? Second, there were charges following the election that the Kuomintang misled people into believing their candidate was still leading in the polls, when he was really running third, and this misinformation led people to vote differently than they would have otherwise, possibly giving the election to the opposition party candidate. We examine the validity of this claim by measuring the degree to which strategic voting could have influenced the outcome. Third, to understand the underlying dimensions of the electoral competition in Taiwan and to understand each candidate’s electoral support, we run a multivariate statistical model to study how strategic voting, candidate personalities, party identification, and issues influenced respondents’ vote choices. Finally, we discuss the effects of election polling data on election outcomes.
 
Article
Impressive progress has been made in forecasting election outcomes in a variety of institutional settings. In this issue of the journal, Lewis-Beck, Nadeau and Belanger suggest a plausible and parsimonious model to forecast the outcome of the 2001 British general election. This model has the advantage of generalizability, but it has the disadvantage of producing increasingly inaccurate predictions of the governing party’s vote share over the course of the 1990s. This comment speculates on why this might be the case and on how the model might be re-specified to overcome this problem. It focuses on the macroeconomic measures it employs, on its definition of the governing party’s vote share and on the possible distorting effects of turnout decline.
 
Article
We analyze the results of Poland's historic June, 2003 referendum on whether or not to join the European Union. We find that demographic factors did not play a particularly large role in determining vote choice in the referendum. As alternatives, we propose economic, political, and party based hypotheses, and find empirical support for all three. We also examine the decision to participate in the referendum in an effort to assess the effect of the strategic dilemma posed by a referendum with a minimum turnout threshold for opponents of the referendum. Analysis is conducted on both the aggregate and individual level, utilizing an original county-level dataset and a national public opinion survey.
 
Article
This paper examines the impact of liberal-conservative ideology on voting behavior in the 2004 presidential election, using data from the CPS National Election Study for that year. The empirical results show that there was widespread recognition of the candidates' and parties' ideological positions. However, liberal-conservative identifications exerted no direct impact on voting choices within the 2004 electorate. On the other hand, liberal-conservative identifications did show an indirect effect which operated through their influence on the more proximate determinants of electoral decisions. These findings clarify the role of ideology in the 2004 presidential election. They also conform very closely to the basic theoretical structure laid out in The American Voter.This paper examines the role of ideology as a determinant of recent voting behavior in the American electorate. The analysis uses data from the 2004 CPS National Election Study, and the empirical results suggest a somewhat complicated interpretation. On the one hand, liberal-conservative orientations had no direct impact whatsoever on citizens' voting choices. On the other hand, mass perceptions and evaluations of the candidates, issues, and conditions within the external environment were clearly structured along ideological lines. And, the latter did influence electoral decisions. Therefore, liberal-conservative ideology exerted an important, but completely indirect, effect on citizens' 2004 voting choices. These findings have important implications, not only for understanding the role of ideology in American elections, but also for theories of voting behavior.
 
Article
Following allegations that Accuvote optical scan machines used in New Hampshire during the 2004 presidential election produced unusually low vote totals for Democratic candidate John Kerry, third party candidate Ralph Nader requested and funded a hand recount of ballots cast in eleven New Hampshire precincts. Using statistical methods well-suited for identifying election irregularities, we find no evidence of systematic biases among New Hampshire's Accuvote machines. Nor do we find evidence of other technology-related tabulation problems in the state. Our findings explain why the New Hampshire presidential recount did not substantiate alleged Accuvote discrepancies, and indeed it recovered more votes for George W. Bush than it did for Kerry. More generally, our analysis demonstrates methods that can help avoid false allegations about vote fraud while enabling concerned citizens, election administrators, and researchers to find and remedy real election irregularities.
 
Top-cited authors
Matthew Shugart
  • University of California, Davis
John M. Carey
  • Dartmouth College
Michael Lewis-Beck
  • University of Iowa
André Blais
  • Université de Montréal
Richard Nadeau
  • Université de Montréal