Strategic Voting in the 2010 UK Election

53 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 1 Sep 2011

See all articles by John Aldrich

John Aldrich

Duke University - Department of Political Science

Aaron Houck

Duke University

Paul Abramson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Renan Levine

University of Toronto Scarborough

Thomas J. Scotto

University of Essex

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

This paper analyzes strategic voting in the 2010 UK General Election using survey data from the 2010 British Election Study (BES). The paper consists of two parts. In the first part, we use survey responses to generate respondent-level preference orderings among the three major parties. Using these preference orderings, we simulate the 2010 election as if it were a national election using four different electoral systems: pairwise comparisons (in search of a Condorcet winner), the Borda count, the alternative vote, and Coombs’ method. We found that the Lib-Dems were the Condorcet winner and, as the compromise party, won under every tested method except the alternative vote (which they advocated). In the second part, we empirically test a rational-choice model of strategic voting. The model predicts that voters should take into accounted the expected utility of their vote and vote for their second-most preferred candidate if their first choice is clearly in third place in terms of likelihood of winning. The 2010 election offers a compelling case study because of the strong performance of the Lib-Dems, who traditionally finished a distant third. Our statistical analysis of the BES survey data provides support for our theoretical model of strategic voting.

Suggested Citation

Aldrich, John and Houck, Aaron and Abramson, Paul and Levine, Renan and Scotto, Thomas J., Strategic Voting in the 2010 UK Election (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1901665

John Aldrich (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Political Science ( email )

140 Science Drive (Gross Hall), 2nd floor
Duke University Mailcode: 90204
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States
919-660-4346 (Phone)

Aaron Houck

Duke University ( email )

Paul Abramson

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Renan Levine

University of Toronto Scarborough ( email )

1265 Military Trail
Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://individual.utoronto.ca/renan

Thomas J. Scotto

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

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