Strategic Support and Electoral Expectations: Did Voters Choose Brexit and Corbyn Because They Expected Them to Lose?
12 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2017
Date Written: August 2, 2017
Recent UK elections have seen apparently surprising levels of support for the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn and the leave side in the EU referendum. Some commentators have argued that these surprising results were not driven by actual support for these outcomes, but by voters who did not expect the choice to win. Instead it is claimed that voters chose these options strategically either to influence the winner’s policy or to avoid too heavy a defeat for one side, while still not wanting that side to actually win. We use data from the British Election Study Internet Panel to examine the evidence for such behaviour. In both the EU referendum and 2017 General Election we find no evidence that voters for Leave or Corbyn voted that way because they thought that they would not win.
Keywords: expressive voting, British politics, expectations, EU referendum, Brexit, British Election Study
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