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Strategic Support and Electoral Expectations: Did Voters Choose Brexit and Corbyn Because They Expected Them to Lose?

12 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2017  

Jonathan Mellon

University of Oxford - Nuffield College; University of Manchester

Christopher Prosser

University of Manchester

Date Written: August 2, 2017

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Mellon, Jonathan and Prosser, Christopher, Strategic Support and Electoral Expectations: Did Voters Choose Brexit and Corbyn Because They Expected Them to Lose? (August 2, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3012739

Jonathan Mellon (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Nuffield College ( email )

New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Christopher Prosser

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

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