Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 February 2020
Strategic voting is an important explanation for aggregate political phenomena, but we know little about how strategic voting varies across types of voters. Are richer voters more strategic than poorer voters? Does strategic behavior vary with age, education, gender, or political leaning? The answers may be important for assessing how well an electoral system represents different preferences in society. We introduce a new approach to measuring and comparing strategic voting across voters that can be broadly applied, given appropriate survey data. In recent British elections, we find that older voters vote more strategically than younger voters and that richer voters vote more strategically than poorer voters, even as strategic behavior varies little across the education level. The differences in strategic voting by age and income are smaller than observed differences in turnout by age and income, but they tend to exacerbate these better-known inequalities in political participation.
We thank Markus Wagner, Karine Van Der Straeten, Dimitri Landa, Rob Johns, Dan Rubenson, Steve Fisher, David Myatt, Martin Elff, Steve Reed, Jack Blumenau, and seminar audiences at Dartmouth College, the University of Nottingham, Sciences-Po Paris, the University of Tokyo, University College London, the London School of Economics, the University of Zurich, the Higher School of Economics (Moscow), the University of Rochester, APSA 2016, and EPSA 2017 for useful comments. Replication files are available on the American Political Science Review Dataverse: https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/E5KOKE.