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Voter Strategies with Restricted Choice Menus

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 May 2006

Department of Political Science, Trinity College Dublin.
Department of Politics, University of Bologna.
Department of Political Science, New York University.


Mixed-member electoral systems require voters simultaneously to cast ballots in single-member districts (SMD) and multimember, proportional representation (PR) constituencies. It may be that not all parties offer candidates in both electoral contexts, however. In this event would-be voters for some parties may find themselves ‘frustrated’ by the restricted choice menu on offer in the SMD, being effectively forced to split their vote between different parties. Here we explore the different behaviours of frustrated voters in the 1996 mixed-member election to Italy's Chamber of Deputies, characterizing these as being either in some sense non-strategic (concerned above all with the relative policy platforms of candidates) or strategic (concerned above all to influence the eventual composition of government). Using an extended method for ecological inference, we parameterize and estimate rates of different types of ticket-splitting at the district level, and link the degree of what we characterize as strategic voting to the relative policy distance between the respective local representatives of the Italian pre-electoral coalitions.

Research Article
2006 Cambridge University Press

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