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Strategic Voting Behavior: The Case of Turkey

Betul Aydogan
Research Assistant, Ege University Izmir, Turkey

What is Strategic Voting?

Explanations Why some behaviors deviate from classical models If a voter believes that voting for a party that is not the most preferred can make her attain the most favorable outcome, she can cast a strategic vote. Sincere voter vs. Strategic voter Wasted vote theorem Duverger

Strategic Vote
(1) a voter should vote not for the most preferred party by comparing its chance of winning with other parties; (2) this action should be enforced in accordance with the principle of maximization of expected utility.

Literature Review
Henry Droop,1871. Duverger, 1954. Rise by the end of the 1980s :
The rise of rational choice theory Methodological developments with new computer technologies

Single member plurality systems in the US and Britain

Strategic voting in PR systems

Duverger: there is no incentive for voters to defect from first preference removal or significantly reduction of obstacles to gain representation.
Cox: It becomes too complex for voters to conduct a strategy in multimember districts. Recent studies demonstrate that PR systems can create some similar motivations for voting strategically .

Strategic voting in PR systems

Incentives that exist in proportional systems
The willingness of voters to determine the form of future coalition governments. coalition preference vote Very low chance of winning representation for small parties.

Electoral Threshold

Electoral Threshold in Turkey

The highest national threshold in the world 10 %

According to Article 33 of Parliamentary Election Law, there is a formal threshold of 10 percent of valid votes at the national level in order to gain representation in the parliament.

Questions & Hypothesis

Question 1: How does the electoral threshold affect voting behavior? Question 2: Is there correlation or causality between the electoral threshold and strategic voting? Hypothesis: The higher the threshold is, the lower the expected probability that a small party might gain representation and, consequently, the higher rate of strategic vote and voters are more likely to desert weak parties to the benefit of larger ones.

A laboratory election experiment Establishing causality Random assignment

Control Group N Department Age Location Geographical Region How much do you remember the results of the general elections in 2011? (1 to 5) What was your primary source of information to get the electoral results?

Experimental Group 34 34 International International Relations Relations 22 (55,8%) 22 (55,8%) Metropolitan Metropolitan (58,8 %) (64,7 %) Aegean (44,11 %) Aegean (55,8%) 3 (43,75 %) 3 (41,17 %)

TV (31, 91 %)

TV (32,25 %)

Did you vote for the general elections in 2011? What was your purpose for voting?

Control Group Yes (88,23 %)

Experimental Group Yes (85,29 %)

National responsibility National responsibility and duty (33,33 %) and duty (31,03 %)

How would you define Social Democrat your political stand? (23,52 %)
Are you a member of No (85,29 %) any political group/party/associatio n?

Social Democrat (32,35 %)

No (76,47 %)

How frequently do you Every day (44,11 %) follow daily news?

Every day (50 %)

Control Group I consult to my family or close friends to decide which party to vote for. When we come together with our friends, we usually talk about current political developments. I care about which parties my family and close friends vote for. Voting for a party that would be under threshold is to waste a vote. Totally disagree (55 %) Partially agree (38 %) Partially disagree (38 %) Partially disagree (52 %)

Experimental Group Totally disagree (58 %) Partially agree (60 %) Partially disagree (41 %) Partially disagree (64 %)

I want my vote to be Totally agree represented in the (73 %) parliament.

Totally agree (64 %)

Control Group Electoral threshold should be totally abolished. Electoral threshold is a necessity for political stability. Totally agree (35 %) Partially agree (29 %)

Experimental Group Totally agree (29 %) Partially agree (41 %)

One party majority is better than coalition governments. All political views should be fairly represented in the parliament.

Partially disagree (44 %) Totally agree (63 %)

Partially disagree (35 %) Totally agree (67 %)

Totally disagree (52 %)

Small party voters should vote for Totally disagree (50 %) a major party that has close political stand and will pass the electoral threshold.

You are supporting the Z party. According to polls results, Z party will get 7% of total vote in the next elections. Would you vote for Z party?
For Control group: Electoral Threshold 10% For Experimental Group: Electoral Threshold is 5 %.

Control Group 76,47 % (Threshold = 10%)

23,52 %

Experimental 94,11 % Group (Threshold = 5%)

5,88 %

Concluding Points
The voting experiment worked!
The higher the threshold, the higher rate of strategic vote. More research needed on what other drives for strategic voting in the PR systems.

Thank you for your attention.