[Election-Methods] Do strategic voters stay home on election day?
juho.laatu at gmail.com
Thu Jan 10 10:05:46 PST 2008
The odds are not very good for any voter. In large elections with
good probability any single voter could as well stay at home and the
results would not change.
I think voters tend to be optimistic in the sense that they trust
that also others see the world the same way they do. Many at least
hope that their own party will get lots of votes and they are
prepared to work to make that happen. Voting oneself is one way of
contributing to this joint process.
This kind of "optimistic" thinking is one reason why people vote even
if they understand that their vote may have only a very small impact
if any. Strategists might be optimistic in this sense since they are
at least ready to do some thinking and plan how they could influence
the outcome in all possible ways. But also the opposite scenario is
possible, strategic voters not having good enough possibilities to
influence and therefore not voting at all.
Optimism may also reduce strategic voting. A voters that fears that
his favourite will lose the election may be more likely to resort to
strategic voting. I believe this also makes often sense. Taking a
positive attitude and promoting fair game may often be the best
strategic option available. I think in many elections the opinions do
change quite a lot even during the last days.
US presidential elections are one interesting example. Some voters
vote for others than the two major candidates. They may be sincere
and not know that their vote is (in a way) lost. They could vote this
way since they simply want to vote sincerely. They can also be
strategic (or anti-strategic) in the sense that they want to send
some message to the society this way (e.g. that the election method
is no good, or in the hope that that candidate/party would become
more popular in the future). This strategic voting is however
different than what we normally consider strategic voting
(=~intention to manipulate the outcome).
Maybe one could say that these US voters demonstrate/prove that at
least some groups "non-strategic" voters will vote even though their
votes will be lost quite certainly.
On Jan 10, 2008, at 16:52 , Steve Eppley wrote:
> In elections where strategically-minded potential voters believe the
> odds are extremely low that their vote will be pivotal, do most of
> conclude their best strategy is to not spend any time voting or even
> thinking about how to vote?
> (In Australia voters are fined if they don't vote. So, let's neglect
> Australia for this discussion.)
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