Strategic Voting at the Romanian 2008 Local Elections

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Abstract The aim of this article is to measure the extent to which voters cast their ballots strategically at the Romanian 2008 local elections. Our interest was prompted by the introduction of a mixed-member electoral system for local elections. One common characteristic of mixed-member electoral systems is that they present the voter with the opportunity for strategic behavior. For the purpose of measuring strategic voting we use three methods: 1. we compare the number of votes received by candidates in the single member district race with the number of votes received by their parties in the proportional representation race; 2. we calculate the difference between the votes received by the two best ranked candidates to determine whether the race between the two was tight, which would stimulate strategic behavior; 3. we calculate the second-first ratio (SF-ratio) proposed by Gary Cox. Our results show that that only a small percentage of the voters behaved strategically although the newly introduced mixed-member electoral system presents them with the opportunity to do so.

Key words: strategic voting, mixed member electoral system, SF-ratio, close race, local elections


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