In this paper we are interested in explaining strategic ticket-splitting in the German mixed-electoral system across time. We propose that mainly two factors determine the level of strategic ticket-splitting across electoral districts and across time. The closer the district race is expected or the clearer the identifiability of viable coalitions are in the public the more strategic ticket splitting is expected. We content analyze political magazines (DER SPIEGEL) in order to get measures about the degree of pre-election identifiability of coalitions and merge it to a data set consisting of district-level election returns (1953-2002). Our results provide evidence for the two factors we proposed. Finally, counterfactual simulations of our results show that small parties benefit from making it clear to the public which coalition they want to form after the election.
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