Voting for Coalitions? The Role of Coalition Preferences and Expectations in Voting Behavior
Meffert, Michael F.
Coalition governments are the norm in many countries, even though voters can only cast their vote for an individual party, not a specific coalition. Some voters might nevertheless cast their vote in a way that maximizes the probability that a preferred coalition will be formed after the election. In the paper, we investigate the effect of coalition preferences and expectations on vote decisions, above and beyond the preferences for specific parties. We focus in particular on voters’ ability to form differentiated expectations about possible coalitions, the likelihood of a majority and the likelihood that the parties will be able to agree on a coalition. We report the results of a nationally representative survey conducted before the 2006 Austrian General Election. We collected detailed information about respondents' party and coalition preferences and expectations about the electoral outcomes. Green Party voters are used to demonstrate that the effect of coalition preferences depends on whether or not voters expect a coalition to succeed.
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