Voter Preferences, Local Party Competitiveness, Turnout, and Strategic Voting: Deterrents to Voting are Unequally Distributed

05 November 2020, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


Voters are deterred from casting a vote and more likely to vote strategically if their preferred choice is less competitive in the electoral district. We use 2019 Canadian Election Study data and find that respondents' answers to a 'How Likely are you to Vote' question depends on their estimate of their preferred party's local chances of winning, relative to other parties. This deterrent effect on turnout from the competitiveness of  voter's preferred party is concentrated among certain parties (NDP, Green, People's Party of Canada), meaning that voters with particular policy perspectives are systematically deterred from voting, relative to other voters. Furthermore, we find that strategic voting is also heavily concentrated among voters who prefer parties outside the nationally most competitive two parties.


electoral systems
first past the post
voting behaviour


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