Public Opinion and Voting Behavior

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

Fred Cutler University of British Columbia
Antony Hodgson University of British Columbia
Alexandre Rivard University of British Columbia


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.


Thumbnail image of Cutler Hodgson Rivard APSA Preprint.pdf


Log in or register with APSA to comment open_in_new
Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy open_in_new – please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here open_in_new .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy open_in_new and Terms of Service open_in_new apply.