Are voters' views about proportional outcomes shaped by partisan preferences? A survey experiment in the context of a real election
Semra Sevi and
Political Science Research and Methods, 2022, vol. 10, issue 2, 445-451
We examine citizens' evaluations of majoritarian and proportional electoral outcomes through an innovative experimental design. We ask respondents to react to six possible electoral outcomes during the 2019 Canadian federal election campaign. There are two treatments: the performance of the party and the proportionality of electoral outcomes. There are three performance conditions: the preferred party's vote share corresponds to vote intentions as reported in the polls at the time of the survey (the reference), or it gets 6 percentage points more (fewer) votes. There are two electoral outcome conditions: disproportional and proportional. We find that proportional outcomes are slightly preferred and that these preferences are partly conditional on partisan considerations. In the end, however, people focus on the ultimate outcome, that is, who is likely to form the government. People are happy when their party has a plurality of seats and is therefore likely to form the government, and relatively unhappy otherwise. We end with a discussion of the merits and limits of our research design.
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