Coalition-Directed Voting as a Lottery

Coalition-Directed Voting as a Lottery

Abstract

When voters support parties in multi-party democracies it is often uncertain what coalition government the party is likely to join. Are voters adversely affected by this type of uncertainty? In this paper, we present observational and experimental results that support the idea that voters are risk averse when considering coalition government options. The perception of uncertain coalition outlooks of a party negatively affects the propensity to vote for parties in survey data, even when holding the expected coalition government payoffs constant. In a survey vignette experiment during the German federal election 2021, we replicate this pattern for the CDU/CSU. Uncertain coalition outlooks reduce the propensity to support the CDU/CSU, compared to certain coalition outlooks with the same expected coalition government payoffs. The findings provide important insights for research on strategic voting theories and parties’ coalition strategies.

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Working Paper
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Oke Bahnsen
Research Associate at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES)

My research interests include coalition politics, voting behavior, experimental research, and agent-based modeling.