Thomas Gschwend, Ron Johnston, Charles Pattie
Split-Ticket Patterns in Mixed-Member Proportional Election Systems: Estimates and Analyses of their Spatial Variation at the German Federal Election, 1998

British Journal of Political Science, 2003: 33, pp. 109-127
ISSN: 0007-1234

Mixed-member proportional election systems give voters two choices one for a party candidate in a first-past-the-post single-member constituency election and the other for a party list in a multi-member constituency. Some will vote a straight-ticket (i.e. vote for the same party at each contest); others may vote a split-ticket. Although such an electoral system has been operating in Germany since 1953, very little work has been done on variations between constituencies in either the volume of split-ticket voting or the direction of the switching involved. Using an entropy-maximising method, this paper reports estimates of the pattern of straight- and split-ticket voting in each of Germany’s 328 constituencies at the 1998 Federal elections. Analyses of the variations show that the patterns are consistent with patterns of party strength at the constituency scale: the stronger a party’s performance at the 1994 election, the better its ability to retain the support of straight-ticket voters in 1998, to limit the outflows of split-ticket voters, and to attract split-ticket voters who supported another party in the list contest.