Thomas Gschwend
Institutional Incentives for Strategic Voting: The Case of Portugal

Portuguese Electoral Behavior: Comparative and Longitudinal Approaches, Lisbon, January 27th to January 28th, 2005

Looking more closely at the way people form expectations about the possible outcome of the election in their electoral district I will provide evidence for the first time that strategic voting can be observed and predicted even in PR systems with large districts magnitudes, such as in Portugal. Employing district-level data from 1975-2002 I estimate that a party, who is expected to win no seat, will be strategically deserted on average by about 3 per cent of the voters. This number does systematically vary with the district magnitude of each district and is largest (> 4 per cent) in Portugal’s smallest electoral districts (e.g., Beja and Évora). Nevertheless even in Portugal’s largest electoral district, Lisbon, strategic voting can be observed to have a systematic impact on parties vote shares.