Marina Costa Lobo and José Pereira, “Preferential Voting Rules, District Magnitude and the Expression of Preferences on the Ballot: A Field Experiment” (2nd March, 2017)

Marina presented. Here’s the abstract:

“This article analyses the predictors of preferential in flexible list systems. It does so by using the results of an experimental survey carried out in Portugal, an exit poll which was took place on the legislative election day in 2015. Following the extant literature, and the gaps in the knowledge, the following hypotheses are tested, namely: the importance of political sophistication, voting rules and district size for expressing preference votes. Of the four indicators chosen to measure political sophistication, namely education, political interest, gender and age, only political interest is a significant predictor of preferential voting. A ballot which presents no alternative to expressing a preferential vote systematically makes a significant difference, compared to an optional preferential ballot. District size makes a difference only when the voting rules are considered: when compulsory voting is considered, it increases to a significant degree in average-sized districts. Finally, political interest tends to lose its significance when the voting rules are compulsory. The article therefore shows that preferential voting does not constitute an obstacle for those with less political sophistication to express a vote, especially when the voting rules make preferential voting compulsory.”

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