Strategic abandonment or sincerely second best? strategic considerations in the 1999 Israeli prime ministerial election

Paul R. Abramson, John H. Aldrich, Matthew Diamond, Abraham Diskin, Renan Levine, Thomas J. Scotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The Israeli election for Prime Minister in 1999 featured five candidates. Three, including a major, centrally located candidate, Yitzhak Mordechai, withdrew from competition during the two days before the voting. Mordechai withdrew in large measure in reaction to the strategic decisions of voters, that is, some voters who favored him deserted his candidacy as his poll standings declined. We use surveys conducted during the 1999 campaign to estimate models of strategic voting behavior based on the multicandidate calculus of voting. We find that strategic voting in the Israeli, majority-with-runoff electoral system closely resembled the level and nature of strategic voting found in the more nearly pure plurality systems for which the statistical models were originally developed. The result is support for the reasoning Mordechai provided for his decision, illustrating the interlocking nature of strategic decisions between candidates and voters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)706-728
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Israeli elections
  • strategic voting

Cite this