The effect of national and constituency level expectations on tactical voting in the British general election of 2010

Paul R. Abramson, John H. Aldrich, Abraham Diskin, Aaron M. Houck, Renan Levine, Thomas J. Scotto, David B. Sparks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The 2010 elections in the United Kingdom provided voters with numerous and diverse opportunities to reason strategically. The Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems)-traditionally finishing a distant third in terms of seats in Parliament-vied with labour to be the principal competition to the Conservatives, who failed to win a majority of seats, creating a rare case of what the British call a hung parliament. These conditions varied across constituencies at the district level, and we exploit this variation to study the incidence of "tactical" voting. But the national outcome also presented strategic considerations for voters, and the conditions varied to some extent over the course of the campaign, giving voters interviewed at different times different sets of national considerations for tactical voting. This presents us with the opportunity to investigate how both local and national considerations may shape strategic reasoning among voters and relate to each other and to the final choices of voters on Election Day.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Many Faces of Strategic Voting
Subtitle of host publicationTactical Behavior in Electoral Systems Around the World
EditorsLaura B. Stephenson, John H. Aldrich, André Blais
Place of PublicationAnn Arbor, MI.
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2018


  • UK elections
  • hung parliament
  • tactical voting
  • strategic reasoning

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