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Linking coalition attitudes and split-ticket voting : the Scottish Parliament elections of 2007

Carman, Christopher J. and Johns, Robert (2010) Linking coalition attitudes and split-ticket voting : the Scottish Parliament elections of 2007. Electoral Studies, 29 (3). pp. 381-391. ISSN 0261-3794

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Abstract

The Scottish Parliament elections of 2007 were the third to be held under the country's mixed-member proportional system. As voters continue to adapt to the new system, we explore two aspects of its use: i) preferences for coalitions as opposed to single-party government, and ii) ticket-splitting. The two are considered together for two reasons. First, both can be seen as manifestations of a preference for multiple parties, and as a result they share a number of likely predictors in common. In empirical practice, however, we find that rather different factors predict the two variables: ticket-splitting looks to be based on strategic partisan or ideological calculation, whereas coalition attitudes are less about partisan interests and more about an overall view of the kind of policies and politics delivered by coalitions. Second, there is potential for a causal connection between our two dependent variables, and indeed we do find clear evidence of such an attitude-behaviour link: some voters appear to split their ticket precisely because they would prefer a coalition.