Elections and Voters

First edition

by Cees van der Eijk and Mark Franklin

Review questions for Chapter 5

  • In what way do proportional and majoritarian systems differ in the impact of vote shifts on government change? (p. 119-121)
  • Why is it problematic to consider the gains or losses of votes for a coalition government as a voter judgement of the coalition as a whole? (p. 120)
  • Why is, in general, the incumbency advantage of a President in the US larger than that of a Prime Minister in a parliamentary system? (p. 121)
  • In what kind of electoral systems is constituency service an important task for representatives, and why? (p. 121-122)
  • What is meant by the term ‘coalition of minority stands’? (p. 124)
  • What factors contribute to the lack of coherence in terms of policy orientations of US parties when compared to most parliamentary systems? (p. 124-125)
  • In what two ways can policy responsiveness to changes in voter preferences be achieved? (p.125)
  • Why do candidate centered elections tend to involve higher campaign expenditures than policy oriented elections? (p. 130)
  • Does low turnout lead to a systematic biasing effect of parties’ shares of the vote in elections? If so, how? If not, why not? (p. 131)
  • In what way do protest votes differ from other votes in terms of what voters are trying to achieve? (p. 132-134)
  • Why is it virtually impossible to determine the extent of protest voting from an election outcome? (p. 133)
  • Under what circumstances are voters more (or less) inclined to cast a protest vote? Why? (p. 135)
  • What is the difference in our terminology between ‘voting with the heart’, ‘voting with the head’ and ‘voting with the boot’? (p. 135)
  • What is the logic behind the ‘balance’ explanation for split-ticket voting? What critique can be brought against this explanation? (p. 138-139)
  • Why might we expect that parties in a two-party system would position themselves in the center of the political spectrum, at the position of the median voter? (p. 140)
  • Why do parties in practice generally not locate themselves at the position of the median voter, not even in two-party or effectively two-party systems? (p. 140-141)
  • How does May’s ‘Law of Curvilinear Disparity’ help us to understand why parties might move away from policy positions that they promoted during an election campaign? (p. 141-142)
  • What strategic dilemma do parties experience when campaigning in multi-party systems where no single party can realistically expect to win a majority on its own? (p. 142-143)
  • In what circumstances can leadership hope to succeed in changing the policy stances of their parties without losing electoral support? Give examples (not necessarily those mentioned in the book). (p. 143-144)