Andrew Eggers - Reconsidering strategic voting in proportional representation systems

Andrew Eggers, Professor of Political Science at The University of Chicago
Encina Hall West, room 400

Underpinning Duverger's Law is the assumption that voters in more proportional electoral systems vote more sincerely. Over the past 15 years, researchers analyzing survey data have consistently claimed otherwise: they claim that not only do voters in PR systems often not vote for their preferred party, they also strategically defect from less popular parties, just as we would expect in plurality contests. I challenge this apparent new consensus. I argue that error in measuring voter preferences can explain these consistently anomalous results, and I demonstrate this with analysis of over 100 electoral surveys including a few original ones. I also argue that, to the extent that voters do anticipate government formation in choosing how to vote in PR systems (as the literature claims), this behavior should be viewed as normatively and conceptually distinct from Duvergerian strategic voting: voters are supporting the party they most want to help win, given the circumstances.


Andrew Eggers is a political scientist whose research focuses on electoral systems, strategic voting, and research methodology.

In 2020 he joined the University of Chicago's Department of Political Science. Previously, he was based at Nuffield College, Oxford (where he remains a Senior Research Fellow), and before that the London School of Economics.

He received his PhD in 2010 from Harvard.