Public Choice

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 69–85 | Cite as

The effect of electoral rules on voting behavior: the electoral college and shift voting

  • Richard F. Bensel
  • M. Elizabeth Sanders


The Electoral College has a measurable effect on the propensity of the rational voter to vote for the candidate he most prefers. The ‘slippage’ between the individual's articulated preference ordering and his actual vote is analyzed (using 1968 data) with respect to the strategic position of the voter in his state.

The direction of the findings support the theoretically-derived propositions. Nevertheless, the low overall incidence of shifts and the reluctance of voters to shift from nationally-viable candidates demonstrates the overwhelming influence of the national electoral environment.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Duverger, Maurice. Political Parties, New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1963.Google Scholar
  2. Farquharson, Robin. Theory of Voting, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969.Google Scholar
  3. Ferejohn, John A. and Fiorina, Morris P. “The Paradox of Non-Voting: A Decision Theoretic Analysis,” American Political Science Review, 68, June, 1974, pp. 525–536.Google Scholar
  4. McKelvey, Richard and Ordeshook, Peter. “A General Theory of the Calculus of Voting,” in Herndon, James and Bernd, Joseph (eds) Mathematical Applications in Political Science, VI, Charlottesville, Virginia: The University of Virginia Press, 1972.Google Scholar
  5. Rae, Douglas. Political Consequences of Electoral Laws, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967.Google Scholar
  6. Riker, William H. and Ordeshook, Peter C. “A Theory of the Calculus of Voting,” American Political Science Review, 62, March, 1968, pp. 25–42.Google Scholar
  7. Weisberg, Herbert F. and Rusk, Jerold G. “Dimensions of Candidate Evaluation,” American Political Science Review, 64, December, 1970, pp. 1167–1185.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers bv 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard F. Bensel
  • M. Elizabeth Sanders

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations