Public Choice

, Volume 161, Issue 3–4, pp 517–536 | Cite as

Assessing strategic voting in the 2008 US presidential primaries: the role of electoral context, institutional rules, and negative votes

  • D. Sunshine Hillygus
  • Sarah A. TreulEmail author


We examine the nature and extent of strategic voting in the 2008 US presidential primary. In doing so, we distinguish positive strategic voters—those casting ballots for their second choice in the primary and general election—from negative strategic voters—those casting ballots for a candidate they want to lose in the general election. We find evidence of both types in 2008. Moreover, we show that the likelihood of voting strategically is related to the electoral and institutional context. Specifically, those who prefer trailing candidates and who live in states with open primaries or with elections after John McCain became the presumed nominee were more likely to vote strategically.


Negative strategic voting Open primaries Electoral institutions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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