Sincere and strategic voters: An Israeli study

Dan S. Felsenthal, Avraham Brichta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The theoretical literature on voting behavior has shown that a rational voter may sometimes decide to vote for a candidate or party that does not constitute his or her first preference. Such voters are traditionally called "strategic voters," in contrast to voters who act sincerely, i.e., those who always vote for their first preference regardless of how others are likely to vote. After discussing some of the problems associated with the definition of these two types of voters and suggesting a new operational definition, some attitudes and characteristics of these two types of voters are investigated. It was found that strategic voters constitute a very small percentage of the entire electorate, that their education level is significantly higher than that of sincere voters, that they tend more often to believe that polls influence voters' decisions and hence tend to delay their own final voting decision, that they tend more often than sincere voters to support small parties but do not tend more often than sincere voters to switch the party they decide to support from one election to the next, and that there is no significant difference between them and sincere voters regarding which governing coalition should/will form following an election.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-324
Number of pages14
JournalPolitical Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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