Finding the One : Ease of Candidate Choices in High Information Open-List PR Systems

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Järvi , T , Mattila , M & von Schoultz , Å 2021 , ' Finding the One : Ease of Candidate Choices in High Information Open-List PR Systems ' , Scandinavian Political Studies , vol. 44 , no. 4 , pp. 441-462 .

Title: Finding the One : Ease of Candidate Choices in High Information Open-List PR Systems
Author: Järvi, Theodora; Mattila, Mikko; von Schoultz, Åsa
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Political Science
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
University of Helsinki, Intraparty competition: the neglected dimension of electoral politics (IntraComp)
Date: 2021-12
Language: eng
Number of pages: 22
Belongs to series: Scandinavian Political Studies
ISSN: 0080-6757
Abstract: Vote choice in an open-list proportional representation (OLPR) electoral system can be considered a complex process. In systems where votes are cast for individual candidates the choice is complicated by the large number of candidates, the two layers of competition involving both individual candidates and parties, and the amount of information required to make an informed choice. Hence, voters are expected to apply strategies to narrow down the pool of candidates from which the actual choice is made, that is, to create a delimited consideration set using cognitive heuristics. The types of strategies that facilitate voters' candidate choice are studied. More specifically, the voters' perceptions of the ease with which they choose their candidate and how this is related to three decision-making patterns are studied: the party-centric, in which the voter looks for party-related and ideological cues; the socio-normative, in which the voter considers their social in-group; and the candidate-related, in which the voter puts emphasis on specific features of the candidates, such as political experience, age and gender. Our study is situated in the Finnish OLPR system, characterized by many candidates, intense intra-party competition and mandatory preferential voting. Using data from the 2019 Finnish National Election Study and ordinal probit selection models, the mechanisms that facilitate the ease of candidate choice are outlined. Our findings suggest that voters feeling close to a political party and knowing the candidate personally or through friends or family perceive their candidate choice as easier.
Subject: 5171 Political Science

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