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Associate Professor, Center of Holistic Education, Mackay Medical College; Undergraduate student, Mackay Medical College; Professor, Department of Public Policy and Management, Shih Hsin University. (corresponding author)
Estimating the Sincerity of Taiwan Voters: A Model Building Process and Empirical Analysis Download
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Along with the democratic development of Taiwanese politics and the diversification of information channels, voters now have access to abundant information prior to elections. Owing to this, the final decision of some voters might be swayed by changes in public opinion polls or by the collective will of groups of people. The actual vote of these citizens may not be what they originally preferred, which cannot be characterized as sincere voting behavior. In the investigation of different types of non-sincere voting behavior, strategic voting is undoubtedly a major research issue among scholars of election studies delving into voter psychology. Strategic voting primarily refers to voters who decide to cast their votes for candidates with better prospects of winning so as to avoid “wasting” their vote. Past overseas literature has confirmed that whether in single-member districts or in proportional representation or multi-member districts, strategic voting has been observed among voters. As for academia in Taiwan, increasing effort has been made in recent years to study strategic voting that may take place in domestic elections, and the definition and measurement of related concepts, such as the effect of split-ticket and party voting. Most studies, however, are confined to observing the results of split-ticket voting, from which they surmise the possibility of strategic voting. In fact, the actual motivation for strategic voting may be very diverse, but the definition of sincere voting is relatively clear and uncontroversial.
Instead, this study attempts to base itself mainly on post election panel records provided by Taiwan’s Election and Democratization Study (TEDS), together with an integrated consideration of a pre- and post-election survey and a comparison of election outcomes. With Taiwan’s 2012 presidential cum-parliamentary elections as the source of empirical evidence, this study adopts counterfactual reasoning and literature on the random utility model, applying them to revise the survey results of the original poll data so as to estimate a reasonable proportion of actual sincere voting. Furthermore, it sums up important characteristics of sincere voters who had different vote choices and demonstrated the subtle differences between split-ticket voting, sincere voting and strategic voting. Finally, the study discusses the various statistical differences between these three voting behaviors.