People Who Live in Glass Houses: A Response to Evans and Heath's Critique of our Note on Tactical Voting Academic Article uri icon


  • In a recent Research Note, Evans and Heath cast doubt on the validity of our measure of tactical voting. We and our critics agree on a set of Main reason tactical voters those who said they voted tactically in response to the question, What comes closest to the main reason you voted the way you did? Unlike our critics, we reasoned that many of those who cast a tactical vote would not be identified so simply. Some respondents may have been reluctant to say they had voted for other than the best party. Others may have convinced themselves that the best party was one that had a chance of winning and therefore answered in such a way as to place themselves squarely among non-tactical voters even though in other tactical circumstances they would have voted differently. Consequently, we sought to identify tactical behaviour through additional questions. Our final measure of tactical voting can be regarded as containing two components: the main reason voters, who expressly told interviewers they voted for one party while really preferring some other party, and Other reason voters, whom we identified as tactical by their responses to additional questions. It is the Other reason voters who are at issue.

published proceedings

  • British Journal of Political Science

author list (cited authors)

  • Niemi, R., Whitten, G., & Franklin, M.

citation count

  • 27

complete list of authors

  • Niemi, Richard||Whitten, Guy||Franklin, Mark

publication date

  • October 1993