a1 University of Missouri
a2 Drake University
Experiments designed as an election simulation involve participants in an investigation of strategic voting. Participants assigned political preferences and informed of candidate/party positions on an ideological dimension respond to and learn the results of two public opinion polls before voting. When given two alternatives, the participants vote sincerely. Confronted with three or more alternatives, participants make tactical decisions to narrow the field. Strategic behavior quickly reduces the number of alternatives to two. Consistent with Duverger's law, candidate/party viability encourages strategic voting and the development of a two-party system. The election simulation serves as a useful tool to teach about electoral behavior and to explore topics such as strategic voting.
James W. Endersby is associate professor of political science at the University of Missouri. He studies elections, political communication, and political behavior. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelly B. Shaw is visiting assistant professor of politics and international relations at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. In addition to his interest in simulations and applied pedagogy in the classroom, his research interests are focused on interest representation in Europe and the European Union. He may be reached at email@example.com.