While the literature on tactical voting suggests third parties are not likely to form under first-past-the-post rules, the literature also provides several potential explanations for why third parties have flourished in several first-past-the-post systems, and why voters will support these parties. This research note examines the most popular of these explanations, which holds that voters supporting parties placing third or worse in their district fail to recognize their party is out of the running. Using Canadian Election Study data from three recent elections, the results show that most voters supporting parties placing third or worse in their districts recognize that their parties are not likely to finish first or second. These results suggest more attention should be paid to other potential explanations for third-party voting in first-past-the-post systems.
- first-past-the-post systems
- Tactical voting
- third parties
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations
- Public Administration