Public opinion and electoral system preference in New Zealand: A longitudinal study

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Abstract

This study highlights the role of ordinary voters in facilitating electoral reform, particularly in the context of electoral system referendums. We investigate six factors that may shape voters' preferences: partisanship, ideology, political efficacy, system support, government performance, and value orientations. Analysis of longitudinal data from the New Zealand Election Study reveals that small party support, left-leaning ideology, and satisfaction with democracy are the most consistent and substantive predictors of preference for proportional over plurality rules, while authoritarian values and low efficacy often exert the opposite effect. Results are discussed with reference to both the 2011 referendum in New Zealand and applicability to debates over electoral reform in other countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-548
Number of pages25
JournalCommonwealth and Comparative Politics
Volume51
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Nov 1

Keywords

  • New Zealand
  • electoral reform
  • mixed-member proportional system
  • plurality system
  • referendum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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