Why do Publics Support Minority Governments? Three Tests


With Y. Dufresne. Parliamentary Affairs (2012): 1-16.

First-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral rules usually produce legislative majorities. But minority governments appear to be an increasingly common electoral outcome in political systems operating under those rules. What, then, drives citizens views about minority governments? The Canadian case is instructive; it operates under FPTP rules and has recently experienced three minority governments in a row. This investigation proposes three explanations for why citizens might support minority governments and these explanations are empirically tested using Canadian Election Study data. The analysis indicates that people support minority government outcomes mostly for partisan strategic reasons. Pragmatic considerations are important but, surprisingly, principled motivations have quite modest effect.