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Political Parties and Voting Behaviour

Political Science
Course Code
Victoria Wohl

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Canadian Politics: Week 11 t November 30th, 2010
Potential exam questions:
Describe the FPTP Electoral System.
How does the electoral system distort support for the strongest parties?
What are some alternatives to the FPTP system?
Political Parties and Voting Behaviour
1. Potential Effects of Polls
- Polls influence voting behaviour, have changed the whole thrust of campaigning
- Leaders used to find out about what was going on in their ridings through their MPs
- Now can take scientific polls
- Get a lot of attention in elections
- Polls help undecided people decide on candidates, help people to vote strategically
- Parliament passed a law saying thaÇ}µ}µov[µo]Z}ooÁ]Z]vZÇ}(v
o Newspaper chains went to court complaining that law violated freedom of the
o Law was passed as it is possible to publish a false poll t }ooZv[
scientifically legitimate
o 1998, Supreme Court ruled to strike down the law
Claimed that law goes overboard as limits freedom of the press,
prohibits publication in the last few days before the election, why
should people be kept from seeing this data
Law was incomplete as did not stipulate that those who publish polls
have to disclose where they got their data from
Supreme Court ruled that you can publish polls up until the election but
have to include the methodology (e.g. how many people surveyed,
phrasing of the question) when publishing polls
x Allowed for illegitimate polls to be published, allowing for
readers to make up their own minds as to whether polls are
legitimate or not
- Social desirability bias: people often give the response they think is most acceptable
o E.g. If woman comes to your door and asks if you believe in equal rights and
Seven Potential Effects of Polls:
1. Bandwagon Effect
- A certain party or candidate is going to win anyways, might as well vote for them
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