When information is not enough for strategic voting

7. October 2023

Voters frequently have to decide between supporting their preferred candidate or choosing a less appealing but more viable alternative. Previous research argues that different aspects of political sophistication, but especially political information, permit citizens to navigate these strategic trade-offs. In this research note, we disentangle the effect of political information from the effect of cognitive capacity on strategic voting in an experimental study. We find that especially the combination of information and cognitive resources increases strategic voting if people have sufficient incentives to vote strategically. Thus, our findings suggest that a narrow focus on individual levels of information to facilitate strategic voting and improve democratic representation is incomplete.