Responsible Majorities? How Group Composition Drives Partisan Expressive Voting

Andrea Robbett*, Peter Hans Matthews

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Individuals sometimes do not “vote their beliefs” but rather to affirm their partisan affiliation. We design an experiment to determine the conditions under which voters engage in partisan expressive voting. Democrats and Republicans are asked to vote on the answers to factual questions about politics and are rewarded if the majority of their group answers correctly. To evaluate both compositional and audience effects, we vary the number of affected co-partisans and public dissemination of vote totals. We find that voters are more expressive as the numbers of co-partisans in either the population or the voting pool increase, despite the potential costs of such behavior for co-partisans. Our results thus indicate that large majorities will sometimes produce outcomes that all could regret.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalPolitical Behavior
Early online date3 Aug 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Aug 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Experiment
  • Expressive voting
  • Information aggregation
  • Polarization
  • Voting behavior


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