Politics Transformed? How Ranked Choice Voting Shapes Electoral Strategies

We compare electoral outcomes under plurality rule versus ranked choice voting (RCV). Candidates compete by choosing platforms that can either mobilize their core supporters, or instead attract undecided voters. RCV exacerbates platform polarization in contexts of low voter engagement, strong partisan attachments, and imbalances in the candidates’ share of core supporters. RCV may increase or decrease voter turnout relative to plurality rule, and strong partisan attachments increase the likelihood that the winning candidate receives a minority of votes cast.
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