The effect of simultaneous proposals: the case of immigrant enfranchisement


Is voting behaviour impacted by having simultaneous proposals on the same topic? Drawing on the literature on the compromise effect, I argue that support for a proposal is higher if it is presented alongside a more extreme version. Empirically, I assess this argument by applying it to the substantive topic of electoral rights for immigrants. First, I test the argument with an original survey experiment fielded in the United States. Second, I delve into the practical relevance of the topic by focusing on Swiss immigrant enfranchisement referendums. Two process-tracing case studies clarify how simultaneous referendums emerge and inform a subsequent analysis of voting data. The results of the experiment and the observational analysis both support the idea that the compromise effect shapes voting behaviour in simultaneous referendums. These findings call on scholars to consider the compromise effect in the study of popular votes and political decision-making more generally.

Winner of the APSA John Sullivan Award & Winner of the Best Paper Award at the annual NCCR Graduate Conference
Klaudia Wegschaider
Klaudia Wegschaider
Postdoctoral Researcher

Democracy | Electoral Rights | Voting | Migration