We report on laboratory experiments on voting. In a setting where subjects have single-peaked preferences, we find that the rational choice theory provides very good predictions of actual individual behavior in one-round and approval voting elections but fares poorly in explaining vote choice under two-round elections. We conclude that voters behave strategically as far as strategic computations are not too demanding, in which case they rely on simple heuristics (under two-round voting) or they just vote sincerely (under single transferable vote).
André Blais, Jean-François Laslier, Nicolas Sauger, and Karine Van Der Straeten, “Strategic, Sincere and Heuristic Voting under Four Election Rules: An Experimental Study”, TSE Working Paper, n. 09-065, July 2009.
Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 35, n. 3, March 2010, pp. 435–472