Can People Explain Their Own Vote? Introspective Questions as Indicators of Salience in the 1995 Quebec Referendum on Sovereignty

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Most scholars doubt that voters are able to explain their own vote. We argue that introspective questions whereby respondents are invited to tell, in their own words, the reasons why they vote the way they do, provide useful information on which considerations are most salient in their voting decisions. We show that open-ended questions about reasons for voting Yes or No in the 1995 Quebec referendum on sovereignty help us to sort out subgroups of voters for whom a given consideration is more salient.

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