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electoral districts overlapped, it is possible to compare the effects of the two different electoral thresholds across 36 elections rather than just two federal ones. I use the ENEP because it reflects strategic voting more accurately than ENPP.

Table 5: ENEP in Länder Elections and Federal Electoral Districts*

Federal 1949

Länder 1949-52

Federal 1953

Länder 1953-56

Schleswig-Holstein

4.7

5.2

3.1

4.1

Bremen

4.8

4.7

4

3.4

Bayern

4.8

4.8

3.3

3.9

Baden-Württemberg

4.3

4

2.9

3.4

Nordhein-Westfalen

3.9

3.8

2.8

3.3

Rheinland-Pfalz

2.8

3.3

2.7

3

Niedersachsen

5.1

4.7

4.3

4.3

Hamburg

4.1

3.1

3.8

2.2

Hessen

4.1

3

3.8

3.5

Median

4.5

4

3.3

3.5

*Does not include Saarland because did not rejoin Federal Republic until 1957 nor Württemberg-Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern because merged in 1952 to become Baden-Württemberg. (Source: Kaack 1971)

Table 4 underscores the significant impact that the higher 1953 threshold had on strategic voting. It contributed in 1953 to a drop in the median party fragmentation of 1.2 parties compared with the 1949 election and 0.7 number of parties when compared to average fragmentation for the 1949-52 state elections. These aggregate drops also are very consistent across the individual electoral districts; all nine districts in 1953 had lower fragmentation levels than in the 1949 and seven districts in 1953 had lower levels than in the preceding state elections. Moreover, minor parties, that is parties other than the CDU/CSU, SPD or FDP, were most adversely affected by the new electoral threshold; in 1953, they lost 11.3% of the votes they had won in the 1949 and 10.2% of the votes they had received in the preceding state elections. Having regional strongholds, these minor parties had no difficulties crossing the state level thresholds. Their national support, however, was close or below the new five percent threshold, thus accounting for the defection of a significant number of voters in 1953 election. In this election, only two districts did not see decline in fragmentation. The unexpected increase in Hamburg and Hessen’s 1953 fragmentation levels at first suggests that its voters did not vote strategically. On closer analysis, this increase in fragmentation reflected exceptional electoral alliances that parties formed in the preceding state elections thus artificially

Party Switching3/12/2007p.

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