Voters' Perceptions of Party Platforms: The Role of Changing Information Contexts* Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • © 2017 by the Southwestern Social Science Association Under what circumstances are voters most likely to correctly situate political parties along a left-right spatial continuum? Answering this question is profoundly important for our understanding of the spatial theory of party competition, which has typically generated empirically verifiable predictions about party-level platform shifts, but fallen short when it comes to making predictions about voter-level perceptions.Method. We use a multilevel cross-national database of hundreds of thousands of voters in recent elections in Western and Eastern European democracies, and hierarchical linear modeling to test our hypotheses. Results. We demonstrate that the prevalence of Internet usage in a country systematically shapes individual voters' objective accuracy in their placements of parties' platforms on the left-right spectrum. However, these effects accrue differently across certain populations of voters. Conclusion. The party placements of those individuals who self-report as being ideologically extreme are affected more substantially by Internet prevalence than those of moderate voters.

Author List (Cited Authors)

  • Potter, J. D., & Dunaway, J. L.

publication date

  • 2017