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Matching voters to parties: voting advice applications and models of party choice

Wagner, Markus and Ruusuvirta, Outi (2012) Matching voters to parties: voting advice applications and models of party choice. Acta Politica, 47 (4). pp. 400-422. ISSN 0001-6810

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Identification Number: 10.1057/ap.2011.29


Online voting advice applications (VAAs) have become very popular and may significantly influence voting behaviour. It is therefore important to ask which model of party choice VAAs follow. We establish that VAAs see party choice largely as proximity-based issue congruence, with some elements of the directional and salience models. We then assess how well VAAs follow the proximity model by comparing policy positions extracted from 13 VAAs in seven European countries with established policy measures from expert surveys and party manifestos. Party positions extracted from VAAs show strong convergent validity with left-right and economic positions, but compare less favourably with immigration and environment measures. The voting advice given to users is also inherently limited: VAAs mostly disregard accountability, salience, competence and non-policy factors; they treat policy positions and not outcomes as paramount; and they can be subject to strategic manipulation by political parties. As recommended by their designers, voters should treat these applications as tools and guides rather than as stringent recommendations.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Palgrave Macmillan
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D7 - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making > D72 - Economic Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2012 11:01
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2024 17:51

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