Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Does Party Rhetoric Affect the Accuracy and Certainty of Voter Perceptions of Party Positions?

Lecture by Zeynep Somer-Topcu

When do voters form accurate perceptions of party positions, and when do they feel certain about their perceptions? We believe that information availability plays a crucial role, and argue that election campaigns, by increasing information availability, enhance voter accuracy and certainty. Yet, we also argue that campaigns are less effective for voters’ perceptions about governing parties’ positions. In addition, we argue that changing party positions reduce voter certainty. We assembled the most comprehensive cross-national dataset on parties’ media rhetoric and show support for each of these expectations using this cross-national dataset and also panel data from the UK. The results have important implications for our understanding of voter perceptions and the dynamic interplay between parties and voters, which are critical for the functioning of representative democracy.

Zeynep Somer-Topcu is Associate Professor at the Department of Government at the University of Texas.

This event is part of the Democracy Research Lecture Series”.


Our event location is wheelchair-accessible. If you need support, please let Friederike Theilen-Kosch know: friederike.theilen-kosch [at] wzb.eu