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Do Campaigns Help Voters Learn? A Cross-National Analysis

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2006

Recent empirical studies on American elections suggest that campaigns provide voters with the necessary information to make reasoned voting decisions. Specifically, campaigns help voters learn about the electoral relevance of ‘fundamental variables’, such as the economy and party stances, that have been consistently shown to predict electoral outcomes. Do these findings generalize beyond the American case? This article uses cross-national survey data in order to subject this thesis to a more comprehensive test. The analysis provides further support for the hypothesis that campaigns ‘enlighten’ voters as the election draws near. Moreover, the article shows that some voters learn more from campaigns than others. Campaign effects are more pronounced among individuals with low political sophistication and those living in party list systems. Implications for future research are explored, suggesting a ripe research agenda using under-tapped cross-national data.

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British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
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