Skip to main content Accessibility help

Political Knowledge and Enlightened Preferences: Party Choice Through the Electoral Cycle



This article adapts and tests the theory of enlightened preferences on two British electoral cycles: 1992–97 and 1997–2001. Using individual-level panel data, it extends previous work by explicitly incorporating the role of political knowledge. Its findings are generally very supportive of the theory. It is shown that knowledge of party platforms varies through both electoral cycles in a manner predicted by the theory; that is, it is highest immediately following election campaigns; these changes in political knowledge are closely mirrored by changes in the explanatory power of a model of party choice containing so-called ‘fundamental variables’ (i.e. socio-demographic and issue-related variables) as predictors. More specifically, fundamental variables do a much better job of accounting for party choice during election years than in mid-cycle. Finally, for all years of both panels a positive interaction is found between political knowledge and the ability of voters to match their issue preferences to party platforms.


Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed