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How Voters Distort their Perceptions and Why this Matters


De Angelis, Andrea (2019). How Voters Distort their Perceptions and Why this Matters. In: Suhay, Elizabeth; Grofman, Bernard; Trechsel, Alexander H.. The Oxford Handbook of Electoral Persuasion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 946 - 973.

Abstract

Voters’ ability to perceive political parties’ positions on policy scales is a precondition for a functioning and responsive electoral democracy. Appropriate measures of policy distance are thus key to addressing the link between political parties and the citizens. This chapter reviews the scholarship on ideal point estimation, identifying the main methodological and substantial implications for empirical studies involving issue scales. Next, the chapter applies two-stage Bayesian Aldrich-McKelvey scaling to European Election Studies data to find evidence of systematic perceptual distortions: right-wing voters perceive political parties as more progressive than they actually are, while knowledgeable voters perceive greater differences between parties. Perceptual bias is also shown to correlate with standard polarization measures based on perceived party positions.

Abstract

Voters’ ability to perceive political parties’ positions on policy scales is a precondition for a functioning and responsive electoral democracy. Appropriate measures of policy distance are thus key to addressing the link between political parties and the citizens. This chapter reviews the scholarship on ideal point estimation, identifying the main methodological and substantial implications for empirical studies involving issue scales. Next, the chapter applies two-stage Bayesian Aldrich-McKelvey scaling to European Election Studies data to find evidence of systematic perceptual distortions: right-wing voters perceive political parties as more progressive than they actually are, while knowledgeable voters perceive greater differences between parties. Perceptual bias is also shown to correlate with standard polarization measures based on perceived party positions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:electoral representation, issue positions, differential item functioning, ideal point estimation, European elections
Language:English
Date:6 November 2019
Deposited On:15 Feb 2024 17:13
Last Modified:13 Mar 2024 15:22
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Series Name:Oxford Handbooks
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190860806.013.55