Voting advice applications and political marketing


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Presented at the 6th International Political Marketing Conference, Thessaloniki, Greece 24 - 25 September 2010.

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Voting advice applications and political marketing

  1. 1. Voting Advice Applications and Political Marketing Th. Chadjipadelis, I. Andreadis Department of Political Sciences Aristotle University Thessaloniki
  2. 2. Voting Advice (Aid) Applications <ul><li>Web applications that provide voting advice by matching voters' policy views with parties' or candidates' positions. </li></ul><ul><li>Preparation stage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Issues that reflect the most important dimensions of political competition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Database of parties’ or candidates' positions on these issues. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Formula to calculate proximity of voters’ positions to the positions of the parties or candidates </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Running stage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Voters express their views on the aforementioned policy issues. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The application provides a personalised voting recommendation for each user. Usually the output is a ranked list of parties or candidates according to the calculated proximities. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Issues <ul><li>Sufficient discriminatory power </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bureaucracy should be reduced </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Issue ownership by parties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Party’s position on the issue is very popular </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Walgrave et al (2009) have tested different configurations of 36 out of 50 statements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>500000 configurations out of about 1 trillion: “Some configurations favour certain parties, other configurations benefit other parties” </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Position of candidates and parties <ul><li>Text analysis of parties’ official documents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>P arty manifestos, party websites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Expert Surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Ask parties or their candidates to respond to the questionnaire </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To prevent parties from entering inaccurate or untrue responses, require parties to provide evidence for their chosen position in their official documents </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mixed interactive methods ( Trechsel & Mair , 2009 ) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Formula to calculate proximity <ul><li>Balance of issues’ representation </li></ul><ul><li>Increased weighting on salient issues </li></ul><ul><li>Various distance metrics: Euclidean, city block (Wall et al, 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Pure issue voters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No impact of party identification, sociological cleavages, government performance and candidate images </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Popularity of VAAs <ul><li>Examples of popular VAAs </li></ul><ul><ul><li> German federal election 2009: 6700000 users, 15% of the electorate. Ramonaite, A. (2010). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> Switzerland Federal elections 2007: 938403 users, 40% of the electorate. Ladner et al. (2008) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// Dutch general elections 2010: 4208400 users, 45% of the electorate. In the last day: 1,5 million users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TV Show &quot; Doe De Stemtest&quot; - 2004 Belgian election campaign </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> second order – 919422 advices </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Young, male, higher education ( Ruusuvirta and Rosema, 2009) but the digital gap is closing over time ( Fivaz and Schwarz, 2007). </li></ul>
  7. 7. Popularity trends
  8. 8. Impact on electoral behaviour <ul><li>Electoral Participation - Turnout </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the tendency to vote stimulates the use of VAAs, rather than the reverse ( Ruusuvirta and Rosema, 2009) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2007 Swiss federal elections (Ladner and Pianzola, 2010) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>16% claimed that VAAs had motivated them to participate in the elections. Another 25% reveal that they have been partially motivated. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>VAAs: the most important information source </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In Finland, VAAs are the most important source of information for young (18-24) voters (Carlson & Strandberg, 2005) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Smartvote: 58% mentioned that it is an important source of information; first among a series of sources. ( Ladner et al. 2008) </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Impact on voting choice <ul><li>Evidence of impact on voting choice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Finnish National Election Studies: more than one out of three said that VAAs had been at least of some importance to their vote choice ( Ruusuvirta and Rosema, 2009) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>40 per cent of Wahl-O-Mat users agreed that VAAs had helped them to make a vote choice in the 2005 federal elections (ibid.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2006 regional elections in the canton of Berne. 74% of VAA users: the recommendation had influenced their vote choice (Fivaz and Schwarz, 2007) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The impact depends on the types of VAA users </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Undecided: Preference Formation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decided: Preference Confirmation or Change </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Political Marketing into the game <ul><li>“ Improvements” of election manifestos </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Belgium 2003 Socialist party changed its long standing manifesto position after a massive majority of VAA users agreed with restricting the rules on parole for convicted felons (Hooghe and Teepe, 2007) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In Netherlands example of a party’s marketing team that makes enquiries to VAA providers on issues that will appear in future applications, in order to write VAA-optimized election manifesto (Wagner and Ruusuvirta, 2009) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Manipulate VAAs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In Finland some well-known candidates have positioned themselves in the middle of the response scale on all statements (catch-all) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In Lithuania National Resurrection Party : absence of ideological consistency ( Ramonaite , 2010 ) </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. References (1/2) <ul><li>Carlson, T., and K. Strandberg. 2005. The 2004 European parliament election on the web: Finnish actor strategies and voter responses. Information Polity 10 (3): 189-204. </li></ul><ul><li>Fivaz, J., and D. Schwarz. 2007. Nailing the pudding to the Wall–E-democracy as catalyst for transparency and accountability. Paper presented at International Conference on Direct Democracy in Latin America, . </li></ul><ul><li>Ladner, A., G. Felder, and L. Schädel. 2008. From e-voting to smart-voting. Paper presented at Direct Democracy in and around Europe: Integration, Innovation, Illusion, and Ideology, Center for Democracy Aarau (ZDA). </li></ul><ul><li>Ladner, A., and J. Pianzola. 2010. Do voting advice applications have an effect on electoral participation and voter turnout? evidence from the 2007 Swiss federal elections. Paper presented at Electronic Participation Second IFIP WG 8.5 International Conference, ePart 2010, Lausanne, Switzerland. </li></ul><ul><li>Hooghe, M., and W. Teepe. 2007. Party profiles on the web: An analysis of the logfiles of non-partisan interactive political internet sites in the 2003 and 2004 election campaigns in belgium. New Media & Society 9 (6): 965-85. </li></ul><ul><li>Ramonaite, A. 2010. Voting advice applications in lithuania: Promoting programmatic competition or breeding populism? Policy & Internet 2 (1): 117-47. </li></ul>
  12. 12. References (2/2) <ul><li>Ruusuvirta, O., and M. Rosema. 2009. Do online vote selectors influence electoral participation and the direction of the vote? Paper presented at European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) General Conference, Potsdam, Germany, . </li></ul><ul><li>Trechsel, A. H., and P. Mair. 2009. When parties (also) position themselves: An introduction to the EU profiler. ROBERT SCHUMAN CENTRE FOR ADVANCED STUDIES - European Union Democracy Observatory, Report 65. </li></ul><ul><li>Wall, M., M. L. Sudulich, R. Costello, and E. Leon. 2009. Picking your party online–An investigation of ireland's first online voting advice application. Information Polity 14 (3): 203-18. </li></ul><ul><li>Walgrave, S., M. Nuytemans, and K. Pepermans. 2009. Voting aid applications and the effect of statement selection. West European Politics 32 (6): 1161-80. </li></ul><ul><li>Wagner, M., and O. Ruusuvirta. 2009. Faulty recommendations? party positions in online voting advice applications. Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Toronto, Canada. </li></ul>