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When and Why Are Voters Correct in Their Evaluations of Specific Government Performance?

Journal article
Authors Elin Naurin
Henrik Oscarsson
Published in Political Studies
Volume 65
Issue 4
Pages 860-876
ISSN 0032-3217
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 860-876
Language en
Links doi.org/10.1177/0032321716688359
Subject categories Political Science

Abstract

Democratic theories expect citizens to be able to accurately evaluate fulfilment of parties’ election pledges. We use specifically designed survey items from the Swedish National Election Study to compare citizens’ perceptions of the fulfilment of specific party pledges with actual fulfilment and assess circumstances that lead to correct evaluations. We find that political knowledge triumphs partisan attachments to incumbent parties when it comes to explaining why voters are correct. The results are interesting in light of common knowledge about the importance of partisan attachment in evaluations of general government performance: We argue that when specific election pledges are being evaluated, personal heuristics, such as attachments to incumbent parties, play a lesser role for judgements. Instead, the specificity embedded in the evaluation encourages citizens to engage in a more knowledge-based evaluation of whether pledges are fulfilled or not.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012
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