Electoral Chairs’ Seminars – 19 January

The voting advice applications’ match effects on pre-voters

Laura Uyttendaele (Université catholique de Louvain)

The Test électoral is a Voting Advice Application (VAA) providing citizens with personalized information on their ideological profile by comparing their positions on a selection of political issues with those of parties. Scholars agree that VAAs have the potential to assist young people in familiarizing themselves with political issues and ideological positions. Nevertheless, field research examining the effects of VAAs on young people particularly is lacking. First findings from a field experiment with pre-voting pupils aged 16 to 18 in Wallonia have shown that the mere use of a VAA in the classroom contributes to increasing pre-voters’ political trust. One may therefore wonder about the VAA match effect — the effect resulting from the matching/congruence of the advice with the user prior party preferences. First, we investigate advice congruence as evidence of a VAA’s validity. The Test électoral éducatif is expected to render accurate advice and to be a valid VAA assuming that pupils are sufficiently competent to quickly express cogent policy preferences in response to appropriately formulated issue statements. We expect that those who are better able to understand the realm of politics are more likely to get congruent advice as they are more literate in using a VAA. Second, we investigate VAA match effects on pre-voters’ political self-efficacy, political trust, and their evaluation of the tool. Results confirm that politically sophisticated pre-voters are more likely to get congruent advice. In turn, those who receive congruent advice tend to evaluate more positively the VAA compared to those who were exposed to incongruent advice. However, we do not find any evidence of VAA match effects on political efficacy and trust.

Contact Semih Çakır if you would like to participate in the seminar.

This content has been updated on 19 January 2022 at 7 h 37 min.