Anda di halaman 1dari 20

Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815

Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect

Electoral Studies
journal homepage:

The electoral consequences of voter ignorance

Jason Ross Arnold
Political Science Program, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University, 923 W. Franklin Street, Box 842028, Richmond, VA 23284-2028, USA

a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history: Received 22 July 2011 Received in revised form 3 June 2012 Accepted 7 June 2012 Keywords: Political knowledge Voter ignorance Voting and elections Voting behavior Left-wing parties

a b s t r a c t
A great deal of research has suggested that scholarly and popular concerns about low levels of citizen political knowledge are exaggerated. One implication of that research is that political history would have unfolded just as it did even if electorates had been more politically informed. This paper presents evidence that counters these claims, showing an infusion of electorally relevant information in twenty-seven democracies would have likely led to a lot of vote switching, ultimately changing the composition of many governments. The paper also directly and systematically examines what we might call the enlightened natural constituency hypothesis, which expects lower-income citizens to vote disproportionately for left parties once armed with more political knowledge. While the basic argument about how political ignorance disproportionately affects the lefts natural constituency is not new, the hypothesis has thus far not been tested. The analysis provides provisional support for the hypothesis. 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction A half century of evidence shows what democratic theorists long suspected very low levels of citizen knowledge about politics. Survey after survey in the U.S. and beyond illustrates that citizens often do not understand what their representatives stand for, or what they have done in ofce. These routine failures of citizen monitoring and selection frustrate representative democracys most basic processes. Not all theorists conclude from the dismaying survey evidence that less informed voters have a more difcult time understanding party differences or making choices that reect their preferences. Some discount voters lack of knowledge and argue voters can do well enough in elections by following cues from trusted, better informed individuals and groups (e.g. party leaders, interest groups, friends in social networks) (e.g. Lupia, 1994). Others argue voter errors are indeed pervasive, but across populations they are random and offsetting, so when viewed as

E-mail address: 0261-3794/$ see front matter 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

a collective, electorates behave as if rational (Page and Shapiro, 1992). Ultimately, the question of whether widespread public ignorance imperils representative democracy turns on two critical empirical questions. First, do very similar individuals who differ only in their political knowledge still on average vote identically? If information shortcuts (i.e. cues) work as advertised, these differences should be slight. Second, would electorates make different collective choices if voter ignorance was not as widespread a problem? If low levels of political knowledge were simply an exaggerated concern, as some theorists contend, we would expect political history to unfold as it has even if citizens brought more civics knowledge to the polls. In this paper I address both questions, each of which tackles the counterfactual question at the heart of the debate: would voters choose differently if they had more information? I rst evaluate existing research on how political knowledge or the lack thereof affects voting behavior. Second, I estimate the extent to which voters in twenty-seven democracies would have changed their minds at the ballot box if they had additional electorally relevant political information. Third, I examine the political

J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815


implications of these information effects, specically whether left parties would have enjoyed increased support if voters were better informed. While the evidence is clear that relatively poorer citizens for some, left parties natural constituency tend to have lower levels of political knowledge, scholars have only speculated about whether these individuals would increase their support for left parties if they were better informed.

2. The role of political knowledge in voting behavior Until recently, the conventional wisdom in democratic theory viewed widespread voter ignorance as generally bad for democracy. The consequences seemed clear: voters who went to the polls uninformed about candidates and their programs were more likely to make inept choices that is, contrary to their preferences and interests. Voters who were unaware of elected politicians performance in ofce were also seen as less prepared to sanction wayward representatives. Moreover, politicians who were aware of constituents ignorance had less reason to fear electoral sanctioning, giving them freer rein to stray from electoral mandates and public opinion. Overall, for many democratic theorists, widespread public ignorance indicated a failure of the republican model in contemporary practice (e.g. Schumpeter, 1942; Somin, 1998). Theorists, however, have not been uniformly pessimistic about low levels of knowledge observed in surveys. Downs (1957), for instance, presented a model of voting behavior that accepted citizens rational ignorance as a natural consequence of the relatively high cost of obtaining political information. Instead of decrying their lack of knowledge, Downs claimed that voters rationally rely on information shortcuts, namely cues from trusted elites about parties policy positions. By using these shortcuts, voters could pass on their information costs to others who could more efciently obtain relevant knowledge.1 Numerous scholars since Downs have adopted the counterintuitive position that voter ignorance is not a problem for democracy due to the way voters rely on cues from more knowledgeable elites and discussion partners (e.g. Popkin, 1991; Sniderman et al., 1991).2 Other theorists cautioned against making inferences about citizen competence from surveys, due to well-known, possibly insurmountable problems of measurement, reliability, and validity.3 For instance, they questioned whether a series of survey questions (e.g. Who is the Vice-President?) really measures the extent of citizens political learning and reasoning capabilities. Overall, those following Downs and other early cue-taking theorists (e.g. Berelson et al., 1954)

conclude voters can make reasonable choices (i.e. votes reect preferences) without appearing well-informed about politics on surveys. There are several reasons to be skeptical about the optimistic conclusions arising from the concept of low information rationality. First, there is the questionable proposition that individuals at different knowledge levels use cues equally well (e.g. Lau and Redlawsk, 2001).4 Second, along with the ways individuals protably use information shortcuts, there are many negative biases associated with cue-taking that cause individuals to make predictable logical mistakes (Kuklinski and Quirk, 2000). Third, aside from notable exceptions (e.g. Lupia, 1994), the cue-taking model has little empirical support outside of laboratory experiments modeled on the American twoparty presidential system.5 For those interested in developing a more widely applicable democratic theory, the experiments lack external validity. For example, can voters in multi-party systems utilize cues with the same ease and efciency as voters in two-party systems? While institutions associated with multi-party systems do offer citizens some information advantages (Gordon and Segura, 1997; Arnold, 2008), these party systems also tend to make the vote choice more complicated. High-information voters in these contexts benet from the additional choices, but low-information voters face a more confusing array of options and as a consequence often choose not to vote (Jusko and Shively, 2005).6 Thus, while information shortfalls might be more easily overcome in stable twoparty systems, we have reason to believe that navigating multi-party systems using cues might be a more difcult task. Overall, existing research about voter ignorance unfortunately offers few insights about the extent to which information matters across the wide range of political institutions and political cultures in the worlds democracies, not to mention their varied levels of political and economic development. 2.1. Should we be optimistic about rational publics? Another departure from the more conventional view of public ignorance considers electorates as rational, collective decision-making bodies, akin to Condorcets jury

1 Though previous scholars had introduced the concept of cue-taking in voting models Berelson et al. (1954) had noted the tendency of less informed voters to follow opinion leaders Downss more explicit formulation has remained the most prominent. 2 Popkin (1991), for example, argued that voters use heuristics and gut level reasoning (or low information rationality) based on elite cues and life experiences to make rational political choices that correctly express their preferences. 3 See Lupia and McCubbins (1998); Rahn et al. (1994); Zaller (1992); and Zaller and Feldman (1992). See also Piazza et al. (1989).

4 Sniderman has acknowledged this as a problem for the cue-taking model (2000: 72). In particular, Lau and Redlawsk (2001) found how effectively individuals used cues and cognitive heuristics depended on their level of political knowledge. Instead of equalizing rational decisionmaking, cue usage reinforced a populations level of information inequality. Plus, political knowledge was crucial in using cues effectively; uninformed individuals tended to make more errors in their inferences. 5 One reason non-experimental research has been so scarce is that traditional methods of analyzing voting behavior do not lend themselves well to testing the cue-taking hypothesis. For example, individuals on surveys are not routinely asked where they obtain specic pieces of information, and if they were, it is doubtful they would remember (Lodge et al., 1989; Zaller, 1992). 6 On the other hand, voters in two-party systems might have some difculty distinguishing between two center-leaning parties, both of which are strategically ambiguous about policies during general election contests. Downs, for example, identied politicians incentives to becloud their policies in a fog of ambiguity.


J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815

theorem (Page and Shapiro, 1992).7 This argument contends that although many citizens are not well informed about politics, an electorate as a group holds reasonable and relatively stable preferences.8 Focusing solely on individuals ignores the emergent properties of polities, and when individuals attitudes are aggregated, individual-level random noise is eliminated through offsetting effects (14 15, 25).9 However impressive the miracle of aggregation appears, the assumption of mostly random errors has not survived subsequent analysis. Aggregation might cancel out some of the noise, but it does not eliminate systematic variation in political attitudes due to political knowledge and other individual characteristics (Althaus, 2003; Duch et al., 2000; Duch and Palmer, 2002; Krause, 1997). Moreover, while the notion of offsetting effects is plausible in an evenly split two-party system like the U.S., where an error on one side is mirrored by an error on the other, the models applicability for multiparty systems, where errors are unlikely as symmetrical, remains in question. 2.2. Political knowledge matters (Not here but there?) The cue-taking and collective rationality arguments both discount the importance of political knowledge for voting behavior. The disconrming evidence identied above (e.g. Lau and Redlawsk, 2001), however important, does not provide direct support for theories emphasizing political knowledge. Recent work demonstrating a positive connection between information and voting, however, has begun to accumulate. What we have learned so far is that American voters with less political knowledge are less likely to recognize a suitable party or candidate given their preferences (Delli Carpini and Keeter, 1996). Moreover, each additional increment of knowledge tighten[s] the connection between attitudes and the vote (256). Similarly, British voters who have more knowledge of party platforms tend to select parties that better reect their policy preferences (Andersen et al., 2002, 2005).10 We also know that many voters would likely change their vote choices if they were better informed. Recall the question posed above: do very similar individuals who differ only in their measured levels of political knowledge still on average vote identically? If information shortcuts (i.e. cues) work as theorized, these differences should be slight. Bartels (1996) addressed this question in the context

of American presidential elections and found unambiguous evidence showing voter ignorance signicantly affected voting behavior. Large numbers of American voters in elections from 1972 to 1992 apparently would have changed their minds had they been better informed. Contrary to predictions that behavioral errors from the less informed would cancel out due to offsetting effects (i.e. the errors are random), the analysis found clear systematic biases among the less informed (e.g. toward incumbents and Democrats). However remarkable the vote swings Bartels found at the individual level changes ranged from 7.58% (in 1976) to 10.62% (in 1992) aggregate electoral shifts were less substantial (0.35% in 1976 to 5.62 in 1980).11 While political knowledge clearly affected individual vote choice in US presidential elections, none of the vote swings would have changed historical outcomes. That is, the net electoral effect of increased information was smaller than the margin of victory (Althaus, 2003: 126). In sum, we are left with an emerging picture that political knowledge does affect voting behavior; consequently, democratic theorists have reason to push back against writers discounting its importance. Still, existing research leaves us with the impression that voter ignorance might not have any realworld political implications. Would different governments have been formed if electorates had been better informed? What kinds of historical patterns would have emerged if voters had the tools to more effectively connect their preferences with vote choices? One way to examine the political implications of voter ignorance is to assess whether any partisan or ideological biases result from information inequalities within societies. 3. The political implications of voter ignorance: effects on left voting Theorists have long suspected that parties of the left are particularly disadvantaged due to widespread voter ignorance. Surprisingly, few have attempted to assess the extent to which the suspicion is true. Why would voter ignorance weaken left parties more than those of the right or center? Why would left parties especially benet from better informed electorates? The argument many have made is two-fold (e.g. Converse, 1964; Delli Carpini and Keeter, 1996; Luskin, 2002: 298). First, less wealthy voters are left parties natural constituency. Because left parties tend to offer a more generous welfare state and more wealth redistribution than parties of the right and center, lower strata voters would naturally prefer left governments that promise to improve their lot. The argument clearly employs a class-based voting model which assumes a voters salient group identity and source of political preferences is or should be her socioeconomic positions (see below) The second part of the argument rests on reams of empirical evidence showing income and other measures of

7 Page and Shapiro sum up Condorcets main point this way (p. 26): if individuals have even a modest tendency to be correct, a collective decision by those individuals can have a very high likelihood of being right. See also Grofman and Feld (1988). 8 See Althaus (2003: 3035) for a review of the concept of collective rationality. 9 While Page and Shapiros focus was on policy preferences, there are no reasons why the hypothesized mechanism cannot be applied to elections. 10 Interestingly, voters values appear to interact with their information levels. Heath and Tilley (2003), examining British Election Studies (BES) data from 1983 to 1997, found values signicantly decreased the independent effect of information on vote choice. Information did, however, strengthen the relationship between individuals values and their vote choices.

11 Tka (2004) estimated these information effects in a wider set of political contexts, nding clear shifts in voters intentions, but like Bartels, relatively modest in the aggregate.

J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815


socioeconomic status to be strong predictors of political knowledge (see below). Taken together, these conjectures imply that lower strata voters are less likely to select candidates or parties who will work on their behalf. Due to their lack of political knowledge, these voters cannot as easily discern parties political orientations or understand their policy platforms, therefore making them less likely to support parties who reect their preferences. In other words, citizens predisposed to left voting who remain in the dark about, for example, parties relative positions are more likely than their informed counterparts to mistakenly select a rightwing candidate.12 If circumstances caused the information gap to close, we would expect left parties to especially benet; that is, an inux of electorally relevant political information would ow disproportionately to the lefts natural constituency. We can call this the enlightened natural constituency argument. 3.1. Why are poorer voters less informed? While studies have repeatedly demonstrated a statistically strong link between levels of income and political knowledge, there is no systematic research examining the reasons for the strong connection. Luskins (1990) inuential typology focusing on the numerous factors that shape citizens capabilities, opportunities, and motivations to learn about politics remains a useful starting point. For example, many economically poor citizens lack the capacity to understand the complexities of the political world or remember key facts, simply due to their relatively disadvantaged educational backgrounds and other products of a resource-poor upbringing. Features of the macro-political environment, from the nature of a countrys mass media system to its political institutions, also shape citizens motivations and opportunities to acquire political information. There is disagreement, as noted above, about the extent to which some institutions (e.g. proportional representation electoral rules) offer citizens informational advantages (Gordon and Segura, 1997; Jusko and Shively, 2005; Arnold, 2008). Marxian political theorists might add to the discussion by pointing out that the poor tend to have jobs with very low pay, autonomy, and creativity, leading them to frustration, fatalism, and apathy. Why bother making efforts to learn about politics if little can be done to improve the status quo (or so it might seem)? A related argument would emphasize that the poor are typically too busy working exhausting, often hazardous jobs, just to pay the bills, leaving little time and energy to spare for politics. An especially ground-down, fatalistic, distracted group would certainly have fewer capabilities (in this context, time, energy, attention, and/or hope), opportunities, and motivations to acquire political information. A different sort of motivation-based argument might highlight the decreasing relevance of explicitly class-

oriented electoral politics at least in party platforms and in national political rhetoric due to the so-called postmaterialist turn, leaving many issues the poor might favor increasingly off the political agenda. That argument, which one might nd within the debate about the so-called end to class politics, has limited use here for two reasons.13 First, the end of class politics debate focuses on electoral changes in post-industrialized democracies, while this paper analyzes a broader set of cases. Second, the link between income and political knowledge existed before and after the onset of post-materialism (e.g. Converse, 1964; Tichenor et al., 1970; Delli Carpini and Keeter, 1996; Bennett et al., 1996; Grnlund and Milner, 2006). Overall, while we have abundant over-time evidence linking income to political knowledge, and there are many plausible mechanisms linking relative poverty and political ignorance, more systematic research is needed to examine the connection.

3.2. Why would poorer voters choose left parties? Once poorer voters became better informed, why would they be more likely to choose left parties? Although left parties vary within and across countries, they tend to share the common goals of increasing social equality, remedying market failures, and promoting (downwardly owing) redistributive policies (see, e.g. Cronin et al., 2011; Levitsky and Roberts, 2011: 5). These kinds of commitments exist even in cases where center-left parties have embraced elements of neoliberalism. For instance, (New) Labour in the U.K. and the Democratic Party in the U.S., despite their centripetal tendencies toward the ideological center, have remained relatively more supportive of redistribution and social safety nets compared with their conservative opponents, even if their equity commitments are increasingly expressed in defensive postures that is, defending the welfare state status quo against right-wing retrenchment attempts (e.g. U.S. Democrats defense of Social Security after President George W. Bush sought partial privatization in 2005). In these and other cases, well informed voters would know that it is typically left parties who promise (and sometimes even deliver) policies promoting downward redistribution and greater social equality. Very well informed voters in the U.S. would know the Democratic Party is less likely than the Republican Party to cut or gut programs like Social Security, and more likely to try to increase unemployment insurance and government support for health care. In the U.K., well informed voters would know Labour is less likely than the Conservatives to promote austerity, at least when education, health care, or other welfare programs are targeted. While center-left parties social equity goals might sometimes be couched in capitalist language e.g. programs that aim to build human capital the idea still is to promote state-funded opportunities that, in their best manifestations,

12 There is also of course the false consciousness argument prominent in Marxist political theory. A more contemporary argument along the same lines is Frank (2005). See also Bartelss (2006) critique.

13 Despite condent claims by analysts about the decline of class-based voting, especially in Western Europe, the jury is still out on the matter. For arguments supporting the decline theory, see Franklin et al., (1992); Nieuwbeerta and de Graaf (1999). For arguments critical of decline, see Bartels (2006); Elff (2007); Evans (2000); Manza et al. (1995).


J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815

disproportionately benet the disadvantaged (although everyone arguably benets, even if indirectly). Left and center-left parties greater relative commitment to redistribution and social equality also remains in party systems that have weathered post-materialist transformations. Kitschelts (1994) new axis of post-materialist party competition in Western Europe, for instance, did not do away with the older materialist, redistributivist dimension. Left parties surviving and thriving after the transformation have found niches somewhere on the old left side of his two-dimensional spectrum, although they have also needed to contend with the new new left dimension. 3.3. Conclusion While the enlightened natural constituency argument is ubiquitous, it has unfortunately not been subjected to much systematic analysis. Bartels (1996) did estimate what American elections might look like with a better informed electorate and unexpectedly found a shift to the right. While interesting, Bartelss observation does not alone disconrm the hypothesis about how voter ignorance disadvantages the left.14 It may satisfy Americanists, but comparativists and democratic theorists require more evidence before concluding the case is representative of other (or most) democracies. 4. Data and methods Three questions remain insufciently answered: (1) Would individuals especially those with lower incomes make different vote choices once armed with more electorally relevant political information? (2) Would those individuals disproportionately switch toward left or center-left parties? (3) Would electorates make different collective choices if voter ignorance was not as widespread a problem? That is, would political history change and change toward the left if electorates were better informed? To address these questions I used a regression-based simulation method to estimate how additional electorally relevant political information might have affected voting at the individual and aggregate levels in twenty-seven democracies in Asia, Australasia, Europe (East and West), North America, and South America. The most different systems design permitted analysis across a variety of political environments (Przeworski and Teune, 1970). One advantage of the design was that it offered insights about whether information effects changes in voting behavior due to added electorally relevant political knowledge were likely to occur everywhere, as the theoretical arguments suggest, or whether vote changes were more likely in certain types of democracies (e.g. more proportional, multiparty systems). Moreover, the design lets us observe

whether signicant (i.e. historically consequential) vote switching is likely to be a general phenomenon, or whether it is more likely limited to specic types of political systems. The multi-step statistical simulation procedure originally developed by Scott Althaus (1998, 2003) for a study of Americans policy preferences used existing survey data to simulate a fully informed sample for counterfactual analysis.15 The rst of three steps in the simulation procedure involved running a multinomial logit model, regressing vote choices on demographic traits, a political knowledge (PK) index, and interactions between all of these traits and the PK index (described below).16 Estimating those statistical relationships provided coefcients used to simulate vote preferences for the same respondents under better information conditions. The second step involved estimating each respondents vote choice with higher PK scores. This involved plugging the coefcient values obtained from step one into each respondents actual demographic characteristics, substituting only the new values of the altered knowledge variable and interaction terms (Althaus, 2003: 103). The altered knowledge variable was the highest PK score of the sample for example, 9.79/10 in Australia or 8.5/10 in Brazil which was assigned to all respondents in the simulation. The altered. interaction terms refers to a re-calculated set of interaction variables that were needed because of the inclusion of the new PK scores for example, in Australia, 9.79*gender, 9.79*education, and 9.79*income (etc.). The new values helped generate a predicted probability of a vote choice for each respondent under superior information conditions. That is, all individual respondents obtained a new, simulated vote variable (VoteSim) that was comparable with the original, self-reported vote variable from the CSES surveys (VoteOrig). Comparisons of VoteSim with VoteOrig allowed both individual-level and aggregate-level analysis. For example, I was able to determine how many individuals switched their votes in each case (e.g. 26.9% in Australia), and the extent to which switching was more likely among individuals in lower income groups.17 The two vote variables also permitted estimations of the net, aggregate effect of switching in each case. There might have been lots of switching toward the British Labour Party, for example,

14 There is also the voluminous literature on the rise of radical right parties in Europe, which has found that many less educated, lower income workers traditionally the lefts natural constituency have supported populist right-wing parties espousing anti-immigrant, antiglobalization messages in the last two decades. See, e.g. Norris (2005); Givens (2005).

15 Professor Althaus generously shared additional details via email on December 4, 2006. Althauss method of simulating preferences exploits a quirk in SPSS whereby the program automatically generates predicted probabilities (e.g. voting preference) for all cases that have valid values for the independent variables (IVs) in a regression model, even if dependent variables for those cases are missing. Thus, data les can be built using the original set of cases as well as a manipulated set. The latter contains cases with the same values on the independent variables except for: (1) political knowledge and (2) interactions between political knowledge and the IVs. 16 One advantage of using logit models in this context is that we can avoid assuming a linear relationship between political knowledge and vote choice (Althaus, 2003: 323). 17 By switching or switchers, I am referring to my comparisons of those individuals whose votes in the simulations were different than their reported votes in the CSES surveys (i.e. their self-reported actual votes).

J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815


but there might also have been equal numbers of voters switching over to the Conservatives, which would not have changed the nal result at all. The analysis allowed observations of these kinds of net effects, as well as the advantaged and disadvantaged parties in each case. Thus, the third and last step in the simulation method involved comparing the collective choices of the actual (i.e. the ofcial recorded vote totals) and simulated electorates (i.e. tabulations of VoteSim), using the aggregated vote choices of the latter.18 Following Althaus, who assumed that as information levels rise, the proportion of people who. turn out to vote should also rise (323), I included in the analysis (i.e. estimated vote choices for): (1) respondents who answered dont know or refused to answer the survey question about vote choice; and (2) respondents who indicated they had not voted.19 Overall, the simulation procedure generated vote choices (VoteSim) for all individuals who had valid values for the demographic values as well as information with which to construct a political knowledge score. In general, the procedure allowed me to estimate the conditional probabilities of new choices that would accompany new information (Sekhon, 2004).

4.1. The party knowledge index All of the analyses were performed using survey data from Module 2 of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES).20 Only those cases with relevant political knowledge items were included in the analysis. The index of political knowledge compared survey respondents perceptions of party locations on a left-right (LR) scale with parties actual positions, estimated by CSES country experts (i.e. political scientists from each country who specialized in the politics of that country).21 The index, adapted from a similar measure Gordon and Segura (1997) used for analysis of Eurobarometer surveys, was constructed by rst calculating differences between expert and respondent LR placements on a 10-point scale for each rated party.

Respondents were asked the LR location of all parties rated by experts, who focused only on parties with at least 3% of the national vote.22 All of the remaining, smaller parties selected by voters were placed in a separate other category. Each individual obtained an average expertrespondent deviation score (i.e. total deviation divided by the number of rated parties). For ease of interpretation, I inverted the variable so a higher score indicated more knowledge of parties positions. Political knowledge means and standard deviations for each case, and for each income sub-group, are presented in the web appendix. Parties LR locations, as estimated by CSES experts, are presented in Appendix A.23 In general, the political knowledge index developed for the study is a valuable measure of citizens electorally relevant political knowledge, and it has some real advantages compared with the alternatives. One of the alternatives, Converses (1964) issue-consistency index, has proven to be one of the most valid and reliable measures of political knowledge (or political awareness, sophistication, etc.). The CSES survey, however, did not offer the appropriate quantity and quality of items to construct the issue-consistency index. Even if the items were available, the measure might have introduced serious cross-national reliability problems, given each countrys varied and often incomparable policy agendas. Another option with proven validity and reliability, a measure consisting solely of survey interviewers subjective assessments of respondents political knowledge (e.g. Bartels, 1996), was similarly unavailable in the CSES, and might also be better suited to single-country studies because of potential cross-national reliability problems. Norwegian interviewers, for instance, might be more forgiving in their judgments of Norwegian respondents than Germans interviewers are of German respondents. Another general disadvantage of using interviewers subjective assessments involves the possibility of interviewer bias based on respondents ethnicity, gender, or

Some have criticized the simulation approach based on its underlying assumption about political preferences. That is, individuals with similar characteristics determined by generally stable, fundamental variables (e.g. education, gender) would have similar preferences with full information. Niemi and Weisberg (2001: 103) challenge this assumption, arguing that we cannot expect demographic twins to behave the same way with the same information. However, if we concede in conventional voting models that factors like income, ethnicity, or gender help predict vote choices, then we should be able to make similar inferences in simulation models that employ some of the same statistical techniques. Moreover, the models deployed by Althaus and others emphatically reject simple bivariate relationships between, say, race or class with policy or vote choices. Instead, they match similarly situated individuals based on a wide range of variables who only differ in their level of political knowledge. 19 Research supporting the link between information and turnout is well developed. Geys (2006) provides a nice review. 20 Sample and demographic weights were applied whenever they were available. I excluded Belgium from the analysis mainly because the bifurcated regional party system (Flanders, Walloon) created within-case comparison and measurement problems. 21 See the names of these experts.


22 Instead of comparing experts party placements with survey respondents, Gordon and Segura used each samples mean perception as the correct one. My usage of the experts placements assumed the experts were better informed than the mean citizen in each sample. As noted above and in many other places, the average citizen typically does not know very much about politics, let alone more sophisticated concepts like left-right ideology. Interestingly, Gordon and Segura considered using expert perceptions (p. 134), and found them reliable and valid, but instead chose the sample mean placement as the true party location. 23 For the table Political Knowledge Index (Income Group Means and Standard Deviations), see the web appendix at site/webappendix/. Though the debate about how to handle dont know answers and non-responses has not been conclusively settled, there was enough evidence to justify treating those answers as incorrect. See Mondak (1999) and responses by Luskin and Bullock (2005) and Sturgis et al. (2005). In the context of placing parties on a LR scale, dealing with dont know responses, however, proved trickier compared with conventional factual knowledge items, which are usually dichotomous (i. e. incorrect is 0). Since there was no clear incorrect response on the 10 point scale that is, how do we code a dont know if an expert placed the party at 6 an alternative was needed. Following Gordon and Segura (1997), I assigned each missing response a score that consisted of the country mean plus or minus one standard deviation (in the direction away from the real and average party positions).


J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815

other characteristics. Although Zaller (1985, cited in Bartels, 1996) demonstrated this was not a factor in the U.S. in the 1980s, we cannot rule out the possibility of bias in other times and places. The CSES did offer commonly used proxy measures of political knowledge, such as education level and selfreported political interest. While education is indeed an important determinant of citizen political awareness, it is not a failsafe proxy. Systematic research (and perhaps our personal experiences) tells us educated people are not necessarily politically aware. That is one reason why so much effort has been put into research over many decades on the determinants of political awareness if our intuitions that education or political interest equals awareness were true, survey researchers would have completed the job long ago. Indeed, scholars have found many other factors to be just as or more important. In the absence of better options, proxies like education are useful approximations (e.g. Olken, 2009). However, the proxy option was rejected in favor of the more direct measure described above.24 Another commonly used, and available, possibility was an index tapping respondents knowledge of political facts. Among other advantages, factual knowledge indices avoid potential response biases (e.g. pleasing the interviewer), because respondents either know or do not know the answers to unambiguous questions like What is the name of the Vice President? Knowing the extent to which people know the answers to factual questions provides useful information about an individuals political awareness, especially given the huge variance in levels of political knowledge across populations documented by scores of studies. As Converse (2006: 304) pointed out, with even a handful of good questions, we can conclude: Persons who get a perfect score will be very different political animals from those who score at the bottom. The reason that even a few stray information items can be a very usefully diagnostic is exactly because of a property of political apperception masses. the fact that the variance in the volume of these working political apperceptions across persons in a modern electorate is simply huge. And it is elementary quantitative inference that you can measure to a given level of reliability with many fewer assays when the natural variance of a quantity is high than when it is small. Even a few pokes at information levels, and the observer is

becoming quite well oriented as to expectations for other probes. Despite their usefulness, factual knowledge indices do have their problems. They can be criticized for reifying a shallow construct of political awareness (e.g. questions like the one about the Vice Presidents name), or for ignoring gender biases in the selection of questions or the propensity to guess (Mondak and Anderson, 2004; Stolle and Gidengil, 2010). They also introduce potential reliability problems for cross-national analysis. For instance, Germans were asked in their CSES survey to identify the foreign minister, the number of Lnder, and the number of EU members. New Zealanders, on the other hand, were asked whether Cabinet Ministers must be MPs, whether there are 99 members of Parliament, and whether New Zealand has ever had an upper house in its parliament. Although, as Converse noted, even the series of three questions in each survey can provide useful information about a countrys distribution of political knowledge, the questions in Germany and New Zealand (and elsewhere) come from separate domains and are of incomparable difculty. Getting a 70% score in Germany might be quite different from a 70% in New Zealand. The potential reliability problems become even more serious once we add dozens of other cases (twenty-seven in this study).25 The party knowledge index, compared with the alternatives, was the most direct and reliable measure of political knowledge about voters available electoral choices. It is also a generally intuitive measure. It assumes, for example, a voter in the U.S. in 2004 who thought George W. Bushs Republicans were a liberal/left-wing party and John Kerrys Democrats were a conservative/right-wing party was less politically aware than her neighbors who knew the parties absolute and/or relative locations. In addition to having more (or better) electorally relevant political knowledge, the better informed neighbor was also someone who could connect abstract concepts like the leftright spectrum with real-world politics (Gordon and Segura, 1997). Overall, the party knowledge index seemed the best option, given the nature of the data, as well as the practical and conceptual advantages and disadvantages of the available alternatives.

4.2. Income and other measures Because of incomes centrality to the analysis (i.e. it drives the enlightened natural constituency argument), I used multiple imputation to resolve the problem of large numbers of missing income values. The multiple imputation model for all country surveys, except Sweden and the UK, which contained no missing income values, included education, age, gender, marital status, urban/rural location, and occupation. The multiple imputation procedure generated ve values for income for each respondent. I calculated the mean of the ve values to create a single

24 The other common proxy mentioned above uses respondents selfassessments of their own political awareness (or sometimes political interest). Again, in the absence of better data, respondents selfassessments are probably useful, especially in studies examining citizen apathy and system support. However, this kind of measure probably comes with hard to control biases, including response bias (i.e. pleasing the interviewer) or other manifestations of respondents painting themselves in a more positive light. The positive bias might be universal, but some populations might be more inaccurate in their self-assessments than others. Americans and Canadians for example, might both inate their levels of awareness, but Americans might be even worse. Knowing how much each sample inated their self-assessments would be interesting, but requires information not available in the CSES.

25 Elff (2009) found serious equivalence problems with the CSESs factual knowledge questions.

J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815


income value for each respondent who had previously lacked one.26 Other demographic characteristics used in each simulation (i.e. each voting model) included: education, income, age, gender, marital status, urban/rural residence, union membership, occupation, region, religious attendance, and party identication. Each of these measures was measured identically across the CSES cases used in the analysis. See the web appendix for a more complete description of these variables.27

Table 1 Vote switching with more political knowledge, % all voters (bootstrapped standard errors). Switchers Australia Brazil Bulgaria Canada Czech Rep. Denmark Finland France Germany Hungary Iceland Ireland Israel Japan Korea Mexico Netherlands New Zealand Norway Poland Portugal Spain Sweden Switzerland Taiwan UK USA 26.9 60.5 51.0 46.0 68.7 26.8 58.6 69.2 43.8 54.8 45.4 50.2 48.3 48.9 60.9 69.8 46.0 53.5 37.2 71.1 53.4 46.6 35.3 63.9 82.4 39.8 37.2 (1.3) (0.0) (0.0) (0.0) (1.6) (1.0) (1.5) (0.1) (0.0) (0.0) (1.4) (0.0) (1.6) (0.0) (1.5) (0.0) (0.0) (0.0) (1.1) (0.0) (1.1) (0.0) (1.5) (0.0) (0.9) (0.0) (0.1) Left switchers 8.1 30.5 1.3 9.9 10.9 3.6 27.3 32.0 11.7 8.1 14.2 10.7 9.7 9.8 27.5 20.1 11.8 8.4 8.3 23.5 6.0 8.1 8.7 23.8 27.6 17.7 14.5 (0.8) (0.0) (0.0) (0.0) (1.1) (0.4) (1.3) (0.1) (0.0) (0.0) (1.0) (0.0) (0.9) (0.0) (1.4) (0.0) (0.0) (0.0) (0.6) (0.0) (0.6) (0.0) (0.9) (0.0) (1.1) (0.0) (0.0) Right switchers 3.8 (0.6) 0a 21.3 (0.0) 21.1 (0.0) 40.6 (1.7) 2.9 (0.4) 17.7 (1.2) 15.0 (0.0) 10.5 (0.0) 11.2 (0.0) 12.5 (0.9) 17.7 (0.0) 10.0 (0.9) 16.5 (0.0) 14.9 (1.2) 15.7 (0.0) 4.7 (0.0) 26.7 (0.0) 15.6 (0.8) 28.5 (0.0) 13.7 (0.8) 20.4 (0.0) 11.3 (1.0) 19.9 (0.0) 31.6 (1.0) 7.0 (0.0) 10.9 (0.0)

5. Empirical results If information shortcuts work as effectively as some theorists allege, the voting behavior of individuals who differ only in levels of political knowledge would be identical. Why would voters change their minds once they obtained more information if cues allowed them to make essentially the same choices regardless of their levels of political knowledge? The simulations offered many reasons to be skeptical about the claim that less informed voters make choices as if they are better informed. Table 1, for instance, shows many voters, in all twenty-seven elections, probably would have switched their votes if they had been better informed at the polls. The simulations in fact indicated solid majorities of voters in many cases (the mean was 51.5%) would probably have chosen differently with more and better electorally-relevant political knowledge.28 The enlightened natural constituency argument presented above predicted not only lots of vote switching, but also potentially game-changing movements to left and center-left political parties. Recall the three-part argument: (1) voters in lower socioeconomic strata are left parties natural constituency; (2) voters in lower socioeconomic strata tend to possess less political knowledge; thus, (3) if political knowledge were somehow equalized and maximized within an electorate, we would observe more left switching than right switching, since more voters who would have naturally supported the left previously did not

Note: Standard errors were computed with a non-parametric bootstrap, based on 1000 resamplings from the data. a Brazilian voters did not have a right or center-right option in the 2002 election.

26 There are other ways of measuring and observing the behavior of citizens who might be described as the lefts natural constituency. Sociologists who study social stratication, for example, have emphasized the importance of education level, occupation, gender, age, and ethnicity. See, for example, Wright (1997); Bourdieu (1993); Kerbo (2007) all of which build upon the foundational work of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. However, as argued above, there are multiple reasons why left parties should have a natural attraction for lower income voters. And, as noted, since the relatively poor tend to be less informed about politics, an inux of electorally relevant information (i.e. as in the simulations) will ow disproportionately to the relatively poor. Once becoming better informed, these voters will, rst, be able to discern differences among parties. Then, because the best informed voters in a country in the simulations, all voters also arguably have useful knowledge about the meaning of left/ right differences (e.g. left parties offer downward redistribution more than right parties), the relatively poor will have the information to identify parties that promote their economic interests. Other measures might also be useful, but income is indeed central to at least this study. 27 See 28 Due to space limitations here, all of the results from twenty-seven multinomial logit regression analyses are available on the web appendix,

possess sufcient information to effectively distinguish among parties. Boiling this down to a testable proposition, we can say more political knowledge in an electorate would disproportionately benet the left. The columns left switchers and right switchers in Table 1 offer some guidance on this question, as they show the political direction of individuals vote switching. Note that the columns include only those voters who switched from one ideological category to another that is, from left to right, right to left, center to left or right, other to left or right, or abstention to left or right. That is, the left switchers column does not include individuals who switched from one left party to another for example, from the Socialists to Green Left in the Netherlands. Similarly, right switchers does not include those who switched from one right party to another for example, in the Netherlands, from List Pim Fortuyn to the Peoples Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie). Nevertheless, the results show substantial numbers of left switchers (cross-national mean 14.5%), although there were also many voters who moved to the right (mean 15.7%). Indeed, more individuals in the simulations switched right in about half of the cases (14 out of 27). The individual-level results also show a great deal of variation across cases (e.g. from 1.3% left switchers in Bulgaria to 30.5% in Brazil). However, given the unobserved differences within-ideological group switching, which is partly a function of the number of left and right parties within each case, we should be wary in drawing


J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815 Table 2 Aggregate changes in voting (left, right, center, other).

conclusions from these numbers. Still, knowing that (e.g.) about 32% of French citizens would likely have switched to left parties (from the right, center, or abstention) with more electorally relevant political information does suggest a pretty severe selection problem in the 2002 French informational status quo. Table 2 aggregates the individual-level results. In particular, it shows the magnitude of estimated left and right party gains or losses in the better informed electorates. The columns show summations of the changes in party fates for each ideological party group.29 For example, in the simulation for France, the Socialist Party gained 1.1% more voters, while the Workers Struggle (1.9%), Republican and Civic Movement (1.3%), Greens (10.6%), Revolutionary Communist League (4.9%), French Communist Party (1.9%), and three other small left parties (0.7) experienced different gains and losses.30 Altogether, left parties added 10.8% to their vote total in the 2002 election. The (virtual) French experience was not unique. In 13 of 27 (48%) of the simulated elections, left parties gained anywhere from 0.6 to 11.5 percentage points, while the mean and standard deviation across all 27 cases was 0.25 and 8.4, respectively. However, left parties lost out in the same number of cases, while Japan was the only case where the electoral left would have seen no change in vote totals (i.e. the Japanese Communist Party gained 1.4%, while the Social Democratic Party lost 1.4% in the simulation). All of the estimated changes to party fortunes, as well as parties real ideological locations, as estimated by CSES experts, can be seen in Appendix A. At this point, the results do not look too favorably upon a universally applicable enlightened natural constituency hypothesis, since left parties as a group lost support in as many cases as they gained. However, the results are inconclusive for two reasons. First, a more complete understanding of the political consequences of these infusions of political knowledge would require an equation combining left and right aggregate changes with changes to centrist parties, as well as those grouped in the small, nonideological others category. This is why the values in the rst two columns of Table 1 are rarely mirror images (DLeft and DRight). Second, we need to engage in some informed speculation about government formation after elections. Except for the few places where vote totals translate directly into the composition of governments (e.g. clear majority seat winners in parliamentary systems), knowing the distribution of votes only gets us halfway to understanding whether better informed electorates would produce different leaders. The next section uses the simulation results to piece together counterfactual electoral histories in several of the twenty-seven cases to further illustrate the political consequences of voter ignorance (space limitations prevented analysis of all).

Australia Brazil Bulgaria Canada Czech Rep. Denmark Finland France Germany Hungary Iceland Ireland Israel Japan Korea Mexico Netherlands New Zealand Norway Poland Portugal Spain Sweden Switzerland Taiwan UK USA 2.9 7.9 8.2 10.3 23.2 5.5 10.0 10.8 0.2 11.6 2.5 0.6 6.1 0 3.8 7.2 7.3 11.7 4.7 6.5 0.5 3.4 5.5 11.7 9.3 7 3.9

DRight DCenter DOther Net left change

7.2 3.8 14.5 25.4 7.8 6.7 10.9 2.7 2.3 5.3 5.2 12.9 2.2 7.1 4.1 18.3 17.9 6.1 6.9 6.5 0.2 1 9.4 16.8 7 7.6 7.4 13.9 2.9 0.4 11.4 8.4 0.7 6.6 3 0.8 3.2 6.9 3.3 4.4 1.9 1.3 2.1 12.8 3.5 3 2.5 7.7 4.4 1.6 1.5 3.2 3.5 8.1 6.2 0.6 2.9 13.8 3.6 4.5 2.1 4.1 0.1 11.5 5.7 15.3 16.4 20.6 46.5 10.9 20.2 21.7 0.5 23.2 4.9 1.4 12.3 0.0 7.7 14.3 14.5 23.4 9.4 13.1 0.9 6.8 11.0 23.2 18.7 13.9 7.7

Note: Sometimes totals dont add up to 100 because of rounding.

5.1. Counterfactual electoral histories Fig. 1 shows the net change in left parties vote totals that is, left party gains and losses after incorporating changes to right, center, and other parties. The estimated changes were clearly mixed, with about equal net gains and

29 Chi-square tests conrmed that the differences between actual and simulated vote totals were statistically signicant. The Wilcoxon sign test similarly conrmed statistically signicant differences when comparing VoteOrig and VoteSim. 30 The smaller left parties include the Left Radical Party; Citizenship, Action, Participation for the 21st Century; and the Party of the Workers.

Fig. 1. Net left change.

J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815


losses across cases (mean 1.0, standard deviation 16.9). In some places net gains for left parties with better informed electorates were quite large, with gains above 10% in Switzerland, France, Finland, Taiwan, Brazil, the Netherlands, Mexico, the U.K., and Israel (the rst three had gains of about 20% or more). However, net left losses in several other places were just as substantial, especially in the Czech Republic (46.5%!), New Zealand, Hungary, Canada, Bulgaria, Poland, Sweden, and Denmark (all of these cases had net left losses of over 10%). Notice how hard hit the left would have been in the former Eastern Bloc countries that were once ruled by various Communist parties who, deservedly or not, were associated with the political left in the region (i.e. instead of mere authoritarianism masquerading as Communism). The likely political consequences (i.e. government formation and its aftermath) are probably easier to predict in places with large net left changes than in countries with smaller net changes (see Appendix A). Still, some of the former are worth highlighting, because of the potentially31 enormous historical consequences that would have followed. Take, for example, the 2003 Israeli Knesset election. If Israeli voters had been better informed, Ariel Sharons Likud Party would likely have suffered about a nine point loss, just enough to put the centrist liberal-secular party Shinui (with 20.7% in the simulation, as opposed to 12.3% in reality), instead of Likud, in the drivers seat (as formateur) for coalition formation. While Shinui might still have formed a right-leaning cabinet, including Likud, who formed the government in reality, the process could have plausibly gone in the other direction, with Shinui putting together a coalition with Labour (15.4%), Meretz (10.5%), and other smaller, secular parties. In any case, Shinuis control of the cabinet would have broken open the longrunning Likud/Labour alternation of control of the government.32 It would also have prevented Sharon from becoming Prime Minister who, among other actions, chose in 2004 to unilaterally disengage from Gaza, which created the political space for Hamas to take control there after the 2006 Palestinian election. Sharon also shook things up by defecting with many supporters from Likud to form the Kadima Party, which, after a later electoral victory leaving the incumbent Sharon as Prime Minister, led the invasions of Lebanon and Gaza. Without Sharons leadership, Kadima might never have been formed, and the wars Likud-Kadima initiated might have been avoided, which, among other things, could have perhaps created opportunities for post-Oslo Accord peace negotiations. In the French presidential contest in 2002, better informed voters would likely have sent Lionel Jospin (Socialist Party) and Nol Mamre (Greens), both left-leaning candidates, into the second round, rather than the radical right Jean-Marie Le Pen (National Front) and the incumbent Jacques Chirac (Rally for the Republic). Chiracs overwhelming second round landslide in the actual election was due to widespread rejection of Le Pens extremism. Even left-wing voters who generally

despised Chirac voted for him. Overall, competitive right-wing populist parties in Western Europe and beyond generally suffered in the counterfactual analyses with better informed electorates from Le Pens National Front (13%) to the Danish Peoples Party (4.5%), List Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands (8.4%), the Progress Party in Norway (4.1%), and the New Zealand First Party (4.4%). In addition to illustrating just how different politics and policy might have been in these counterfactual realities, the Israeli case from above shows some of the difculties of interpreting how the new (simulated) results would have affected the composition of governments. Germany provides another example. In the counterfactual election, the Social Democrats (SPD) still would have won the most votes, which would likely have given them the rst opportunity to form a coalition. However, with a much reduced plurality (31% instead of 38.5%), the SPD would have needed to give their Green partners (Alliance 90/Greens) an even greater stake in the post-election cabinet, as the Greens improved their (virtual) standing by 4.2%. Joschka Fischer (Greens) probably would have still taken the Vice Chancellor and Foreign Ministry cabinet seats, but other Greens would have probably negotiated for additional key ministries (held by the SPD in reality after 2002). However, Fischer and incumbent Chancellor Gerhard Schrder (SPD) would have needed to open up the cabinet to the Party of Democratic Socialism (3.1% in the simulation) to secure a parliamentary majority. As a result, Schrders government would likely have had a more distinct left-wing approach to governance, rather than the Third Way approach that garnered him and the SPD so much criticism from the German left. Overall, however, due to the vagaries of coalition bargaining after elections in parliamentary systems, we cannot be certain what might have transpired (i.e. who would have formed governments) in Germany or other countries, though some parties would surely have improved or worsened their bargaining positions. For example, the dramatic 2002 election in the Netherlands brought about the end of a long-ruling Labour-led (PvdA) government, which lost power to an ascendant right-wing coalition led by Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), but propelled to victory by the assassination of the populist right politician Pim Fortuyn, whose death apparently inspired many Dutch voters to submit protest votes against the assassin and terrorism more generally.33 According to the simulation, however, a well-informed Dutch electorate would have cut their support for Fortuyns party by 8.4%, and coalition leader CDA would have also lost 7%, bringing the coalitions total (including VVD) base of support to 42%, about a third less than 2002s actual total (60.3%). PvdAs incumbent purple cabinet with D66 and VVD still would not have had the seats to maintain the status quo, but plurality winner PvdA, as the formateur, might have enticed the remaining left parties, or some smaller parties (others), into a new coalition. If VVD agreed in this alternate history to join a cabinet with the Green Left and the Socialists both of which fared better in the simulation than in reality than the PvdA

31 See below for the reasons why we should treat these results cautiously. 32 Arian (2004, chapter 5) and Arian and Shamir (2005).

33 Van Holsteyn and Irwin (2003); Pennings and Keman (2003); Blanger and Aarts (2006).


J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815

would have remained in power, leading an oversized coalition with 55.9% of the vote (D66s participation actually would not have been crucial). Whether or not VVD would have agreed to the deal is impossible to know. However, during that era of Dutch politics, VVD did seem to be motivated more by ofce and power considerations than by policy concerns, which suggests their participation would have been plausible (Mller and Strm, 1999). All told, these results present strongly suggestive evidence that history would likely have unfolded quite differently had these electorates been better informed about the range of political parties from which they needed to choose. Of course, the simulations are hypothetical reections of complex reality. Extremely well informed populations are unlikely ever to exist, and if they did, electoral politics would already look quite different. Politicians, journalists, and other elite participants in campaigns would likely change their behaviors when faced with a well-informed citizenry, and we would

probably observe a very different distribution of political parties in each case in the rst place (e.g. some of the parties studied here would not exist, new ones would have emerged). Plus, any counterfactual history arising from the simulations cannot completely grapple with an enormously important factor in government formation: electoral rules that translate votes into seats. We can, for example, appreciate the insights the simulation provides into what would have happened in the U.K. with a better informed electorate (i.e. Labour and the Liberal Democrats would benet, and the Conservatives would not). However, given the U.K.s high level of vote/seat disproportionality resulting from its single-member district plurality electoral system, and the Liberal Democrats geographically concentrated bloc of voting support, the simulation does not tell us the seat distribution following the hypothetical election. A nal caveat comes from the varied magnitudes of the bootstrapped standard errors seen in Appendix A (as well as Tables 2 and 3a). The larger

Table 3 Vote switching by income quintiles. Lowest Australia Brazil Bulgaria Canada Czech Rep. Denmark Finland France Germany Hungary Iceland Ireland Israel Japan Korea Mexico Netherlands New Zealand Norway Poland Portugal Spain 30.8% 67.5% 51.3% 57.9% 69.0% 26.9% 68.6% 71.2% 47.6% 72.1% 45.5% 48.1% 50.0% 54.0% 68.1% 67.9% 50.3% 44.9% 48.1% 77.4% 59.0% 42.4% Second 24.4% 62.5% 47.1% 48.3% 73.3% 29.4% 62.5% 73.4% 44.3% 59.2% 54.8% 54.0% 48.7% 49.6% 62.1% 68.7% 47.0% 56.1% 41.3% 72.8% 56.4% 45.9% Third 26.5% 56.3% 49.3% 39.0% 65.3% 27.5% 56.3% 71.4% 45.8% 56.2% 45.4% 49.4% 44.8% 49.0% 61.9% 74.1% 48.7% 54.8% 36.4% 75.9% 53.8% 50.4% Fourth 29.4% 60.1% 55.4% 49.2% 71.9% 26.7% 53.1% 67.2% 44.6% 48.8% 43.4% 47.4% 53.3% 47.0% 53.6% 70.8% 41.5% 51.2% 30.3% 63.9% 50.0% 34.7% Highest 24.7% 57.1% 52.8% 33.3% 61.4% 23.4% 53.5% 61.3% 37.0% 39.1% 34.9% 53.8% 43.7% 43.9% 30.0% 66.1% 43.7% 58.1% 27.3% 61.7% 38.6% 46.7% Lowesthighest 6.1% 10.4% 1.5% 24.6% 7.6% 3.5% 15.1% 9.9% 10.6% 33.0% 10.6% 5.7% 6.3% 10.1% 38.1% 1.8% 6.6% 13.2% 20.8% 15.7% 20.4% 4.3% Lowest 2highest 2a 0.6% 6.4% 4.9% 11.9% 4.5% 3.1% 12.3% 8.0% 5.2% 21.7% 11.0% 0.4% 0.9% 6.4% 23.3% 0.1% 6.1% 4.2% 15.9% 12.3% 13.4% 3.5% Pattern across income groups

J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815 Table 3 (continued ) Lowest Sweden Switzerland Taiwan UK USA MEAN 39.3% 69.1% 81.8% 45.9% 63.6% 56.2% Second 43.4% 67.2% 83.1% 42.1% 46.1% 54.2% Third 38.5% 65.3% 83.4% 40.0% 28.7% 51.6% Fourth 31.9% 57.3% 83.8% 35.0% 28.9% 49.3% Highest 23.1% 58.3% 79.5% 32.5% 18.5% 44.6% Lowesthighest 16.2% 10.8% 2.3% 13.4% 45.1% 11.6% Lowest 2highest 2a 13.9% 10.4% 0.8% 10.3% 31.2% 8.3%


Pattern across income groups

Table 3a. Bootstrapped standard errors (for Table 3) Lowest Australia Brazil Bulgaria Canada Czech Rep. Denmark Finland France Germany Hungary Iceland Ireland Israel Japan Korea Mexico Netherlands New Zealand Norway Poland Portugal Spain Sweden Switzerland Taiwan UK USA 2.4 0.1 0.1 0.1 3.9 2.4 3.8 0.1 0.1 0.1 3.3 0 3.9 0.1 4.4 0 0.1 0.1 2.5 0.1 4.1 0.2 4 0.1 1.7 0.1 0.1 Second 2.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 3.3 2.3 2.9 0.1 0.1 0.1 3 0 3.3 0.1 3.1 0 0.1 0.1 2.4 0.1 2 0.1 3.9 0.1 1.8 0.1 0.1 Third 2.4 0.1 0.1 0.1 3.4 2.3 3.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 3.1 0 3 0.1 2.3 0 0.1 0.1 2.2 0.1 1.9 0.1 2.8 0.1 2 0.1 0.1 Fourth 2.7 0.1 0.1 0.1 3.2 2.3 3.3 0.1 0.1 0.1 2.7 0 3.3 0.1 3.9 0 0.1 0.1 2.6 0.1 2.9 0.1 3 0.1 2.3 0.1 0.1 Highest 2.5 0.1 0.1 0.1 4.6 2.2 4 0.2 0.1 0.1 3.5 0 4.4 0.1 15.3 0 0.1 0.1 2.3 0.1 4.3 0.4 3.3 0.1 2.5 0.1 0.1

Note: Values are the percentage of each income group members who switched. Note: Standard errors were computed with a non-parametric bootstrap, based on 1000 resamplings from the data. a Averages were used for lowest and highest two groups.

bootstrapped standard errors observed with (e.g.) Australias simulation, compared with Brazils, suggests we should attach more uncertainty to any conclusions reached for the former. Despite these limits, the exercise does begin to address the counterfactual questions at the heart of the voter ignorance debate: would individuals with more political information change their votes? Would enough individuals switch their votes in ways that would alter political history? And would critical masses of newly informed voters disproportionately move towards the left, as the ENC argument predicts? While the counterfactual histories show political histories would surely be different in many of the cases, and the individual-level analysis of the simulation results show very large number of voters would switch with more information, we are still left with a mixed body of evidence with which to evaluate the ENC argument. The aggregate results show many cases with large net left gains, but at the same time, there are just as

many cases with large net losses. Plus, we cannot explain away the latter with reference to the disproportionate presence of post-Communist Eastern European democracies all in the early 2000s still stuck with the legacies and tarnished reputations (fairly or not) of the left at the bottom of Fig. 1. New Zealand, Canada, and Sweden are all in the same ballpark (though not of the Czech Republic, which is clearly an outlier). Furthermore, we have yet to investigate whether the estimated vote switching in the simulations occurred across all income groups, or whether, as (a modied version of) the ENC suggests, lower income groups are more likely to switch, and switch left. 5.2. Income level and vote switching Because the relatively poor are disproportionately politically ignorant, we would expect an infusion of electorally relevant political information into a polity to cause

808 Table 4 Ideological direction of low income switchers. Lowest income group to left Australia Brazila Bulgaria Canada Czech Rep Denmark Finland France Germany Hungary Iceland Ireland Israel Japan Korea Mexico Neth. New Zeal. Norway Poland Portugal Spain Sweden Switz. Taiwan UK USA MEAN

J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815

Lowest to right 13.5% 67.1% 49.5% 66.0% 12.8% 28.3% 33.8% 22.1% 35.2% 29.3% 29.6% 21.4% 38.2% 6.5% 13.3% 9.4% 45.1% 43.7% 50.4% 29.4% 46.4% 25.4% 33.3% 39.8% 17.9% 11.6% 31.5%

Lowest two to left 23.2% 55.9% 3.7% 20.4% 12.2% 15.5% 54.0% 48.6% 31.3% 11.1% 26.5% 17.1% 14.7% 22.5% 45.2% 32.9% 25.9% 17.7% 26.3% 31.3% 7.9% 19.5% 25.2% 38.8% 33.2% 45.6% 42.1% 27.7%

Lowest two to right 13.4% 61.0% 48.6% 58.1% 11.7% 30.9% 28.3% 21.7% 26.2% 30.0% 30.4% 22.2% 37.9% 23.7% 17.0% 11.0% 40.0% 41.7% 43.9% 28.5% 45.2% 20.6% 28.6% 38.5% 15.9% 21.6% 30.6%

Leftright (lowest) 4.2% 59.2% 62.2% 29.4% 56.0% 1.0% 25.5% 9.5% 11.1% 24.8% 1.0% 9.2% 13.1% 20.4% 36.4% 16.2% 13.1% 24.1% 14.6% 23.9% 23.5% 28.6% 3.4% 1.3% 4.3% 23.2% 30.9% 4.0%

Leftright (two lowest) 9.8% 55.9% 57.3% 28.3% 45.9% 3.9% 23.0% 20.3% 9.5% 15.1% 3.5% 13.3% 7.6% 15.4% 21.5% 15.8% 14.9% 22.3% 15.3% 12.6% 20.6% 25.8% 4.6% 10.2% 5.3% 29.8% 20.5% 1.8%

17.6% 59.2% 4.9% 20.1% 10.0% 13.8% 53.8% 43.2% 33.1% 10.3% 28.3% 20.4% 8.3% 17.8% 42.9% 29.5% 22.5% 21.0% 29.2% 26.5% 5.9% 17.9% 22.0% 34.6% 35.5% 41.1% 42.5% 26.4%

Brazils 2002 election had no right parties with at least 3% of the vote.

more vote switching in lower compared with higher income groups. The simulation results in Table 3 indicate the relatively poor are indeed more likely to switch (Table 3a presents the bootstrapped standard errors). In 23 of 27 cases (85%), individuals from the lower income quintiles switched more frequently than those in the highest income quintiles. In Australia, for example, 30.8% of the poorest voters switched, compared with 24.7% of the richest. In the U.S., it was 63.6% versus 18.5% a difference of 45.1%, the largest of the set of cases. Across all of the cases, 56.2% of the poorest switched on average, compared with 44.6% of the richest. The average difference between the two groups the mean percent of low income switchers minus high income switchers was 11.6%. Broadening the analysis to compare switching within the two lowest and two highest income groups reveals a similar pattern. In 24 of 27 cases (89%), the poorer two groups were more likely to switch than their richer counterparts, with an average difference of 8.3%. Clearly, differences across groups varied crossnationally. The magnitude of switching varied, as did differences between the lower and higher groups. Some cases Bulgaria, Ireland, New Zealand, and Spain bucked the general trend. In those simulations, voters from higher income groups were more likely to switch once political knowledge was widespread and equal. In Mexico, the middle and upper-middle income groups were more likely to switch than the other groups. Nevertheless, a rough (virtual) downward sloping line from lowest to highest income groups was evident in most of the cases. The average sloping pattern across all 27 cases clearly shows the expected pattern, even if near-perfect linearity is

evident only in a smaller number of cases (Finland, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the U.K., and the U.S.). While lower income voters in the simulations were by and large more likely to switch, the counterfactual analysis did not show a consistent pattern with regard to switching to the left, in line with the ENC hypothesis. Table 4 shows, for each case, the percentage of switchers from the two lowest income groups who switched either to left or right parties (e.g. left switchers divided by total switchers for each group). In 12 of the 27 cases (44.4%), switchers from the lowest income group were more likely to switch left than right.34 Of course, that means the poorest voters were more likely to switch right than left in most (15, or 55.6%) of the cases analyzed here. Moreover, these results might overstate switchers left-leaning tendencies, because (real and simulated) voters in Brazil did not even have an opportunity to vote for or switch to a right-wing party. It is possible that more of Brazils poorest switchers in 2002 would still have switched left than right, but we have no way of knowing. Overall, the counterfactual analysis produced mixed evidence on the question of whether the poorest switchers were more likely to switch left than right. Broadening the analysis to include the two lowest income groups (i.e. not

34 Note that the numbers for all cases do not include switchers who moved from one left party to another left party, one right party to another, or those who switched to the center (and, as noted above, those who stayed put).

J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815 Table 5 Percentage of switchers who switched left. Lowest Australia Brazil* Bulgaria Canada Czech Rep. Denmark Finland France Germany Hungary Iceland Ireland Israel Japan Korea Mexico Netherlands New Zealand Norway Poland Portugal Spain Sweden Switzerland Taiwan UK USA 17.6% 59.2% 4.9% 20.1% 10.0% 13.8% 53.8% 43.2% 33.1% 10.3% 28.3% 20.4% 8.3% 17.8% 42.9% 29.5% 22.5% 21.0% 29.1% 26.5% 5.9% 17.9% 22.0% 34.6% 35.5% 41.1% 42.5% Second 29.5% 52.9% 2.6% 20.7% 14.0% 17.0% 54.1% 54.7% 29.3% 11.9% 25.3% 13.5% 19.3% 27.7% 46.4% 35.3% 29.5% 16.4% 23.1% 35.4% 8.3% 19.7% 27.8% 41.6% 30.7% 47.8% 41.6% Third 27.2% 57.0% 2.6% 18.9% 14.6% 6.8% 46.5% 44.0% 21.9% 16.9% 37.0% 23.5% 22.3% 22.8% 44.4% 26.1% 24.3% 18.3% 20.0% 35.6% 12.2% 16.3% 28.1% 35.2% 34.7% 45.2% 27.8% Fourth 40.5% 48.1% 0.7% 30.0% 18.5% 15.0% 42.9% 44.3% 18.1% 16.5% 33.1% 26.7% 21.7% 20.5% 47.8% 27.8% 25.7% 15.0% 13.3% 34.9% 16.4% 16.3% 21.5% 36.8% 35.8% 42.8% 35.4% Highest 42.7% 32.3% 1.8% 21.7% 24.3% 15.3% 27.4% 39.3% 29.7% 21.0% 36.4% 19.8% 30.9% 5.1% 33.3% 22.9% 26.4% 21.6% 20.8% 31.9% 19.6% 0.0% 17.9% 36.7% 30.2% 40.7% 45.2% Trend








just the lowest) yielded similar, mixed results: the relatively poor were more likely to switch left versus right in only 13 out of 27 cases (48%). Table 5 adds more detail, showing the percentage of each income groups switchers

that switched left, as well as a ve-point sloping line across groups. Altogether, we have little here with which to support the ENC argument, or at least a version with universal scope.


J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815

6. Conclusion The preceding analysis adds several important empirical advances to the theoretical debate about the political implications of voter ignorance. First, the analysis gives us reason to be skeptical of theorists optimism in the face of widespread voter ignorance, due to the alleged effectiveness of cues and other information shortcuts. The counterfactual analysis showed large numbers of voters in twenty-seven democracies (from about 27% to 82% across cases) would likely have switched their votes if they had more electorally relevant political information. This widespread switching does not make much sense from the perspective of cue-taking theories that predict voters would generally make similar decisions no matter how well informed they appear in surveys. In other words, if shortcuts worked as advertised, then we would not likely see as much vote switching under better information conditions. Second, the analysis directly and systematically examined the enlightened natural constituency hypothesis for the rst time, despite the arguments long duration in academic and popular circles. Without recounting the hypothesis in full here (see above), we can say the empirical expectation was that left parties would enjoy greater levels of support if electorates had greater political awareness, and much of this extra support would come from the lefts so-called natural constituency individuals in lower socioeconomic strata. In line with the expectation, the counterfactual analysis showed that the poorest voters with more information were more likely to switch votes on average than individuals from other income groups. In 23 of 27 cases (85%), individuals from the lower income quintiles switched more frequently than those in the highest income quintiles. In 24 of 27 cases (89%), the poorest two groups were more likely to switch than their richer counterparts. This means lower income voters probably made more decision errors when they cast their ballots in the actual elections, given their preferences. Overall, income proved to be a very strong predictor of switching. While the results supported the theoretical predictions with regard to vote switching in general, when we examined the political direction of switching, and especially

lower income switching, what emerged was a murkier set of outcomes. Although there were very large numbers of relatively poor voters who switched left in the simulations, switchers from the lowest income groups were more likely to switch left only in 12 of 27 cases. Including the two lowest income groups in the analysis only increased that proportion of cases to 13 of 27. The aggregate-level analysis also found inconsistent cross-national patterns (see again Table 2 and Fig. 1). After accounting for changes to right, center, and, other (small) party fortunes, we estimated positive net left changes in only 12 of 27 cases. Some of these changes were quite large (>10% in Brazil, France, Finland, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the U.K.), yet negative net changes were also large in about as many cases (Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, New Zealand, Poland, and Sweden). Overall, we found no signicant statistical relationships between these observed net changes from the simulations and the aggregate political and economic characteristics of the cases, including their political and electoral institutions, their level of economic development (GDP per capita), and their years of democratic experience (years of Polity2 score of six or higher) (Marshall and Jaggers, 2010). Perhaps most important, and most interesting, the study demonstrates that the composition of several governments, and the course of political history, probably would have changed if voter ignorance was not as widespread. Previous research estimating the voting behavior of well-informed electorates also found signicant vote switching at the individual level, but obtained historically insignicant results (i.e. nothing would have changed). Theorists who denied the real political consequences of voter ignorance likely found succor in earlier work. This study changes the debate by illustrating much different counterfactual histories under different information conditions in the highlighted cases (e.g. France, Germany, Israel, and the Netherlands). The party-level results, in Appendix A, allow curious readers to ponder whether different governments would have been formed in the other twenty-three cases. Appendix 1. Results by party and country

Actual Vote % Australia, 2004 Liberal Party of Australia Australian Labor Party Australian Greens National Party of Australia Others Brazil, 2002 Workers Party (PT) Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) Socialist Popular Party (PPS) 40.8 37.6 7.2 5.9 8.5 46.4 23.2 17.9 12

Sim. Vote % 38.6 32.1 15.6 0.9 12.8 47.7 15.8 16.5 20

Change 2.2 5.5 8.4 5.0 4.3 1.3 7.4 1.4 8

SE (Boots.) 1.35 1.25 0.99 0.25 0.89 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.03

Ideology Right Left Left Right Left Center Left Center-Left

J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815 Appendix 1 (continued) Actual Vote % Bulgaria, 2001 Socialists/Coalition for Bulgaria UDF/ODS Movement for Rights & Freedoms National Movement Simeon II Simeon II Coalition St Georges Day/Internal Macedonian Revol. Org. (IMRO) Others Canada, 2004 Liberal Conservative Bloc Qubcois New Democratic Green Others Czech Republic, 2002 Czech Social Democratic Party ODS Civic Democratic Party Communists Coalition: US-DEU/KDU-CSL Others Denmark, 2001 Liberal Party Social Democrats Danish Peoples Party (DPP) Conservative Peoples Party Socialist Peoples Party (SPP) Radical Left/Social Liberal Others Finland, 2003 Social Democratic Party Center Party National Coalition Party Left Alliance Green League Christian Democrats Swedish Peoples Party Others France, 2002 RPR National Front Socialist Party Union for French Dem. Workers Struggle Republican and Civic Movement (Citizens Movement) Greens Revolutionary Communist League Liberal Democracy Communist Party Other right Other left Germany, 2002 Social Democratic Party Alliance 90/The Greens CDU/CSU Free Democratic Party Party of Democratic Socialism Others Hungary, 2002 Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) Fidesz Coalitiona Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) Hungarian Justice & Life Party Center Party Other Iceland, 2003 Independence Party Social Alliance Party 17.1 18.2 7.5 46.1 3.6 7.5 36.7 29.6 12.4 15.7 4.3 1.3 30.2 24.5 18.5 14.3 12.5 31.2 29.1 12 9.1 6.4 5.2 7.1 24.5 24.7 18.6 9.9 8.0 5.3 4.6 4.4 19.9 16.9 16.2 6.8 5.7 5.3 5.3 4.3 3.9 3.4 7.8 4.7 38.5 8.6 38.5 7.4 4 3 42.1 41.1 5.6 4.37 3.9 3 36.6 26.8 Sim. Vote % 8.9 8.5 0 52 25 5.6 33.8 44.1 9.2 10.2 2.7 0 14 34.1 11.5 30.1 10.4 28.7 22.7 7.5 8.3 7.3 5.6 19.9 21 17.2 17.7 15.2 16.2 11.6 0 0.9 14 3.9 17.3 6.6 3.9 4 15.8 9.1 7.4 1.5 12.5 4 31 12.8 29.6 13.6 7.1 6 30.5 27.6 7.7 15.5 13.2 5.5 29.4 32.8 Change 8.2 9.7 7.5 5.9 21.4 1.9 2.9 14.5 3.2 5.5 1.6 1.3 16.2 9.6 7 15.8 2.1 2.5 6.4 4.5 0.8 0.9 0.4 12.8 3.5 7.5 0.9 5.3 8.2 6.3 4.6 3.5 5.9 13.0 1.1 0.2 1.8 1.3 10.6 4.9 3.5 1.9 4.7 0.7 7.5 4.2 8.9 6.2 3.1 3 11.6 13.5 2.1 11.1 9.3 2.5 7.2 6 0.039 0.042 0.024 0.025 0.013 1.169 1.684 1.073 1.587 1.063 1.05 0.98 0.604 0.642 0.593 0.548 0.912 1.274 1.18 1.155 1.104 1.113 1.003 0.297 0.044 0.025 0.049 0.033 0.025 0.025 0.048 0.037 0.033 0.016 0.042 0.026 0.033 0.024 0.034 0.025 0.017 0.017 0.044 0.042 0.025 0.035 0.032 0.022 1.285 1.317 SE (Boots.) 0.023 0.024 0.04 0.036 Ideology


Left Right Center Center-Right Center Center Right Left Left Left Left Right Left Right Right Center-Left Right Center-Right Left Center Center-Left Center-Right Right Left Center-Left Center-Right Right Right Right Center-Left Center-Right Left Left Left Left Right Left Right Left Center-Left Left Right Center-Right Left Left Right Center Right Center Right Center-Left (continued on next page)

812 Appendix 1 (continued)

J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815

Actual Vote % Left-Green Movement Progressive Party Liberal Party Others Ireland, 2002 Fianna Fil Fine Gael Labour Party Sinn Fin Progressive Democrats Green Party Independents/Others Israel, 2003 Likud Labour Shinui Shas National Union Meretz National Religious Party Others Japan, 2004 Democratic Party of Japan Liberal Democratic Party New Komeito Party Japanese Communist Party Social Democratic Party Others Korea, 2004 Grand National Party Millennium Democratic Party Our Open Party/Uri Party Democratic Labour Party Others Mexico, 2003 PAN PRI/PVEM PRD Others Netherlands, 2002 PvdA Labour Party (PvdA) Christian Democratic Appeal Peoples Party for Freedom & Demo. (VVD) Democrats 66 Green Left List Pim Fortuyn Socialist Party Others New Zealand, 2002 Labour Party National Party New Zealand First ACT Green Party United Future Others Norway, 2001 Labour Party Conservative Party Progress Party Socialist Left Party Christian Peoples Party Centre Party Left/Liberal Party Others Poland, 2001 Democratic Left Alliance Union of Labour Self-Defence Law and Justice 14.3 11.7 7.3 3.3 41.5 22.5 10.8 6.5 4 3.8 11 29.4 14.5 12.3 8.2 5.5 5.2 4.2 20.7 37.8 30 15.4 7.8 5.2 3.8 35.8 7.1 38.3 13 5.8b 30.7 40.8 17.6 10.9 15.1 27.9 15.4 5.1 7 17 5.9 6.6 41.3 20.9 10.4 7.1 7.0 6.7 6.6 24.3 21.2 14.6 12.5 12.4 5.6 3.9 5.5 41 10.2 9.5

Sim. Vote % 5.8 14.2 6.7 11 40 14.8 8.1 5.3 8 8.3 15.4 20.5 15.4 20.7 3.5 6 10.4 4.4 19.1 38.5 38.3 4.9 9.2 3.8 5.3 28.7 2.1 50.5 9.6 9 26.6 34.2 24.8 14.4 21.4 20.9 12.5 1.8 7.9 8.6 12.3 14.7 34.4 19.6 6 8 2.2 29.4 0.4 19.9 31.4 10.5 13.8 11.6 4 3.9 4.9 35.6 9.1 9

Change 8.5 2.5 0.6 7.7 1.5 7.7 2.7 1.2 4 4.5 4.4 8.9 0.9 8.4 4.7 0.5 5.2 0.2 1.6 0.7 8.3 10.5 1.4 1.4 1.5 7.1 5 12.2 3.4 3.2 4.1 6.6 7.2 3.5 6.3 7 2.9 3.3 0.9 8.4 6.4 8.1 6.9 1.3 4.4 0.9 4.8 22.7 6.2 4.4 10.2 4.1 1.3 0.8 1.6 0.0 0.6 5.4 1.1 0.5

SE (Boots.) 0.642 0.952 0.668 0.885 0.001 0.001 0.001 0 0.001 0.001 0.001 1.246 1.16 1.252 0.566 0.763 0.975 0.638 1.213 0.036 0.034 0.015 0.021 0.014 0.014 1.428 0.454 1.536 0.965 0.895 0.006 0.007 0.006 0.005 0.033 0.034 0.027 0.011 0.022 0.022 0.027 0.029 0.039 0.032 0.019 0.022 0.012 0.038 0.005 0.909 1.039 0.678 0.771 0.725 0.434 0.438 0.485 0.037 0.021 0.022

Ideology Left Center-Right Center-Right Center-Right Center-Right Center-Left Left Right Left Right Left Center Right Right Left Right Center Right Center-Right Left Left Right Center-Left Left Left Right Center Left Center Center-Right Right Center Center-Left Right Left Center-Left Right Center-Right Right Left Center-Right Left Right Right Left Center Center-Left Center Left Left Right

J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815 Appendix 1 (continued) Actual Vote % Polish Peoples Party Citizens Platform League of Polish Families Solidarity Electoral Action Work (AWSP) Others Portugal, 2005 Left Bloc Peoples Party Unitarian Democratic Coalitionc Social Democratic Party Socialist Party Other Spain, 2004 Peoples Party Socialist United Left Convergence and Unity Others Sweden, 2002 Left Party Social Democrats Centre Party Peoples Party Liberals Conservative Party Christian Democrats Green Party Others Switzerland, 2003 Free Democratic Party Christian Democratic Peoples Party Social Democratic Party Swiss Peoples Party Green Party Others Taiwan, 2001 Democracy Progressive Party Nationalist/Kuomintang (KMT) Peoples First Taiwan Solidarity Union Others United Kingdom, 2005 Labour Conservative Liberal Democrats Others United States, 2004 Republican Party (Bush) Democratic Party (Kerry) Other 9 12.7 7.9 5.6 4.1 6.4 7.3 7.6 28.8 45.0 5 38.3 43.3 5.3 3.3 9.8 8.3 39.8 6.1 13.3 15.2 9.1 4.6 3.6 17.3 14.4 23.3 26.7 7.3 10.9d 36.6 31.3 20.3 8.5 3.3 35.3 32.3 22.1 10.3 50.7 48.3 1.0 Sim. Vote % 5.8 18.4 5.4 9.8 7 7.9 4.2 5.6 25.4 38.1 18.8 20.4 38.1 7.1 21 13.4 10.4 30.9 4.8 21.1 12 6.8 5.9 8.1 19.9 6.2 28 22.9 14.3 8.8 37.1 30.4 14.5 12.1 5.8 41.9 25.3 22.5 10.4 43.1 44.4 12.5 Change 3.2 5.7 2.5 4.2 2.9 1.5 3.1 2.0 3.4 6.9 13.8 17.9 5.2 1.8 17.7 3.6 2.1 8.9 1.3 7.8 3.2 2.3 1.3 4.5 2.6 8.2 4.7 3.8 7.0 2.1 0.5 0.9 5.8 3.6 2.5 6.6 7 0.4 0.1 7.6 3.9 11.5 SE (Boots.) 0.018 0.029 0.017 0.022 0.019 0.595 0.467 0.521 1.021 1.13 0.925 0.037 0.045 0.024 0.038 0.031 0.933 1.416 0.644 1.272 0.998 0.765 0.728 0.853 0.035 0.022 0.038 0.037 0.031 0.024 1.14 1.089 0.824 0.797 0.543 0.03 0.027 0.025 0.018 0.051 0.051 0.034 Ideology Center Right Right Right Left Right Left Right Center


Right Left Left Center-Right Left Center-Left Center-Right Right Right Right Center-Left Right Center-Right Left Right Left Center-Left Right Center-Right Center Center-Left Right Center-Left Right Left

Note: Standard errors were computed with a non-parametric bootstrap, based on 1000 resamplings from the data. Other right Hunting, Fishing, Nature, Traditions; National Republican Movement; Forum of Social Republicans. Other left Left Radical Party; Citizenship, Action, Participation for the 21st Century; Party of the Workers. a Hungarian Civic Party & Hungarian Democratic Forum. b This includes 2.8 of the 100% unaccounted for in all available election results. c Portuguese Communist Party, the Ecologist Party, the Green Party. d This includes 1.3 of the 100% unaccounted for in all available election results.

Althaus, S., 1998. Information effects in collective preferences. American Political Science Review 92, 545558. Althaus, S., 2003. Collective Preferences in Democratic Politics: Opinion Surveys and the Will of the People. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Andersen, R., Heath, A., Sinnott, R., 2002. Political knowledge and electoral choice. British Elections & Parties Review 12, 1127. Andersen, R., Tilley, J., Heath, A., 2005. Political knowledge and enlightened preferences: party choice through the electoral cycle. British Journal of Political Science 35, 285302.

Arian, A., 2004. Politics in Israel: The Second Republic, second ed. CQ Press, Washington, DC. Arian, A., Shamir, M. (Eds.), 2005. The Elections in Israel 2003. Transaction Books, Piscataway, NJ. Arnold, J.R., 2008. Public Ignorance and the Quality of Democracy. Ph.D. diss., University of Minnesota. Bartels, L.M., 1996. Uninformed votes: information effects in presidential elections. American Journal of Political Science 40, 194230. Bartels, L.M., 2006. Whats the matter with whats the matter with Kansas? Quarterly Journal of Political Science 1, 201226. Blanger, E., Aarts, K., 2006. Explaining the rise of the LPF: issues, discontent, and the 2002 Dutch election. Acta Politica 41, 420.


J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815 Lodge, M., McGraw, K.M., Stroh, P., 1989. An impression-driven model of candidate evaluation. American Political Science Review 83, 399 419. Lupia, A., 1994. Shortcuts versus encyclopedias: information and voting behavior in California insurance reform elections. American Political Science Review 88, 6376. Lupia, A., McCubbins, M.D., 1998. The Democratic Dilemma: Can Citizens Learn What They Need to Know? Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Luskin, R.C., 1990. Explaining political sophistication. Political Behavior 12, 331361. Luskin, R.C., 2002. From denial to extenuation (and nally beyond): political sophistication and citizen performance. In: Kuklinski, J.H. (Ed.), Thinking about Political Psychology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Luskin, R.C., Bullock, J.G., 2005. Dont Know Means dont Know. Working paper. Stanford Univ. Manza, J., Hout, M., Brooks, C., 1995. Class voting in capitalist democracies since World War II: dealignment, realignment, or trendless uctuation? Annual Review of Sociology 21, 137162. Marshall, M.G., Jaggers, K., 2010. Polity IV project: Political regime characteristics and transitions, 18002010. Version p4v2010 [Computer File]. College Park, MD: Center for Systemic Peace. URL: http://www. Mondak, J.J., 1999. Reconsidering the measurement of political knowledge. Political Analysis, 5782. Mondak, J.J., Anderson, M.R., 2004. The knowledge gap: a reexamination of gender-based differences in political knowledge. Journal of Politics 66, 492512. Mller, W.C., Strm, K. (Eds.), 1999. Policy, Ofce, or Votes? How Political Parties in Western Europe Make Hard Decisions. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Niemi, R.G., Weisberg, H.F., 2001. What determines the vote? In: Niemi, Weisberg (Eds.), Controversies in Voting Behavior. Congressional Quarterly Press, Washington. Nieuwbeerta, P., de Graaf, N.D., 1999. Traditional class voting in twenty postwar societies. In: Evans, G. (Ed.), The End of Class Politics? Class Voting in Comparative Context. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Norris, P., 2005. Radical Right: Voters and Parties in the Electoral Market. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Olken, B.A., 2009. Corruption perceptions vs. corruption reality. Journal of Public Economics 93, 950964. Page, B.I., Shapiro, R.Y., 1992. The Rational Public: Fifty Years of Trends in Americans Policy Preferences. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Pennings, P., Keman, H., 2003. The Dutch parliamentary elections in 2002 and 2003: the rise and decline of the Fortuyn movement. Acta Politica 38, 5168. Piazza, T., Sniderman, P.M., Tetlock, P., 1989. Analysis of the dynamics of political reasoning: a general-purpose computer-assisted methodology. Political Analysis 1, 99119. Popkin, S.L., 1991. The Reasoning Voter: Communication and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Przeworski, A., Teune, H., 1970. The Logic of Comparative Social Inquiry. Wiley, New York. Rahn, W.M., Krosnick, J.A., Breuning, M., 1994. Rationalization and derivation processes in survey studies of political candidate evaluation. American Journal of Political Science 38, 582600. Schumpeter, J.A., 1942. Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. Harper, New York. Sekhon, J.S., 2004. Quality meets quantity: case studies, conditional probability, and counterfactuals. Perspectives on Politics 2, 281 293. Sniderman, P.M., 2000. Taking sides: a xed choice theory of political reasoning. In: Lupia, A., McCubbins, M., Popkin, S. (Eds.), Elements of Reason. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Sniderman, P.M., Brody, R.A., Tetlock, P.E., 1991. Reasoning and Choice: Explorations in Political Psychology. Cambridge University Press, New York. Somin, I., 1998. Voter ignorance and democracy. Critical Review 12, 413 458. Stolle, D., Gidengil, E., 2010. What do women really know? A gendered analysis of varieties of political knowledge. Perspective on Politics 8, 93109. Sturgis, P., Allum, N., Smith, P., Woods, A., 2005. The Measurement of Factual Knowledge in Surveys. Working paper. University of Surrey, UK. Tichenor, P.J., Donohue, G.A., Olien, C.N., 1970. Mass media ow and differential growth in knowledge. Public Opinion Quarterly 34, 159 170.

Bennett, S.E., Flickinger, R.S., Baker, J.R., Rhine, S.L., Bennett, L.M., 1996. Citizens knowledge of foreign affairs. The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 1, 1029. Berelson, B.R., Lazarsfeld, P.F., McPhee, W.N., 1954. Voting: a Study of Opinion Formation in a Presidential Campaign. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Bourdieu, P., 1993. Sociology in Question. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA. Converse, P.E., 1964. The nature of belief systems in mass publics. In: Apter, D.E. (Ed.), Ideology and Discontent. Free Press, New York. Converse, P., 2006. Democratic theory and electoral reality. Critical Review 18, 297329. Cronin, J., Ross, G., Shoch, J., 2011. Whats Left of the Left: Democrats and Social Democrats in Challenging Times. Duke University Press, Durham, NC. Delli Carpini, M., Keeter, S., 1996. What Americans Know about Politics and Why It Matters. Yale University Press, New Haven. Downs, A., 1957. An Economic Theory of Democracy. Harper and Row, New York. Duch, R.M., Palmer, H.D., Anderson, C.J., 2000. Heterogeneity in perceptions of national economic conditions. American Journal of Political Science 44, 635652. Duch, R.M., Palmer, H.D., 2002. Heterogeneous perceptions of economic conditions in cross-national perspective. In: Dorussen, H., Taylor, M. (Eds.), Economic Voting. Routledge, London. Elff, M., 2007. Social structure and electoral behavior in comparative perspective: the decline of social cleavages in Western Europe revisited. Perspectives on Politics 5, 277294. Elff, M., April 2-5, 2009. Political Knowledge in Comparative Perspective: the Problem of Cross-national Equivalence of Measurement. Prepared for Delivery at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois. Evans, G., 2000. The continued signicance of class voting. Annual Review of Political Science 3, 401417. Frank, T., 2005. Whats the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. Macmillan, New York. Franklin, M.N., Mackie, T.T., Valen, H. (Eds.), 1992. Electoral Change: Responses to Evolving Social and Attitudinal Structures in Western Countries. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Geys, B., 2006. Explaining voter turnout: a review of aggregate-level research. Electoral Studies 25, 127. Givens, T.E., 2005. Voting Radical Right in Western Europe. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Gordon, S.B., Segura, G.M., 1997. Cross-national variation in the political sophistication of individuals: capability or choice? Journal of Politics 59, 126147. Grofman, B., Feld, S.L., 1988. Rousseaus general will: a condorcetian perspective. American Political Science Review 82, 567576. Grnlund, K., Milner, H., 2006. The determinants of political knowledge in comparative perspective. Scandinavian Political Studies 29, 386406. Heath, A., Tilley, J.R., 2003. Political Knowledge and Values in Britain, 19831997. Working Paper Number 102. Centre for Research into Elections and Social Trends, Oxford. Jusko, K.L., Shively, W.P., 2005. Applying a two-step strategy to the analysis of cross-national public opinion data. Political Analysis 13, 327344. Kerbo, H.R., 2007. Social stratication. In: Bryant, C.D., Peck, D.K. (Eds.), 21st Century Sociology: a Reference Handbook. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA. Kitschelt, H., 1994. The Transformation of European Social Democracy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Krause, G.A., 1997. Voters, information heterogeneity, and the dynamics of aggregate economic expectations. American Journal of Political Science 41, 11701200. Kuklinski, J., Quirk, P., 2000. Reconsidering the rational public: cognition, heuristics, and mass opinion. In: Lupia, A., McCubbins, M., Popkin, S. (Eds.), Elements of Reason. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Lau, R.R., Redlawsk, D.P., 2001. Advantages and disadvantages of cognitive heuristics in political decision making. American Journal of Political Science 45, 951971. Levitsky, S., Roberts, K., 2011. Introduction: Latin Americas left turn: a framework for analysis. In: Levitsky, Roberts (Eds.), The Resurgence of the Latin American Left. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

J.R. Arnold / Electoral Studies 31 (2012) 796815 Tka, G., 2004. Can voters be equal? A cross-national analysis, part 2. Review of Sociology 10, 4765. Van Holsteyn, J.J.M., Irwin, G.A., 2003. Never a dull moment: Pim Fortuyn and the Dutch parliamentary election of 2002. West European Politics 26, 4166. Wright, E.O., 1997. Class Counts: Comparative Studies in Class Analysis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.


Zaller, J., 1985. Pre-testing Information Items on the 1986 NES Pilot Study. Report to the National Election Study Board of Overseers. Zaller, J., 1992. The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion. Cambridge University Press, New York. Zaller, J., Feldman, S., 1992. A simple theory of the survey response: answering questions versus revealing preferences. American Journal of Political Science 36, 579616.