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Profiling the EU Profiler User: Italians and Voting Advice Applications

Edoardo Bressanelli
Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna
Edoardo Bressanelli
Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna
Open Panel

Abstract

While Voting Advice Applications (VAA) are becoming more and more popular in Europe, our knowledge about them remains preliminary. We still know little about the users of VAA and the validity of the generated data to address more general questions on voting behaviour and partisan representation. This paper aims at contributing to fill this lacuna by provinding the first exploratory analysis of the EU Profiler data for Italy. The EU Profiler, devised by the European University Institute for the European Parliament elections of June 2009, was the first Europe-wide VAA. By focusing on the Italian data of the EU Profiler, this paper begins by documenting the process of selection of the policy statements for the questionnaire and the dissemination of the Profiler in the media. It then provides empirical evidence on the individual characteristics of the Italian users of the Profiler, addressing the question of the representativeness of the users'' sample vis-a-vis the population of the Italian voters. By comparing the users'' propensities to vote with the Profiler results, it also focuses on the supply-side of the electoral market and evaluates the issue-congruence between parties and voters. More in general, this paper draws on the Profiler data to address important questions about the quality of democratic representation, placing its critical focus on what important questions in the field of electoral politics could be validly addressed with the data generated from VAA.