Building: SR Floor: 1 Room: 6
The rise of the Internet during the last decades has led to far-reaching changes in the way how people perceive politicians and politics, especially in election campaigns. Besides the emergence of the “Social Web” the so called Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) have become prominent tools in election campaigns. They show measurable effects on citizens’ voting behavior as a growing body of literature indicates. Having spread around the world, these tools have gained immense numbers of users. For example, the German tool “Wahl-O-Mat” offered 13.2 Million voting advices during the 2013 German Federal Election campaign. The Dutch “StemWijzer” was used 4.9 Million times before the 2012 Parliamentary Elections.
VAAs are designed to inform users about positions of political parties or candidates. Thus VAAs compare a set of users’ positions towards statements with the positions of political parties or candidates. As a result, these tools present an overview of the matching between users’ and parties’/candidates’ positions. Research on VAAs has focused on different areas: A description of VAA users; effects on turnout, voting decision and political knowledge of its users; party mapping and also methodological and design aspects of these tools. The focus in this panel will be on VAA effects on electoral behavior. The panel especially welcomes analyses drawing on experimental or survey data to estimate the effect size of VAAs on different forms of electoral behavior for varying institutional contexts such as “Smartvote” in Switzerland, “Kieskompas” in the Netherlands or “Wahl-O-Mat” and “Kandidatencheck” in Germany.