ECPR General Conference
Université de Montréal, Montreal
26 - 29 August 2015

Across the Atlantic: Voting Advice Applications in a Comparative Perspective

Comparative Politics
Section Number
Section Chair
Stefan Marschall
Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
Section Co-Chair
Diego Garzia
University of Lucerne

Voting Advice Applications [VAAs] are online tools designed to help voters comparing their policy preferences on major issues with the respective positions of political parties/candidates. As a result they indicate the issue proximity between the individual voters and parties/candidates. In Europe these popular tools have been widely used for elections on different levels and in different systems. However, VAAs have become a phenomenon not only in Europe but also beyond. For instance, with Vote Compass/Canada, the idea of Voting Advice Applications has also entered the North American continent.

Given this (not only European but also North Atlantic) success story, VAAs have started to constitute a field of social science research resulting in national projects, publications and networking. Recent years have witnessed an advance in the study of VAAs e.g. in terms of the methodological designs which have been applied. VAA research could also be linked to other areas of political research such as party and electoral research or democratic theory.

The section addresses these new developments in VAA research and is a follow-up to the successful VAA sections in Bordeaux (2013) and in Glasgow (2014). This time the empirical focus will be set on comparative analyses of VAA usage in Europe and North America. The panels of the section provide a platform to exchange the findings of recent VAA research in a comparative perspective. Taking advantage of the location, the panels assemble not only European but also North American researchers.


Prof. Dr. Stefan Marschall is a full professor of political science and Chair of German Politics at the University of Düsseldorf/Germany. He is a specialist on political (online) communication and comparative as well as transnational parliamentarism. He is one of the coordinators of the activities of the European VAA research community and in charge of the research on the German VAA “Wahl-O-Mat”.

Dr. Diego Garzia is currently a Research Fellow at the European University Institute. He has authored articles in journals such as Electoral Studies, Political Psychology, Party Politics, Political Research Quarterly and West European Politics. He is co-editor (with Stefan Marschall) of “Matching Voters with Parties and Candidates: Voting Advice Applications in a Comparative Perspective” (published 2014 with ECPR Press).

Panel List

P003VAAs and Civic Literacy View Panel Details
P004The Making of VAAs and their Use View Panel Details
P005VAAs, Party Politics and Representation View Panel Details
P006VAAs, Data, and Study of Political Behaviour View Panel Details
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