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Does VAA popularity pay off ? : Smartvote users preferred candidates and their results in the 2007 Swiss federal elections
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Paper presented at the 4th International Conference ABSP "Être gouverné au 21e siècle", Quatrième Congrès international du réseau francophone des Associations de Science politique du 20 au 22 avril 2011 à Bruxelles
Voting is fundamental for democracy, however, this decisive democratic act requires quite an effort. Decision making at elections depends largely on the interest to gather information about candidates and parties, the effort to process the information at hand and the motivation to reach a vote choice. Especially in electoral systems with highly fragmented party systems and hundreds of candidates running for office, the process of decision making in the pre‐election sphere is highly demanding. In the age of information and communication technologies, new possibilities for gathering and processing such information are available. Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) provide guidance to voters prior to the act of voting and assist voters in choosing between different candidates and parties on the basis of issue congruence. Meanwhile widely used all over the world, scientific inquiry into the effect of such tools on electoral behavior is ongoing. This paper adds to the current debate by focusing on whether the popularity of candidates on the Swiss VAA smartvote eventually paid off at the 2007 Swiss federal elections and whether there is a direct link between the performance of a candidate on the tool and his or her electoral performance.
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