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Testing and Improving Voters' Political Knowledge

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  • Kennedy Stewart
  • Patricia MacIver
  • Stewart Young
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    Abstract

    This article presents data from Canada's first comprehensive Election-Day Exit Poll, which surveyed 664 voters as they exited polling booths during the 2005 Vancouver civic election. Researchers asked voters to take two tests to estimate their political knowledge levels. The results reveal that voters' knowledge regarding political actors can be most effectively enhanced by increasing information dissemination and reducing candidates' voter-contact costs, perhaps best accomplished through electoral reform and more directly distributing relevant information to voters. Increasing voters' political system knowledge is more difficult but also less critical as respondents' test scores in this area are already very high. Suggested policy measures might help improve political knowledge, and hence voting participation rates, among non-voters.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3138/cpp.34.4.403
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Toronto Press in its journal Canadian Public Policy.

    Volume (Year): 34 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 403-418

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    Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:34:y:2008:i:4:p:403-418

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    1. Ron Johnston & Richard Harris & Kelvyn Jones, 2007. "Sampling People or People in Places? The BES as an Election Study," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 55, pages 86-112, 03.
    2. Harbaugh, W T, 1996. " If People Vote Because They Like to, Then Why Do So Many of Them Lie?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 89(1-2), pages 63-76, October.
    3. David Dreyer Lassen, 2004. "The Effect of Information on Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," EPRU Working Paper Series 04-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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