Informed Switchers? How the Impact of Election News Exposure on Vote Change Depends on Political Information Efficacy

Sabine Geers, Linda Bos, Claes H. De Vreese


The increase in electoral volatility in European democracies has raised the question of whether volatile voters are just randomly switching or actually making more informed vote choices. This study addresses this question by examining the underlying mechanisms through which election news exposure influences two types of voting behavior: crystallization and conversion. Specifically, it examines how political information efficacy and campaign cynicism mediate the impact of election news exposure on both types of voting behavior. We used a Dutch panel survey (N = 1,349) collected during the 2014 European Parliament elections. A structural equation model analysis revealed that election news exposure positively affects voting behavior, both directly and indirectly via information efficacy. Both effects were especially pronounced among voters who were undecided at the onset of the campaign.


media effects, voting behavior, election campaign, panel data

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