Cedroni, Garzia: Voting Advice Applications in Europe
Cedroni, Lorella and Diego Garzia [eds.]: Voting Advice Applications in Europe: The State of the Art. Napoli: Scriptaweb, 2010. 272pp., €32, ISBN 978 88 6381 127 8
Chapter 8 as pdf (~137 kB)
Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) have literally taken Europe by storm in the past decade, with millions of voters turning to these web-based tests at election time. VAAs help users casting a vote by comparing their policy preferences on major issues with the programmatic stands of political parties on such issues. These applications are aimed primarily at increasing voters' understanding of what parties stand for by means of an immediate and enjoyable approach. In turn, this can increase voters' interest in political matters, motivate them to discuss about politics, and hopefully gather further information.
More recently, the impressive numbers of users visiting VAA-websites have led some political scientists to hypothesize an effect of these tools also on voters' electoral behaviour. Questions about VAAs’ ability to motivate users to turn out and vote (possibly for the party advised by the application) have been repeatedly raised. However, little empirical evidence has been collected so far – this lack being particularly evident in comparative perspective. This volume represents the first systematic attempt to answer such questions through a comparative framework.
The cases included range from established applications such as Dutch StemWijzer and German Wahl-O-Mat to 'first attempts' from Southern and Eastern Europe, in order to portray in detail the various stages of development of the VAA-phenomenon around the continent. The time-point under analysis is, in each case, the European election of June 2009. The second-order nature of this electoral competition – where voters are thought to vote for parties closer to their preferences and ideological outlook – seems in fact an ideal context to assess the potential of these applications.
The volume's major aim is that of igniting a fruitful exchange between academic and practitioners on applications that are likely to become an ever more used and appreciated feature of electoral campaigns in the years to come.
Edited by Lorella Cedroni (University of Rome, Sapienza) and Diego Garzia (University of Siena). The volume features contributions by: Jochum de Graaf, Roberto De Rosa, Kris Deschouwer, Agata Dziewulska, Gabriela Felder, Jan Fivaz, Andreas Ladner, Marco Lisi, Marina Costa Lobo, Stefan Marschall, Christine Mayer, Michiel Nuytemans, Outi Ruusuvirta, Christian K. Schmidt, Michal Skop, Maarten Vink, Stefaan Walgrave, Martin Wassermair.