The effect of local election campaigns on political knowledge. The case of the Antwerp local electionsThe effect of local election campaigns on political knowledge. The case of the Antwerp local elections
Faculty of Social Sciences. Political Sciences
Media, Movements and Politics (M2P)
Tijdschrift voor communicatiewetenschap. - Houten
42(2014):1, p. 71-+
University of Antwerp
Political knowledge is crucial for the functioning of democracy: only informed citizens can cast a substantiated vote. Therefore, it is especially important that citizens are informed during election campaigns. Indeed, election campaigns can educate the public on the various parties and candidates. However, extant research mostly focuses on national election campaigns. Local election campaigns often get less (media) attention, yet have been seldom researched. In this paper we investigate whether citizens also learn during local election campaigns. We use panel data collected during the 2012 Antwerp local election campaign. We find that although the campaign did cause slight knowledge gains, it mainly increased the existing knowledge gap between well- and ill-informed citizens. On the other hand the campaign did amend some other gaps: uncertain voters learned more, and voters learned most about parties they evaluated highly.