Title: Using VAAs to explore the dimensionality of the policy space: experiments from Brazil, Peru, Scotland and Cyprus

Authors: Jonathan Wheatley

Addresses: Centre for Research on Direct Democracy (c2d), University of Zurich, Aarau, Switzerland

Abstract: Research into Voting Advice Applications (VAA) has hitherto been concerned with technical issues over the use of VAAs as a tool to help people vote. This paper shows that data generated by VAAs can also be used for research into how policy preferences of voters can be conceptualised in terms of a multi-dimensional policy space. Specifically, analysis of data extracted from VAAs deployed in Brazil, Peru, Scotland and Cyprus reaffirm the importance of existing concepts of Left and Right, as well as a second dimension of social conservatism versus social liberalism (sometimes known as GAL-TAN), as defining features of the policy space. This paper also shows how data from VAAs can be used to map the ideological profiles of party supporters.

Keywords: VAAs; policy dimensions; policy preferences; voter preferences; political parties; Left-Right GAL-TAN; social conservatism; social liberalism; policy space; Peru; Brazil; Scotland; Cyprus; factor analysis; Mokken scale analysis; voting advice applications; e-democracy; national elections; electoral behaviour; electoral impact; election campaigning; internet; voting aid applications; electronic democracy; electoral campaigns.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2012.051304

International Journal of Electronic Governance, 2012 Vol.5 No.3/4, pp.318 - 348

Received: 30 Jan 2012
Accepted: 19 Sep 2012

Published online: 04 Jan 2013 *

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