Does Personalized Information on Issue Congruence Affect Voting Preferences? Evidence from Field Experiments in Five Countries

Effect of exposure to VAA results on voting preferences in the 2019 UK General Election

Abstract

Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) are online tools which provide voters with personalized information on the extent to which their policy views match those of parties or candidates. VAAs have become increasingly prominent features of electoral campaigns in recent years, especially in multi-party systems. However, to what extent whether voters actually make use of VAAs to inform their voting preferences remains unclear. We present new field experimental evidence on the effects of VAAs on voting preferences from five European countries. We find consistent evidence that exposure to VAA advice leads voters to update their voting preferences in line with the information provided. Furthermore, we find partial evidence that VAAs have stronger effects on the preferences of less politically interested and undecided voters. Overall, our results point to the value of VAAs as a mechanism to strengthen democratic representation and accountability.