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Matthew Wall, André Krouwel, and Thomas Vitiello, "Do voters follow the recommendations of voter advice application websites? A study of the effects of kieskompas.nl on its users' vote choices in the 2010 Dutch legislative elections," Party Politics, 20 (May 2014), 416-428, [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol20/issue3/ ]

First paragraph:
In this article we investigate the electoral effects of a prominent Dutch Voter Advice Application site (www.kieskompas. nl). Our research design combines factual data on the recommendations received by users from the site's log files with users' responses to pre-advice and post-election survey items. We find that the effects of online recommendations on vote choice depend on the congruence of the recommended party with the users' pre-existing preferences. When the site recommended a party that was being seriously contemplated by the user, the user was demonstrably more likely to go on to vote for the recommended party. We find that this effect was not visible among voters who indicated that they were only seriously considering one party for their vote choice when they visited the site.

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1. Advice screen of Kieskompas.nl 2010 Dutch legislative elections (closest-party advice circled).
Table 1. Reported vote choice of panel respondents versus results of 2010 Dutch legislative elections.
Table 2. Responses of survey group to the question: 'Which of the following best describes the influence that visiting kieskompas.nl had on your vote choice?'
Figure 2. Response frequencies of 'congruent' versus 'incongruent' user groups to the question: 'How would you rate the impact of the advice received on kieskompas.nl on your vote on a scale from 0-10, where 0 is no effect and 10 is a very strong effect?'
Table 3. Was VAA advice 'followed'? Congruent versus noncongruent advice (column percentages in parentheses).
Table 4. Distributions of 'PTV' for recommended versus not recommended voter-party dyads.
Table 5. Proportions of 'voted' user-party dyads for 'recommended' and 'not recommended' dyads for each value of PTV (N for each proportion in parentheses, statistically significant differences in boldface).
Figure 3. Line plot of proportions of 'voted' user-party dyads by whether party was 'recommended' or 'not recommended', and the difference between recommended and not recommended group proportions as PTV increases.
Table 6. Proportions of 'voted' user-party dyads for 'recommended' and 'not recommended' dyads for voters who gave a PTV of 6 or higher to one party only (N for each proportion in parentheses, statistically significant differences in boldface).

Last Paragraph:
(first pararaph of conclusions) In this article, we have looked at the effects of a very specific and increasingly compellingly political use of the Internet: VAA websites. Are the widely used VAA sites simply seen as 'toys' by their users? Or are they politically influential campaign actors which a large number of users consider seriously when deciding how to vote? If the former scenario were true, perhaps VAAs could be considered as being neither more nor less politically important than the millions of other websites that populate the Internet. However, given the findings presented in this article, it seems that VAA sites are politically relevant entities for at least some of their users, with both subjective and objective evidence demonstrating that a substantial proportion of our opt-in sample of kieskompas.nl users in the Dutch 2010 legislative elections took their online voting advice quite seriously when deciding how to vote.

Last updated April 2014