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
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
- Figure 1. Advice screen of Kieskompas.nl 2010 Dutch
legislative elections (closest-party advice
- 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
- 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
- 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).
(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.