Perceptions of Party Policy Ambiguity and their Electoral Consequences

28.02.2022 - 12:00
Online via Zoom
Art der Veranstaltung: 
AB B-Kolloquium
Dr. Roni Lehrer
Zugehörigkeit des Vortragenden: 
Universität Mannheim, MZES

Do citizens realize when a party's policies are ambiguous? And, if so, under what conditions are citizens' perceptions of policy ambiguity biased? We argue that citizens adjust their perceptions of party policy ambiguity in light of actual policy ambiguity. However, we also expect that partisan motivated reasoning, low political interest and misperceptions of partisan infighting limit citizens' skills to correctly assess party policy ambiguity. Survey evidence from twelve European democracies supports these expectations. Further, we find that while citizens perceptions of party policy correspond to actual policy ambiguity, their association is far from strong. Finally, we demonstrate that citizens who do not realize that a party's policies are ambiguous, tend to underestimate their policy distance to that party. These results yield highly important implications for our understanding of the relationship between policy ambiguity and election results, parties' communication strategies, and political representation.