Improving the political judgement of citizens: why the task environment matters

Benjamin Leruth, Gerry Stoker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Internal political efficacy (that is, beliefs about one’s ability to process and participate effectively in
politics) is known to be shaped by factors such as levels of interest in politics, trust in institutions and
awareness of political developments and debates. In this article, we show that the task environment
also has an impact on internal political efficacy, and that little research has been done on this
issue. We draw on data from focus groups in Australia, where citizens were asked to make political
judgements in contrasting task environments: state elections and the 2017 same-sex marriage
plebiscite. We examine four features of task environments: framing choice; issue content; the nature
of available cues; and whether the task environment stimulates cognitive effort. We conclude that
concerns about the internal political efficacy of voters should be addressed by exploring how the
task environment created for political choice might be made more amenable in order to improve
the political judgement of citizens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPolicy and Politics
Volume48
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

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