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The Simple Art of VotingThe Cognitive Shortcuts of Italian Voters$
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Delia Baldassarri

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199828241

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199828241.001.0001

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Systematic and Effective Voting Heuristics

Systematic and Effective Voting Heuristics

(p.157) Chapter 6 Systematic and Effective Voting Heuristics
The Simple Art of Voting

Delia Baldassarri

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 examines the effectiveness of the cognitive shortcuts and the consistency of their use, and shows that the judgment strategies used by utilius, amicus, and aliens are deployed not just in determining their voting behavior but also in other decision-making tasks they undertake. In particular, we show that utilius voters rely on the left-right ideological dimension even when they judge policy issues, or their future voting preferences, and that amicus voters use their simplified vision of politics in which the political competition is limited to the two major coalitions both in their judgment of political leaders and the performance of the government. The effectiveness of these heuristics is proved by the fact that utilius and amicus voters show levels of coherence in the organization of their opinions that are higher than those of the most interested and educated individuals. On the contrary, the aliens type, who does not follow the decision-making mechanisms employed by utilius and amicus, is much less capable of using the left-right dimension to manage the organization of the parties and his issue opinions even compared to the least educated and interested voters. However, even the aliens voter is not without an organizing principle. Indeed, he is guided by a cynic realism, or pessimism, that leads to systematically negative evaluations of every party, coalition, and political leader.

Keywords:   political sophistication, left-right ideology, political issues, political disaffection

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