Do election polls increase individual understanding of politics?

Ching Hsing Wang, Dennis Lu Chung Weng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Election polls have been widely used to probe and understand the public’s political attitudes and behaviour. However, they might simultaneously motivate people to seek information about the questions they do not know when they are asked in the polls. Given that past studies have ignored the role of polls in motivating individual information seeking, this study aims to examine the effect of polls on individual knowledge of the electoral system. Specifically, this study addresses whether individuals’ participation in the election poll would increase their understanding of the electoral system of the legislative election in Taiwan. Using survey data from Taiwan’s Election and Democratisation Study (TEDS) 2016 presidential and legislative elections, this study finds that people who are asked questions about the legislative election in the first survey are more likely to provide correct answers in the second survey compared to their counterparts. The findings imply that election polls are not only tools for understanding public opinion on competing parties or candidates and policy issues, but also for stimulating individuals to understand politics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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