Research team


Research on political communication: - the impact of media coverage on perceptions of political parties; - the strategic communication of political parties; - disinformation. Research on elections and political participation: - The role of policy themes in voting behavior; - the role of polarization in political participation; - political knowledge.

Learning, adapting and primed voters. Effects of the Antwerp 2012 local campaign on voters. 01/01/2012 - 31/12/2012


Do voters learn something during the final sprint towards Election Day? This topic is central to public opinion research because political knowledge is crucial for the functioning of democracy (Delli Carpini & Keeter, 1996). The elections for the Antwerp city council of 2012 are a good case to study such campaign effects. It is a local campaign, which means the issues are closer to the citizens and there is a larger chance of learning effects. Also, the expected battle between two politicians with national popularity (Patrick Janssens and Bart De Wever) will generate substantial media attention. This increases the odds that citizens actually notice the campaign and are influenced by it. This project studies change in Antwerp voters' political knowledge during the campaign through panel surveying. It investigates the voters' opinion on a number of issues, but is especially interested in voters' knowledge of the parties' positions on these issues and changes therein (learning). Additionally, it tracks how voters respond once they do learn something: do they switch party, or adapt their own position to 'fit' their currently preferred party (adapt)? Finally, the project studies whether these issues become more important determinants of vote choice (priming).


Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project