Ova doktorska disertacija bavi se glasovanjem, najočitijim oblikom političke participacije građana u modernom demokratskom poretku. Većina istraživanja biračkog ponašanja usmjerena je na proučavanje uzroka glasovanja te na procese oblikovanja stranačkih preferencija (Šiber, 1998b). Međutim, glasovanju možemo pristupiti kao političkoj odluci, a u tom slučaju se javlja pitanje kako tu odluku evaluirati. Potencijalni kriterij za evaluaciju možemo naći u konceptu točnog glasovanja (Lau i Redlawsk, 1997). Ukoliko građanin glasuje za onu stranku kojoj bi dao glas i kada bi bio suočen sa svim relevantnim političkim informacijama, možemo reći da je on točno glasovao. Koristeći kriterij točnog glasovanja možemo evaluirati građansko odlučivanje, ali i kvalitetu demokracije. Ovaj rad ima dva cilja. Kao prvo, zbog niza konceptualnih i operacionalnih nedostataka, on nudi rekonstrukciju koncepta točnog glasovanja. Kroz detaljno povezivanje spoznaja o biračkom ponašanju i
pretpostavki modela predstavničke demokracije, uvodi se nova definicija točnog glasovanja, kao onog koji je dan stranci koja je u najvećoj mjeri bliska glasačevim preferencijama. Uz to, problematizira se korisnost ovog koncepta te njegov utjecaj na empirijska istraživanja građanskih kompetencija i na evaluaciju demokratskog poretka. Drugi cilj ovog rada je empirijski – provjeriti koje individualne i situacijske karakteristike doprinose točnom glasovanju. Očekivalo se kako će točnije glasovati sudionici s boljom političkom ekspertizom (visoka politička sofisticiranost i informiranost, visoka motivacija za politiku, više obrazovanje i niža dob), ali i oni koji donose odluke u jednostavnijem okruženju (niže kognitivno opterećenje i lakša politička pitanja). U tu svrhu provedeno je eksperimentalno istraživanje na 210 sudionika koji su sudjelovali u izmišljenoj političkoj kampanji. Tijekom kampanje su prikupljali podatke o strankama i na kraju su glasovali za jednu od njih. Rezultati su pokazali
kako točnije glasuju sudionici s višom razinom političke informiranosti, zatim sudionici koji su koristili kompleksnije strategije odlučivanja i sudionici koji su suočeni s nižom razinom kognitivnog opterećenja. Neočekivano, dobiven je i efekt spola – žene točnije glasuju od muškaraca. U radu su ponuđena objašnjenja za nepotvrđene hipoteze i neočekivane rezultate,
kao i potencijalna primjena dobivenih rezultata u javnom životu.
|Abstract (english)|| |
Elections are the main characteristic of modern democracies; as of September 2016., 82 national elections took place this year and almost 650 million people voted. Adult citizens experience elections and participate in voting roughly once every four years. Ever since the empirical research in political science focused on voting behaviour the main focus of inquiry was the understanding of antecedents of vote choice as well as the long-term shaping of political preferences (Šiber, 1998). The vote itself can be conceptualized in many ways, such as a statement of group membership (e.g. Berelson, Lazarsfeld & McPhee, 1954), identification with the party (Campbell et al., 1964), as a choice between parties etc. If we approach the vote from a decision-making perspective, a question comes to mind – can we say what is the quality of that choice? In other words, can we evaluate the process and the outcome of the voting decision? This are rather hard questions which is not adequately addressed by researchers, both theoretically and empirically. In order to answer them, Lau and Redlawsk (1997) put forward the concept of correct voting – a vote that is the same as the one that would be given if a voter
had all the relevant information. This doctoral thesis is concerned with that concept. It had two broad goals. First, a critique of the concept was put forward, as well as a conceptual reconstruction of correct voting. The new approach to the concept is more clear and better connected to both citizens’ competences and democratic theory. The second goal was to study
empirically the antecedents of correct voting. For this goal a laboratory experiment was conducted in which participants (N=210) participated in a mock electoral campaign at the end of which they had to vote. Participants differed in various socio-demographic and political characteristics and within the experiment cognitive load and type of political questions in the campaign were manipulated. Results showed that those participants that had better political knowledge, were exposed to lower cognitive load and used complex strategies of decision. Also, an unexpected result was found – women voted more correctly than men.
In order to think about the criteria for evaluating the process of voting, one must first understand the relationship between voters and election within democracy. This requires that one chooses a model of democracy. There is an array of these models, and each one focuses on different aspects of the political regime. For the concept of correct voting the most adequate model is that of representative democracy. In this model, democracy is though about as a political system
in which the citizens are sovereign, and a smaller group of representatives execute citizens’ will. Representatives are chosen via regular competitive elections, and citizens should choose hose representatives that represent their interest in the best way. Other than choosing a model of democracy, we must choose a theoretical approach for political behaviour. We can identify five approaches (those based on personality, sociological model, socio-psychological model, economic-rational model and cognitive model), and within this research a cognitive approach is taken for studying political behaviour and decision-making. This model focuses on cognitive processes, such as evaluation of political candidates, mental strategies, biases, memory etc. The main idea of the cognitive approach is that all thinking is constrained by both biological aspects of the brain as well as the situational pressures (such as the amount of information). As a consequence, citizens will be prone to using mental shortcuts to simplify the political environment.
Lau and Redlawsk’s (1997) concept of correct voting could be used as a norm of political decision-making. It focuses on cognitive processes and offers an ideal outcome of political thinking which at the same time has implications for the functioning of representative democracy. If citizens choose their representatives correctly than democracy should function
better than if that is not the case. However, there are several issues with this concept - there are two distinct conceptualizations and operationalisations of correct voting; authors focus more on the level of information than on the cognitive processes; their norm has within itself several descriptive aspects etc. This thesis puts forward a definition of correct voting – a correct vote is the one which is given to a representative whose political preferences are in the highest
concordance with the voter’s.
Keeping the cognitive approach in mind, several individual and situational characteristics are identified as having a probable impact on the probability for voting correctly. It is expected that citizens who are more politically sophisticated, informed and motivated, as well as those who are better educated and younger should vote more correctly. Considering situational characteristics, higher cognitive load should lower the probability of voting correctly. Also the content, or type of political information, should have an impact on that probability. Political issues can be divided into easy/symbolic/moral and hard/instrumental/public policy. As the percentage of easy issues within a campaign increases so should the probability of casting a correct vote. In order to test these hypotheses an experiment was conducted in which participants participated in a mock election. They collected information about four parties and in the end voted for one of these. Last part of the thesis offers a discussion about the results, their political implications as well as guidelines for future research.