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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

A long-standing criticism of voters in direct democracy elections is that they lack informed and stable opinions on policy issues and are therefore highly susceptible to campaigns. Voters are therefore not so much persuaded by substantive arguments to vote in a way that is consistent with fixed policy views but instead are pushed and pulled to vote for and against ballot measures since the foundations of their preferences rest on inconsistent and incomplete ideologies. Voters in ballot proposition contests are, in other words, persuaded all too easily to change their views. This chapter reviews that argument and presents evidence for a counter-argument that voters—at least in the US setting—are less open to persuasion than the literature often suggests.

Keywords: heuristics, cues, direct democracy, consistency, campaign effects, voter competence, opinion stability

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