Information and heterogeneity in issue voting: Evidence from the 2008 presidential election in Taiwan
A voter's capacity to acquire and retain information moderates the relationship between issues and the vote. Issues differ in their distance from the voter's personal experience. Proximate issues, such as personal economic conditions, affect the vote decisions of highly informed and less informed voters equally. Distant issues, such as national economic conditions and foreign affairs, affect the vote of highly informed voters but not less informed voters. The 2008 presidential election on Taiwan provides a critical test of the effect of information on issue voting. Unification with mainland China versus Taiwan independence is the most important issue in the 2008 election, and voters with higher levels of political information show a larger effect of the issue on their vote. The national economy is also a significant predictor of vote choice, but only for highly informed voters. Personal economic conditions and other proximate issues are not significant predictors of the vote at any information level.
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