Spatial models in voting advice applications

Simon Otjes, Tom Louwerse

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We examine the use of spatial models in Voting Advice Applications. A successful branch of VAAs uses multidimensional models of the political space to inform users of their policy match with political parties. Creators of these VAAs offer only a very generalized justification for the choice of their underlying spatial model. We examine whether these spatial representations offer a valid depiction of policy differences between parties. We compare the spatial models from the available national ‘electoral compasses’, which include established democracies as well as semi-authoritarian and transitional systems. We find that the two-dimensional ‘one-size fits all’ model that is used in all of these countries fails to accommodate significant variation between party systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-271
Number of pages9
JournalElectoral Studies
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2014


  • Voting advice application
  • Electoral behaviour
  • E-democracy
  • Political party
  • Spatial model

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