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The Dynamics of Collective Deliberation in the 1996 Election: Campaign Effects on Accessibility, Certainty, and Accuracy

Robert Huckfeldt, John Sprague and Jeffrey Levine
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 94, No. 3 (Sep., 2000), pp. 641-651
DOI: 10.2307/2585836
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2585836
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Dynamics of Collective Deliberation in the 1996 Election: Campaign Effects on Accessibility, Certainty, and Accuracy
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Abstract

We examine the effectiveness of political communication and deliberation among citizens during a presidential election campaign. In order for communication to be effective, messages conveyed through social interaction must be unambiguous, and the recipient must readily, confidently, and accurately perceive the intent of the sender. We address a number of factors that may influence communication effectiveness: the accessibility and extremity of political preferences, the distribution of preferences in the surrounding environment, disagreement between the senders and receivers of political messages, and the dynamic of the election campaign. The analysis is based on a study of the 1996 campaign, which interviewed citizens and discussion partners between March 1996 and January 1997. The citizens are a random sample of registered voters in the Indianapolis and St. Louis areas, and these registered voters identified the discussion partners as people with whom they discuss either "government, elections, and politics" or "important matters."

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