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The Social Communication of Political Expertise

Robert Huckfeldt
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 45, No. 2 (Apr., 2001), pp. 425-438
DOI: 10.2307/2669350
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2669350
Page Count: 14
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The Social Communication of Political Expertise
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Abstract

The ability of citizens to make discriminating judgments regarding the political expertise of other individuals is centrally related to the potential for deliberative democracy. If people are unable to render such judgments-if the communication of political expertise is, for example, fundamentally compromised by political bias-then the purposeful basis of political communication and deliberation among citizens is called into question. This article focuses on (1) the criteria that people employ in making judgments with respect to the political competence of other individuals, (2) the consequences of these judgments for the pattern and frequency of political communication, and (3) the implications for the effectiveness of collective deliberation among citizens. The database is taken from a study of political communication in the 1996 election, built on interviews with registered voters and their discussants in the Indianapolis and St. Louis metropolitan areas.

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