The Effect of Political Campaign Activities on the Knowledge Gap in Taiwan : A Case Study on the 2008 and 2012 Presidential Elections





Published date: 

十二月, 2014


Albert Shih-yi Chiu


For ordinary citizens, political knowledge serves as a prerequisite for meaningful political participation. Thus, types of political knowledge that are easy to know and easily learned over time among voters are of particular importance to those who long for an informed citizenry. Three research questions are asked. The first is whether or not a specific type of political knowledge is easily known and easily learned over a period of time among respondents. The second concerns the extent to which a knowledge gap exists between different population segments measured by education, and how this gap exists when it comes to different types of political knowledge. The third question is whether campaign activities have the function of helping the low educational group to improve in political knowledge and ultimately close up the knowledge gap. The research findings are such that both the U.S. president’s name and the Taiwan premier’s name are the surveillance fact, and the former is easy fact and the latter is the easily learned fact. On the other hand, knowledge about constitutional interpretation is relatively hard to pick up given that it has the nature of taught fact. Moreover, if given time to digest, the low educational group is likely to catch up with the high educational group when it comes to the surveillance fact. In this case, the knowledge gap tends to disappear. Last, but not least, campaign news on TV and televised presidential debates help the less educated to learn and serve as another possibility for closing up the knowledge gap. This study is based on one-shot cross-sectional analyses as well as conditional fixed-effect logistic regressions for its empirical examination.