Is Political Interest Absolute or Relative?

24 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2014  

Carolina Galais

University of Montreal

André Blais

University of Montreal - Department of Political Science

Shaun Bowler

University of California, Riverside (UCR)

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

An individual’s level of interest in politics has both normative and empirical relevance. Normatively, interest in politics is a component of the definition of a democratic citizen; empirically, interest in politics is a broadly used predictor of political participation. Despite this importance there has been little systematic reflection about how it should be measured, and especially about how to minimize social desirability biases that may prevent some people from admitting a lack of interest. In this paper we present different ways of measuring political interest and validate these measures by using them to predict standard measures of political participation. In this paper we determine whether asking respondents how interested they are in politics compared to other domains produces different results.

Keywords: interest in politics, attitudes measure, survey methods

Suggested Citation

Galais, Carolina and Blais, André and Bowler, Shaun, Is Political Interest Absolute or Relative? (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2455573

Carolina Galais (Contact Author)

University of Montreal ( email )

C.P. 6128 succursale Centre-ville
Montreal, Quebec H3C 3J7
Canada

André Blais

University of Montreal - Department of Political Science ( email )

Pavillon Lionel-Groulx
3150, rue Jean-Brillant
Montréal, Québec H3T 1N8
Canada
514-343-7349 (Phone)

Shaun Bowler

University of California, Riverside (UCR)

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