Didn’t it mean a thing fit ain’t got that swing? Swing Voters and Accountability Mechanism in the Japanese Lower House Election 2009
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This paper investigates the democratic accountability mechanism. It is essential to democracy that voters are able to create a shift in national political power through an election when they are dissatisfied with the performance of the current government. The question is who can trigger such a shift in Japan’s 2009 LH election: knowledgeable or uninformed voters? Our result shows that swing voters are neither outstandingly knowledgeable nor ideal citizens. The study’s findings on political knowledge indicate that they are very ordinary people. On the other hand, the DPJ stayers in the study were more knowledgeable than average voters, and the LDP stayers and swing voters followed the DPJ stayers. Given the unpopularity of the cabinet at the time of the election, some people who regarded the DPJ as more capable of managing government swung from the LDP to the DPJ. Thus, swing voters in 2009 made the same voting choice as the DPJ stayers, who were the most politically knowledgeable. Should their decision be criticized, or did it make sense in terms of political knowledgeability?
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