Researchers found people who over-claimed knowledge were likely to cast an anti-establishment vote

A recent research study in the Netherlands focuses on voter behavior and its influence on their vote. Experts used results based on an EU treaty and observed that people who over-claimed, usually had a tendency to anti-establishment voting and were particularly radically right.

“Politicians and citizens with strong anti-establishment views, including populist movements, often articulate their views with high confidence,” reported Jan-Willem van Prooijen. “This research puts that confidence into perspective and suggests that it may often be overconfidence.” Van Prooijen is one of the co-authors of the study.

For the experiment, authors examined voter knowledge and behavior before and after the vote on the EU treaty, on April 6, 2016. The treaty was based on developing stronger economic as well as political connections between Ukraine and the EU.

As part of the study, questionnaires were sent to voter panels, six weeks before the referendum. Moreover, participants were asked to rate themselves based on their knowledge about the treaty. They were also asked to answer factual questions based on the referendum, in addition to a survey based on political views.

According to the sources, 13,323 people were part of the survey. Later, the authors got in touch with the participants with a second round of questions, two days after the vote. The questions were based on whether people voted in the referendum and how they voted. The results were revealed anonymously.

The second group consisted of 5568 people from the original panel and included 2044 people who had not voted. The results concluded that anti-establishment vote was 1.62 times more likely based on measurement point of self-perceived knowledge. The authors also relied on voter behavior and political leanings of the participants. Furthermore, experts added that an increase in actual knowledge decreased the possibility of the anti-establishment vote by 0.85 per measurement point.

“The study does not show that anti-establishment voters are somehow less intelligent, or less concerned with society,” concluded van Prooijen. “Future research may reveal whether the discrepancy between self-perceived understanding and actual knowledge is due to being uninformed or due to being misinformed.”

The results of the research study were published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.