Unveiling Political Opinion Structures with a Web-experiment

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TitleUnveiling Political Opinion Structures with a Web-experiment
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsGravino, P, Caminiti, S, Sirbu, A, Tria, F, Servedio, VDP, Loreto, V
Conference NameProceedings of the 1st International Conference on Complex Information Systems
ISBN Number978-989-758-181-6
AbstractThe dynamics of political votes has been widely studied, both for its practical interest and as a paradigm of the dynamics of mass opinions and collective phenomena, where theoretical predictions can be easily tested. However, the vote outcome is often influenced by many factors beyond the bare opinion on the candidate, and in most cases it is bound to a single preference. The voter perception of the political space is still to be elucidated. We here propose a web experiment (laPENSOcos`ı) where we explicitly investigate participants’ opinions on political entities (parties, coalitions, individual candidates) of the Italian political scene. As a main result, we show that the political perception follows a Weber-Fechner-like law, i.e., when ranking political entities according to the user expressed preferences, the perceived distance of the user from a given entity scales as the logarithm of this rank.