Talking Together and Voting Together
This chapter considers whether people's voting decisions are in part a function of the contexts in which they live. In particular, are they influenced by the opinions of those they talk to? It shows that political conversations between citizens do make a difference. They are mainly (though not exclusively) relatively local, they do lead to people changing their vote choice, and they can influence whether individuals change their opinions. And political conversations are not only fostered by tolerance, they also help to encourage tolerance. As the neighbourhood effects literature suggests, people who talk together do vote together. However, conversation is not the only means by which the neighbourhood effect might operate. Voters can also make judgements based on their observations of the local economy, for instance, or may be influenced by political parties' local campaign activities.
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