The growing number of undecided voters has attracted a lot of interest due to its important role in determining election results. Many studies have addressed the media consumption of undecideds but few have examined the role of undecideds’ attitudes towards the media institution. This paper is innovative in its attempt to address the issue of the role of media trust in undecided versus decided voters’ media engagement, based on a survey (N =1427) followed by a multivariate analysis during the Israeli April 2019 elections campaign. The analysis revealed that although decided voters have more doubt in the accuracy of the news media, they still consume more news from more diverse sources, highlighting decideds as more critical and simultaneously more informed than undecideds. A parallel experiment (N =121) identified that undecideds tended to rank a fake news item shared by one of their Facebook friends as credible significantly more often than decideds, demonstrating undecideds’ lower critical ability to identify misinformation. The present study highlights the under-explored roles of undecideds (mis)trust of the news media and high susceptibility to believe fake news items, thus adding new evidence to the notion that elections are often won by the least informed and least critical citizens. We discuss the grim implications of our findings to current literature.
- epistemic bubbles
- media trust
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Library and Information Sciences