Not all undecided voters are alike: Evidence from an Israeli election

Moran Yarchi, Gadi Wolfsfeld, Tal Samuel-Azran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The literature dealing with undecided voters – a growing group of citizens in many democracies that can determine who wins in election campaigns – suggests two very different profiles. The first approach describes undecided voters as being generally uninformed about politics, while the second sees undecideds as sophisticated citizens who follow a campaign closely before making their final voting decision. The current study tries to make sense of this contrast, while examining differences between sophisticated and less sophisticated undecideds (their level of sophistication was based on their political interest and knowledge). Using two panel surveys, conducted before and after the April 2019 elections in Israel (N = 1427; N = 912), we examine a number of hypotheses about differences in terms of the undecided citizens' demographic backgrounds, how they search for political information during the election campaign, how they come to make their final decisions, and whether they ended up voting. The findings indicate that the typical sophisticated undecided voter is a citizen from a more privileged social background, exhibits greater trust in traditional media, consumes more news to follow the campaign (from various traditional news outlets and social media), is more likely to carry out online discussions about the elections, is more likely to base his or her decision on policy issues, is more likely to debate between parties within the same ideological camp (internal floater), and more likely to vote than less sophisticated undecided voters. Our typology, which makes a distinction between sophisticated and less sophisticated undecided voters, as well as these findings (and the comparison to the committed voters), can help political scientists and practitioners widen their understanding regarding this important group of voters in todays' complex political reality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101598
JournalGovernment Information Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Elections
  • Israel
  • Levels of political sophistication
  • Undecided voters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law


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