Title

Finding the Truth in Politics: An Empirical Validation of the Epistemic Political Efficacy Concept

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-2018

Abstract

Self-efficacy theory suggests that one’s perceived ability to successfully find facts may motivate political information seeking. A telephone survey of voters in a presidential campaign attempted to further validate the concept of epistemic political efficacy (EPE), or belief one can discover the “truth” in politics, and applied it to modern information-seeking behaviors. This study of North Carolina registered voters ( N = 605) demonstrates that EPE adds predictive power beyond commonly used measures such as individual political efficacy for contemporary media use variables like online information seeking and partisan cable viewing. EPE was a stronger positive predictor of online information seeking than individual political efficacy. In addition, viewing partisan cable shows had a stronger relationship with EPE than mainstream TV news viewing, and EPE significantly predicted MSNBC viewing, even after controlling for partisanship. In a word, voters who are high in the belief that political facts or “truths” exist take steps to find and understand them.

Publication Name

Atlantic Journal of Communication

Volume Number

26

First Page

1

Last Page

15

Issue Number

1

Publisher

Routledge

DOI

10.1080/15456870.2018.1398162

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