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Tales of Two Referendums: Comparing Debate Quality between the UK and New Zealand Voting System Referendums of 2011

Renwick, A; Vowles, J; (2021) Tales of Two Referendums: Comparing Debate Quality between the UK and New Zealand Voting System Referendums of 2011. Representation 10.1080/00344893.2021.1902380. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Two voting system referendums in the same year in two countries with institutional and cultural similarities provide an excellent opportunity for comparison, particularly given the significant differences in how those referendums were regulated and conducted. In New Zealand, a well-funded and balanced official information campaign led the debate; in Britain, the debate was dominated by campaign organisations. Based on content analysis of newspaper coverage of the campaigns, this paper explores how regulatory differences between these two cases shaped the quality of debate as reflected in media discourse. It finds that they made a difference, suggesting that positive interventions to promote better debate can work. It also concludes, however, that contextual factors are crucial too: interventions that work in one context will not necessarily work in another.

Type: Article
Title: Tales of Two Referendums: Comparing Debate Quality between the UK and New Zealand Voting System Referendums of 2011
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/00344893.2021.1902380
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/00344893.2021.1902380
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Keywords: Deliberative democracy, discourse quality, campaign regulation, institutional design, public information
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10129284
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