A9 – A Spiral of Skepticism? The Relationship between Citizens’ Involvement with Campaign Information to their Skepticism and Political Knowledge


Citation: Hutchens, M. J., Hmielowski, J. D., Pinkleton, B. E., & Beam, M. A. (2016). A spiral of skepticism? The relationship between citizens’ involvement with campaign information to their skepticism and political knowledge. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 93, 1073-1090.


Scholars have emphasized the importance of an informed citizenry for a healthy democracy. As a result, research has examined whether campaign information fosters positive or negative democratic outcomes. This article examines the relationship between information seeking and skepticism. We also examine whether skepticism leads to democratically beneficial outcomes. We examine these relationships using survey data collected during the course of the 2012 Presidential Election. We found an over-time relationship between campaign information seeking and skepticism. We also found that skepticism leads to increased knowledge at the end of the election through information seeking.