Marta Gallina Anna DeCastellarnau https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1935-3810


This article investigates the individual predictors of political knowledge by means of a test that takes into account both ‘traditional’ factors (i.e. education and interest) and media exposure. We argue that, as media level out the knowledge gap between more and less educated and motivated voters, education and interest might be deprived of their role in explaining political knowledge. Empirically, we assess this by looking at whether the impact of education and political interest on political knowledge vanishes when media exposure variables are included in the estimates. Analyses rely on the 2014 European Election Study, selecting Italy as case study and correcting for measurement errors. Results after the correction for measurement errors show that exposure to news about the 2014 European elections on television does have a significant positive effect on knowledge about European affairs, while this is not the case for exposure to newspapers and the internet. Moreover, we find that the impact of education and interest persists also in the model containing indicators of media exposure. This finding confirms that, regardless of the role of media, education and interest are significant predictors of voters’ political knowledge about European affairs.