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What is Political Efficacy

What Is Political Efficacy?

4 min read
What is Political Efficacy Politics Team · Aug 10, 2023

The prerequisite of politics requires sound knowledge of the key issues affecting a nation or state and its people. It requires getting to know each candidate, their ideas, and their beliefs.

Party systems often run on platforms with certain concepts in mind that reflect the basic tenets of the parties they represent. Sometimes these concepts result in major conflicts, especially among voters. Political psychology is at play when relations between individuals and concepts form. These dynamics influence political participation for individuals and groups.

Take, for example, the issue of gun control. Recent reports of mass shootings have moved some candidates to propose tighter measures over who is allowed to own firearms. Most Republicans would argue that these new laws being proposed violate our second amendment rights under the Constitution.

Others would argue that these regulations are necessary for the sake of public safety. Stricter background checks have been enacted in recent years to ensure that only the most responsible citizens can own guns. Either way, individual voters have the power to influence this and other policies, and that is often done through the election process.

Other issues like racial and gender equality, sexual orientation, and transgender rights are at the forefront of most of today's political debates. Citizens on both sides present logical arguments regarding each of these topics.

In any case, it sparks another concept: political efficacy. What is it, how can it be best defined, and how can we use it in raising awareness of these issues? Most importantly, what does it have to do with voting? How can we, as voters, use political efficacy to improve citizen confidence and increase political empowerment as voters?

What is Political Efficacy?

Political Efficacy is the feeling that individual voters have about political and social change. It is predicated on the idea that this change is made possible through elections. This is a major part of political participation. An individual can achieve a belief in political influence, which, in turn, increases voter confidence. Voter confidence is the case where a majority supports a certain policy or a leader, as in the case of gun control.

How Can Individuals Increase Political Efficacy and Engagement?

Political participation is vital to the democratic process. The key is political involvement, which can take many forms. Increasing political efficacy begins with political awareness of the issues that dominate current political culture. Citizens can get involved by voting in elections, contacting local and national officials, and assisting in political campaigns. Other ways include petitioning, protesting, donating, or volunteering for causes.

Political efficacy theory states that voters with greater confidence are twice as likely to be more motivated toward political change. They are more likely to join political action committees, vote, and influence government policy. This level of civic participation helps to establish greater political trust between communities and political leaders. This improves voter empowerment and engagement through group participation.

What is Political Behavior and How Does It Influence Efficacy?

Political behavior is best defined as a phenomenon that occurs in groups. These include communities, institutions, and governments. Certain ways of thinking within these groups can influence each individual towards a specific political belief, whether it's same-sex marriage or traditional marriage. Civic engagement through activism is one of its key components.

In some cases, activism may be used to foster political action toward positive change. One of the most popular examples is the ongoing debate on climate change. Concerned citizens are strongly encouraged to actively participate in an atmosphere where everyone has an equal say. Voter empowerment increases through the use of celebrity spokespersons who voice similar concerns on the issue.

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How Can Civic Engagement Increase?

Recent trends have shown a steady increase in civic engagement. Voters who express concern over the issues that impact a community and ways to improve them. The idea is to encourage equal participation from everyone from all backgrounds. The general idea is to break barriers and invoke an attitude of equity among people of different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. This promotes better decision-making for a greater majority rather than an elite group.

Citizen engagement can include neighborhood block watch meetings, local school board meetings, and town hall meetings. Citizen empowerment is achieved through active participation. These meetings are designed to increase political awareness by raising local issues. Civic participation is encouraged through social media in an effort to get one's voice heard.

What is Civic Education in Politics?

Civic education is a broad term that involves all of the responsibilities of citizenship. Civic responsibility in civic education means getting involved in the political process. Knowledge of civic duty and rights means knowing how to work together to influence policies and political systems.

Individual voters may see an issue that impacts their community or nation. It could be something economic, such as high energy costs or lack of jobs. But civic education involves knowledge of a political system and how to make it work.

Citizens are encouraged to contact constituents, write their representatives, or call their state senators on issues that are important to them. Strong political efficacy can be achieved through starting petitions or campaign contributions.

What is Political Self-Efficacy?

Political self-efficacy is an individual's personal belief in their own power. It involves a personal attitude in one's own ability to promote change through civic engagement and advocacy.

Can Political Influence Shape Voting Behavior?

Political knowledge involves a level of awareness of current issues that impact communities. Decision-making includes weighing the facts on both sides. Common topics such as climate change and racial equity require critical decisions which involve a lot of thought. Voting behavior can be shaped through political influence, where a proposal is at play.

The most common forms of political influence are indirect and usually involve celebrities as spokespersons. These people are endowed with enough time, money, and resources to dedicate to a cause. One example is PETA, where a group of actors and musicians unite for the ethical treatment of animals. In these cases, TV ads, billboards, and online ads are used to impact voting behavior and effect social change. Increasing political efficacy and improving voter engagement are the main goals.

Political Efficacy and Democracy: How Are They Related?

Voter engagement is a common expectation in a democracy. Citizens are strongly encouraged to participate in both local and national elections. In a democracy, every voice should count, and this improves political self-efficacy.

Political efficacy and democracy are interrelated. Active political participation includes personal confidence in one's own ability to impact change. Civic participation and efficacy are shaped by current political attitudes among citizens and groups. A country where a higher percentage of citizens support the current political system is more likely to continue in the same direction.

A prime example would be in much of Europe, where voter satisfaction with the current system is highest. Other countries such as the United States are trending towards greater voter dissatisfaction with the current system. There are several factors that could influence this, both economic and social.

What Influences Voter Dissatisfaction?

Voter dissatisfaction happens at certain key points and is influenced by a number of factors: crime rates, taxes, and economics. Each plays a critical role in political attitudes and helps shape voting behavior in upcoming elections. In states and areas where crime rates are high, voters may lack trust in their leaders. Consequently, they may petition to influence change or elect new leaders.

Economic states are one of the greatest issues that influence political attitudes. High prices and heavy taxation are two common issues discussed among voters. Public opinion is affected when the majority may lose faith in the current leadership. Political efficacy can be achieved by studying the candidates and the issues that they stand for.

In two-party systems, debates are common. However, people may lose efficacy if they feel that neither party represents them or their needs. In some cases, candidates on both sides can lose sight of voter expectations in an attempt to win an election.


Citizens can gain more knowledge through political participation. Voter education is the first step to achieving greater political efficacy and trust. Sign up for our newsletter today to learn more. Knowledge improves voter turnout and increases political self-efficacy in most cases.

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Civic Engagement
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By Politics Team
The politics team is focused on transforming the political landscape by promoting transparency, accountability, and positive change. They aim to engage citizens in the political process, encourage informed decision-making, and support candidates who prioritize the common good. Their mission revolves around creating a more fair and just political system, fostering collaboration, and breaking down traditional barriers of partisanship.