Trust Heuristic and Vote Choice

Evidence from Cross-sectional Studies in South Korea

Korean Politics
Electoral Politics

Hur, Jaeyoung, Hyun-Hee Heo, Sanghoon Park, Deok Hyun Jang, Jin Yong Lee, and Won Mo Jang. 2022. “Trust Heuristic and Vote Choice: Evidence from Cross-sectional Studies in South Korea.”


Jaeyoung Hur

Global Leadership, Yonsei University

Hyun-Hee Heo

Graduate School of Public Health, Korea University

Political Science, Univeristy of South Carolina

Research Analytics & Communications, Gallup Korea

Jin Yong Lee

Public Healthcare Center, Seoul National University Hospital and the Department of Health Policy and Management, Seoul National University College of Medicine

Won Mo Jang

Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Seoul Metropolitan Government-Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center


March 2021


The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a political issue that can influence individual political attitudes and cognitions. This appears to be the first study to look into the relationship between voters’ trust heuristic for COVID-19 countermeasures and nationwide legislative election behaviors during the pandemic. We investigated how voters’ trust heuristics for government or authority affect their intention to vote for the governing party in the early stages of the pandemic. The findings show that the government’s COVID-19 countermeasure’s trust heuristic influences voting intentions for the incumbent governing party. This result holds even when evaluating the government’s overall performance or partisanship, which previous studies on Korean politics considered decisive. Voters with a higher trust heuristic for public health are more likely to vote for the ruling party. Furthermore, as the election approaches, even opposition party supporters show conditional support based on the trust heuristic. More research is needed to understand the psychological mechanisms underlying voting decisions during emerging infectious disease pandemics