The longitudinal case study was conducted from 2003 to 2005 and it involved having quarterly, in-depth interviews with 44 poor families living in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago de Chile. The aim of these interviews was to gather information on the amount of political knowledge these people had, how these families perceived the changes that were going on and how these families would try and benefit from this. The time period in which the case study was carried out was very critical as the municipal elections took place during this time period and candidates for presidents also started campaigning for the presidential elections. Mostly qualitative data was collected and a software called ‘atlas’ was used for analysis of this data.
The results showed that people had a lot of knowledge regarding the economic, social and political scene of their country. These people were frustrated with the system. They felt like they were forced to vote as registration was compulsory and after this, if someone did not vote, he was fined. In order to get more personal insight about how these families were feeling, conversations between families were taken into consideration. Most of them agreed that even if they voted, they were not going to be listened to and that their votes did not change anything as they were poor. The people did not trust the political system of their country so that was a reason for not having interest in voting. The researchers found out that the knowledge that these people possessed was based on what media showed them and interaction with family and friends etc. They also found out that one thing which was largely considered before selecting a candidate to vote for was the previous record of the candidate. This included how he had tried to help the poor previously and how he put in an effort to improve the country’s current situation.