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Contesting the European Union? Why the Dutch and the French Rejected the European Constitution

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Abstract

The process of establishing a Constitution for Europe came to an end when voters in France and the Netherlands rejected the proposal. Analyzing both media coverage and survey data, this article seeks to disentangle the reasons why a majority of voters rejected the Constitution. Our findings suggest that the campaign played an important role in priming certain attitudes and that vote choices, in turn, were driven by specific issue concerns rather than general dissatisfaction with the European Union or national governments. These findings have implications not only for our understanding of direct democracy in Europe, but also for the study of campaign effects in referendums.

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... As a result, people's choices are likely to be informed both by their prior views about the status quo constitution and by external cues that serve as informational shortcuts on the purpose and merits of constitutional change. The latter gives room for elites to influence voter choices through information provision (Lupia, 1994) and issue framing (Hobolt and Brouard, 2010). ...
... These correspond to the two types of framing used by proponents and critics of constitutional amendment, which we explored in Section 2. First, we compare voters with different constitutional philosophies that may guide their preferences about the overall shape of the constitution. Earlier work on referendums has similarly examined issue-specific preferences (Hobolt and Brouard, 2010;Elkink et al., 2020), but given the wide variety of topics included in our experiment, we ask a broader question in the posttreatment segment of our survey. ...
... We will explore why levels of statistical significance vary later in this section. We do not expect people's responses to the treatment to be homogenous, given differences among respondents in prior issue preferences and partisanship (Hobolt and Brouard, 2010). We estimate heterogenous treatment effects by interacting treatment assignment with responses to questions assessing these two dimensions. ...
Article
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In many countries, constitutional amendments require the direct approval of voters, but the consequences of fundamental changes to the powers and operations of the state are difficult to anticipate. The referendums literature suggests that citizens weigh their prior beliefs about the merits of proposals against the heuristic provided by the partisanship of the proposer, but the relative salience of these factors across constitutional issue areas remains underexplored. This paper examines the determinants of citizen preferences on 12 diverse constitutional issues, based on a novel survey experiment in Japan. We show that support for amendments is greater when its proposer is described as non-partisan. However, constitutional ideology moderates this effect. Those who prefer idealistic constitutions that elevate national traditions tend to value proposals that expand government powers, compared to those who prefer pragmatic constitutions that constrain government authority. These results highlight the significance of constitutional beliefs that are independent of partisanship.
... While these two survey questions are undoubtedly important, valuable, and provide a rich, cross-nationally comparative and across time account of public opinion toward the EU, they at the same time limit our understanding of the possible multidimensionality of EU attitudes. Scholarship has emphasized that it is unlikely that EU attitudes are one-dimensional (Bakker & de Vreese, 2016;Hobolt & Brouard, 2010;Maier et al., 2015). The most inclusive and comprehensive account was provided by Boomgaarden, Schuck, Elenbaas, and de Vreese (2011) who proposed and empirically established five dimensions of EU attitudes. ...
... Second, EU public opinion research was included that had explored the conceptual and empirical boundaries of EU attitudes by taking measures into consideration that potentially tap into a broader range of economic, political, and identity-related attitudes. This concerned items like ''The European Union should become one country'' (Lubbers, 2008) and ''The decisionmaking power of the EU should be extended'' (Hobolt & Brouard, 2010). It also included two identity-focused measures: ''I am proud to be a European citizen'' (Lubbers, 2008) and ''The European Union poses a threat to Dutch identity and culture'' (Hobolt & Brouard, 2010;Lubbers, . ...
... This concerned items like ''The European Union should become one country'' (Lubbers, 2008) and ''The decisionmaking power of the EU should be extended'' (Hobolt & Brouard, 2010). It also included two identity-focused measures: ''I am proud to be a European citizen'' (Lubbers, 2008) and ''The European Union poses a threat to Dutch identity and culture'' (Hobolt & Brouard, 2010;Lubbers, . Based on Lubbers' (2008) study, it also used an item that measures the extent to which citizens perceive the EU to be ''wasting tax money.'' ...
Article
Citizens’ attitudes toward the European Union (EU) are important, changing, and multidimensional. Still comparative studies of the dimensional structure of EU-attitudes are virtually absent. Using an extensive battery of EU attitude-items in a 21-country study, we test the dimensional structure of EU attitudes cross-nationally and assess the variation in this dimensional structure. We find (1) that EU attitudes are indeed multidimensional, also comparatively, (2) that the structure varies, but (3) that the structure is widely applicable especially when the EU is more salient in a country. Surprisingly, the attitudinal structure is not more pronounced in long-standing member states, and the structure is most outspoken in countries experiencing a change in migration. The implications for the study of EU attitudes are discussed.
... First, some studies suggest that attitudes toward European integration are inherently variable, reflecting differential degrees of certainty and ambivalence (De Vries & Steenbergen 2013, Stöckel 2013. Second, Boomgaarden et al. (2011) suggest that a one-dimensional approach to support for European integration is insufficient (see also Hobolt & Brouard 2011); instead, they advocate a multidimensional understanding including the dimensions of performance, identity, affection, utilitarianism, and strengthening-all of which are closely linked to the different explanatory approaches that we discuss below. These studies thus raise important questions about whether citizens have consistent and unidimensional attitudes toward European integration or whether we need to distinguish between several dimensions. ...
... More and more evidence suggests that attitudes toward European integration affect vote choices, at least in national elections in which the issue has been mobilized by Euroskeptic issue entrepreneurs (De Vries 2007, 2010Evans 1998;Tillman 2004Tillman , 2012. Although the literature on the role of EU support in elections is evolving, the focus still remains on the impact of regime support, and particularly the lack of regime support (Euroskepticism), whereas there is less research on how policy-specific support affects vote choices (exceptions include Hobolt & Brouard 2011, Schoen 2008, and importantly on how the contestation of the European Union is linked to other issues, such as anti-immigration or antiausterity attitudes, in different electoral contexts. ...
Article
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Public opinion is increasingly at the heart of both political and scholarly debates on European integration. This essay reviews the large literature on public support for, and opposition to, European integration, focusing on conceptualization, causes and consequences: What is public support for European integration? How can we explain variation in support and Euroskepticism? And, what are the consequences of public support for elections and policy-making in the European Union? The review reveals that while a growing literature has sought to explain individual support for European integration, more work is still needed to understand the ways in which opinions are shaped by their national context and how public contestation of the EU poses a challenge to, and an opportunity, for the future of the integration project.
... Qvortrup 2006). Hobolt (2009), however, provides a comprehensive study of European referendums including the four TCE referendums, 2 and Glencross and Trechsel (2011) analyse whether voting behaviour in these referendums is driven by national or European considerations. We build on these studies by investigating the potential for cross-national coalition building, based on whether similar political and social groups could be mobilized in favour or against the TCE. ...
... Yet, Jeremy Corbyn has come under criticism for a more low-key role he took during the Brexit referendum campaign (cf. Hobolt 2016Hobolt , 1261, perhaps illustrating the limits of centre-left elites' willingness to risk highlighting their supporter base's internal split on European integration. Future research should investigate the conditions under which party leaders in general and those on the centre-left in particular will attempt to (de) emphasize their positions on European integration during referendum campaigns. ...
Article
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The European Union and especially European political integration have increasingly become subject to public contestation. The need to build consensus across different national polities severely limits elites’ policy options. In this article we investigate the potential to build cross-national coalitions among the European public using data on the referendums on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (TCE). We argue that existing cleavage structures should create both opportunities and hurdles for cross-national cooperation and investigate these patterns in all countries where referendums took place (Spain, France, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg). Using binary logistic regressions we find that strong common patterns, especially along party-political lines, co-exist with country-specific factors. These results demonstrate some potential for a supra-national European political space and discourse and that political parties could play a central part in that process.
... An important ongoing advance in the EU literature is what one could call the multidimensional turn in EU attitudes. While earlier work on euroscepticism among parties and in public opinion had focused mainly on explaining pro versus anti-EU positions, scholarly attention has shifted to developing a more fine-grained conceptualization of EU attitudes (Boomgaarden et al., 2011;Hobolt and Brouard, 2011). Among the first attempts to do so was the distinction between 'hard' and 'soft' euroscepticism introduced by Taggart and Szczerbiak (2004). ...
... While confirming several common findings, such as that there are generally more negative EU preferences among globalization losers (Gabel, 1998;Gabel and Palmer, 1995;Hobolt, 2016) or right-wing voters (De Vries and Edwards, 2009;Van Elsas et al., 2016), we show that such negative preferences are not necessarily at the extreme of the spectrum and often result in preferences for profound reform rather than a full-blown rejection of the EU. The same holds for the influence of multidimensional EU attitudes (Boomgaarden et al., 2011;Hobolt and Brouard, 2011), as our study shows that negative evaluations of the EU can lead to support for soft or intermediate scenarios rather than hard scenarios. ...
Article
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Public opinion on the EU has received growing attention in the last decades, with an ever‐increasing number of studies examining various aspects of it. Surprisingly, most studies focus on attitudes towards the past and present of the EU, yet we know very little about public attitudes towards the future of the EU. This study helps to fill this research gap by examining attitudes towards the EU's long‐term future using a novel approach. We developed eight concrete future EU scenarios based on an inductive analysis of qualitative survey data. Subsequently, respondents (in an independent survey) ranked their top three scenarios according to individual preferences. Using multidimensional unfolding, we show that these preferences form three clusters ordered along a more versus less EU dimension. In a second step, we used multinomial logistic regression to examine not only who supports which scenario (socio‐demographics) but also which EU attitudes lead to which future preferences. The analyses identify distinct characteristics and attitudes that drive people's preference for a given scenario. Overall, we find that factors such as occupational levels or left–right attitudes are strong determinants of preferences for the future of the EU, and that specific EU support (performance and utilitarian evaluations) is more important than diffuse EU support (identity and affect).
... In the last decade, multidimensional approaches to the study of public support for the EU have gained prominence (Lubbers, 2008;Hobolt and Brouard, 2011;Hobolt and De Vries, 2016;Boomgaarden et al., 2011;De Vries, 2018). These approaches acknowledge that support for the EU can be directed towards different objects -the polity as a whole or its policies -and can be of various nature -with affective, utilitarian or other connotations. ...
... On the other hand, there is also little agreement on the different connotations of public support or opposition to the European Union (Hobolt and De Vries, 2016;De Vries, 2018). Cost-benefit and utilitarian dimensions (Gabel, 1998;McLaren, 2005), identitarian values (Hooghe and Marks, 2004;McLaren, 2005;Lubbers, 2008), social and policy-specific considerations (Hobolt and Brouard, 2011) are all elements that have been showed to characterise EU support, although their relative importance might differ from country to country. Other studies showed that support for EU integration entails five "genuinely distinct and independent" dimensions of performance, identity, affection, strengthening and utilitarianism (Boomgaarden et al., 2011, 259). ...
Preprint
This study proposes the use of Bayesian item response theory (IRT) models to measure public preferences towards Europe. IRT models address the limitations of single-question indicators and produce valid estimates of public latent attitudes over long time periods, even when available indicators change over time or present interruptions. The approach is compared with an alternative technique recently introduced in the study of EU public opinion, the Dyad Ratios algorithm. It shows that IRT models can both incorporate a more theoretically grounded individual-level model of response and produce more accurate estimates of latent public support for Europe. The measure is validated by showing its association both to alternative measures of EU support and to the vote share of Eurosceptic parties across Europe.
... There is considerable work in the related literature suggesting that attitudes towards the EU are multidimensional (see, e.g. Boomgaarden et al., 2011;Goldberg & de Vreese, 2018;Hobolt & Brouard, 2011). In the absence of such specific measures we consider a general one based on the image the respondent holds for the EU: In general, does the EU conjure up for you a very positive, fairly positive, neutral, fairly negative or very negative image?, included in every wave in our sample. ...
... To illustrate, consider the case of a UK individual with a strongly negative EU image: this may stem from a dissatisfaction with certain EU policies, but not necessarily with a preference for Brexit per se. In other words, a negative EU image might be capturing a view for a 'different Europe', not 'less Europe' (Hobolt & Brouard, 2011). This argument might indeed, partly, justify why our regression results estimate a significant decrease in subjective well-being for those with a positive EU image (i.e. offering evidence of preference and experience utility coinciding), and an overall lack of increased subjective well-being for those with a negative EU image despite the United Kingdom now 'taking back control'. ...
Article
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We study the effect of the Brexit referendum result on subjective well‐being in the United Kingdom. Using a quasi‐experimental design, we find that the referendum’s outcome led to an overall decrease in subjective well‐being in the United Kingdom compared to a control group. The effect is driven by individuals who hold an overall positive image of the European Union and shows little signs of adaptation during the Brexit transition period. Economic expectations are potential mechanisms of this effect.
... However, the extent to which voters do so depends very much on the dynamics of the referendum campaign. Hobolt and Brouard (2011) argue that the decisions of voters in these referendums are determined largely by the issues that are primed in the campaign (see also : Hobolt 2009). ...
... In line with our expectations, we found that, as voters picked up referendumspecific information, they relied less strongly on general EU-attitudes as a cue (see also Hobolt and Brouard 2011). However, an unexpected finding was that at the end of the campaign, the direct effect of partisan cues was even stronger than it was at the start of the campaign. ...
... Scholarly work acknowledges that EU attitudes are multidimensional in nature (e.g. De Vreese et al., 2019;Hobolt and Brouard, 2011). They include various aspects of citizens' cognitive and affective evaluations of the EU, like EU performance evaluations, utilitarian attitudes, European identity, and strengthening of the Union. ...
... In this special issue we start from the assumption that, as attitudes towards European integration and assessments of political performances have become more multidimensional over time (e.g. De Vreese et al., 2019;Hobolt and Brouard, 2011), motivations underlying electoral behaviour have become more diverse as well. The second-order elections phenomenon (Reif and Schmitt, 1980), whereby EP elections are dominated by domestic considerations among parties, media and voters, is still present (e.g. . ...
Article
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This special issue focuses on the consequences of the heightened conflict between member states and increased politicization of European affairs for electoral politics in the European Union. In this introduction we begin by outlining three important developments that fuelled the politicization: (a) the common currency; (b) the increased pushback on the EU’s open border policies; and (c) the inability of the EU to prevent democratic backsliding in some countries. We then discuss their consequences for EU elections, particularly campaigns, public opinion on Europe and voter behaviour, which are investigated against the backdrop of the 2019 European Parliament elections in the individual articles in this special issue. This introduction provides a contextual framework for these contributions and reflects upon some of its main findings.
... Indeed, this is not the first time that the European elites have been confronted with 'unruly' popular masses who tend to vote against their plans. We can recall, for example, what happened with the referendums on the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and 1993 in Denmark as well as for the European Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty in France, the Netherlands and also Ireland in 2005(Hooghe and Marks 2006Binzer et al. 2010;FitzGibbon 2010). We saw in these cases that whenever a national citizenry voted against a proposal/treaty that came from the top of the EU, the latter, in collaboration with national political elites, would seek ways to undo or bypass that vote (see also Katsambekis 2017: 207). ...
... 89 -Berinsky and Lewis (2007) question whether voters ever have more than general notions about the location of a proposition and the RP, but many other scholars contend that while voters do not have the information to actually engage in a fully synoptic utility calculation, they can utilize different heuristics when issues are salient, like cues from referents to enable them to make a decision 'as if' they had engaged in this type of calculation (Lupia, 1992(Lupia, , 1994Hobolt, 2009). normal, first-order national elections (sincere voting) (Hix and Marsh 2011;Marsh and Mikhaylov 2010;Hobolt and Brouard 2011). Irrespective of the specific mechanisms, the results of the second-order dynamics are the same: when going to the polls in European referendums, voters focus on how they feel about national politics rather than how they feel about European integration. ...
Technical Report
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This study was commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs of the European Parliament. It analyses the political and legal dynamics behind referendums on EU-related matters. It argues that we have entered a period of increasing political uncertainty with regard to the European project and that this new political configuration will both affect and be affected by the politics of EU-related referendums. Such referendums have long been a risky endeavour and this has been accentuated in the wake of the Great Recession with its negative ramifications for public opinion in the European Union. It is clear that referendums on EU matters are here to stay and will continue to be central to the EU's future as they are deployed to determine the number of Member States within the EU, its geographical reach, its constitutional evolution and adherence to EU policies. Only now they have become an even riskier endeavour. PE 571.402 EN
... Campaigns are crucial in referendums, maybe even more so than in elections. Because referendums are about single issues that may be unfamiliar to voters, they might have little knowledge and no clear pre-existing opinion, so campaigns can potentially have a more profound effect (Binzer Hobolt, and Brouard 2011;LeDuc 2002). ...
Article
Political scientists often distinguish between two types of issues: moral versus non-moral issues or social-cultural versus economic issues. The implication is that these types of issues trigger different types of reasoning: while economic issues rely on pragmatic, consequentialist reasoning, social-cultural issues are said to be dependent on principles and deontological reasoning. However, it is not known whether this distinction is as clear-cut from a citizen's perspective. Scholars agree that understanding the morality of voters’ political attitudes has implications for their political behaviour, such as their willingness to compromise and openness to deliberation. However, few studies have analysed whether citizens reason in principled or pragmatic ways on different issues. This study takes an exploratory approach and analyses the determinants of principled versus pragmatic reasoning in direct democracy, in which citizens make direct policy decisions at the ballot box. Using a unique dataset based on thirty-four ballot decisions in Switzerland, it explores the justifications voters give for their ballot decisions in open-ended survey answers. It distinguishes between pragmatic (or consequentialist) arguments and principled (or value-based) arguments. The analysis shows that principled justifications are not tied to particular issues. Voters use both types of justifications almost equally frequently. Moral justifications are more likely when an issue is personally relevant, as well as when a proposition is accepted, while pragmatic justifications prevail when a proposition is rejected. Furthermore, right-wing voters more often argue in pragmatic terms. Finally, the framing of the issue during the campaign significantly affects moral versus pragmatic justifications.
... More recent research typically blends these approaches: issue voting tends to grow the higher the salience of the issue in question; cues gain importance as salience falls (e.g. Franklin 2002;Garry et al. 2005;Hobolt 2009;Hobolt and Brouard 2011;Schuck and De Vreese 2008;Svensson 2007; for an overview, see Renwick 2017, pp. 443-448). ...
Article
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The UK voted by a narrow margin to leave the European Union in a referendum on 23 June 2016. This article examines why this was the result and brings out comparative implications. Building on previous findings that expectations about the impact of Brexit were central to voters’ decisions, we seek to improve understanding of how these expectations mattered. On average across a range of issues, our analysis suggests that Leave would have won if voters had expected things to stay much the same following Brexit. A big exception is immigration, for which “no change” is associated with Remain voting. But there was a clear expectation that immigration would fall after Brexit (as most voters wanted). That consideration strengthened the Leave vote, and did so sufficiently to overwhelm a more important but less widely and strongly held expectation that the economy would suffer. We also find that those who were uncertain about where Brexit might lead were more likely to back the status quo. This supports a posited tendency towards status quo bias in referendum voting, notwithstanding a widespread belief that this bias failed to materialize in the Brexit vote. Our methods and findings have valuable implications for comparative research.
... So far, we purposively use the term "EU attitudes" rather than the more common term "Euroscepticism" to refer to the array of attitudes that can induce EU issue voting. The multidimensionality of attitudes towards the EU is crucial when studying the correlates of "Euroscepticism" (Boomgaarden et al. 2011;Hobolt and Brouard 2011). First, some EU dimensions can be more important for voting behaviour than others. ...
Article
EU issue voting in European Parliament elections has been shown to be highly conditional upon levels of EU politicization. The present study analyzes this conditionality over time, hypothesizing that the effect of EU attitudes on EP vote preferences is catalyzed as EP elections draw closer. In contrast to extant cross-sectional post-election studies, we use a four-wave panel study covering the six months leading up to the Dutch EP elections of 2014, differentiating between party groups (pro, anti, mixed) and five EU attitude dimensions. We find that EU issue voting occurs for both anti- and pro-EU parties, but only increases for the latter. For mixed parties we find no effect of EU attitudes, yet their support base shifts in the anti-EU direction as the elections draw closer. The overarching image, however, is one of surprising stability: EU attitudes form a consistent part of EP voting motivations even outside EP election times.
... They also view the EU as a broad transnational community that erases differences between national communities and includes transnational cultural practices that threaten national sensitivities. These individuals are less enthusiastic toward both for further integration and supranational EU measures (Carey 2002;Hobolt and Brouard 2011;Kritzinger 2003;Luedtke 2005). As EU enlargement entails welcoming different languages and traditions, for those who hold an exclusive national identity, it directly threatens national unity and culture (Christin and Trechsel 2002; De Vreese andBoomgaarden 2005;McLaren 2002). ...
Article
Despite considerable research analyzing European Union (EU) citizens’ attitudes toward enlargement, there is no scholarly consensus on what drives opposition to the accession of a particular country. To fill this gap, this paper adopts a comparative approach to examine the determinants of attitudes toward the membership of twelve candidate or potential candidate countries to the EU. Using 2005 Eurobarometer survey data from the EU-25, we examine the relative explanatory power of two leading theories—utilitarian and identity—in explaining public opposition to EU enlargement. Our results reveal that, across models, subjective variables capturing material and identity threat perceptions have a more consistent impact on enlargement attitudes compared with objective indicators. While fears of higher EU budget contribution and evaluations of national economic conditions are the most consistent utilitarian predictors of respondents’ opposition to entry of potential EU members, attachment to European identity and fears about the loss of cultural identity are the two most powerful identity-related predictors of public opposition. Contrary to expectations, religious attachment plays a limited role in shaping public opposition. Only Turkey elicits strong and uniform opposition from all religious groups, including atheists, agnostics, and seculars.
... The foundation of the EU migration and asylum policy involves several treaties ratified by the Member States and the 2004 Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe, i.e. the Constitutional Treaty, which failed to be adopted due to the Dutch and French referendums (Hobolt & Brouard 2010). The Member ...
Research
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History indicates that the reaction of the European Union towards the migratory pressures has not changed excessively. However, the management of migration and asylum has shifted from the internal dimension towards the external dimension, since the Union, as a supranational actor, has sought to manage these policy areas by building partnerships with third-party countries. The aim of this paper is to elaborate the process of the externalization of the EU migration and asylum policies, particularly following the rise of the Arab Spring in 2011, and its compatibility with human rights norms and standards, and analyze the role of the EU institutions and Member States in establishing a foreign policy and migration nexus. Lastly, the paper will scrutinize the possibility of extraterritorial asylum applications, which can be the ultimate form of externalization in terms of migration and asylum.
... In order to provide a background for understanding and predicting referendum outcomes, we summarize the main explanations posited in the literature on EU referendums. While the literature on the role of information, campaigning and deliberation suggests that voting outcomes are essentially determined by the issue positions of the electorate (issue-voting Accepted Article perspective) (Hobolt and Brouard 2011;de Vreese 2007), comparative EU research on the Maastricht referendums challenged this view in the early 1990s (Franklin, Marsh et al. 1994;Franklin, van der Eijk et al. 1995). These studies "spurred a still-ongoing debate between two competing approaches to voting behaviour in EU referendums: the 'attitude' school and the 'second-order election' school" (Hobolt 2006: 154-55 Empirically, most studies support the issue-voting perspective (Garry, Marsh et al. 2005), i.e., that "how voters understood the EU polity, in particular whether membership is beneficial to one's own country, was a crucial factor in all the referendums" (Glencross and Trechsel We argue that research on direct democratic votes more generally can provide the EU literature with more "traditional" approaches that help to better explain and empirically examine citizens' vote decisions in referendums, and thus referendum outcomes (Hug 2002). ...
Article
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The rising number of referendums on EU matters, such as the Brexit and the Catalonian independence votes, highlight the increasing importance of referendums as a problem‐solving mechanism in the EU. We argue that the Swiss case provides essential insights into understanding the dynamics behind referendums, which are often lacking when referendums are called for in the EU. Referendums in EU member states on EU matters differ substantially from the in Swiss context. Nevertheless, proponents of more direct democratic decision‐making regularly cite the Swiss example. Our systematic analysis of why referendums are called, how they unfold and their resulting effects in the EU and Switzerland reveals that the EU polity lacks the crucial conditions that embed direct democracy within the wider political and institutional system. The comparative perspective offers fundamental insights into the pre‐conditions required for direct democracy to function and its limitations in the EU. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... The literature on the antecedents of EU support, or 'Euroscepticism', is vast and growing, and scholarly consensus is arising that any study seeking to explain EU attitudes should clearly define and delimit its dependent variable (Hobolt and de Vries 2016). Citizens' attitudes towards the European Union are best understood as multidimensional (Boomgaarden et al. 2011;Hobolt and Brouard 2011), and different EU attitude dimensions can have different antecedents, and may be more or less volatile over time (Boomgaarden et al. 2011). A central distinction is based on Easton's framework of diffuse versus specific political support (1965), which was first applied to EU support by Kopecký and Mudde (2002). ...
Article
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Media provide the public with information related to the European Union which may alter individuals’ perceptions, ultimately resulting in changes in performance evaluations of the EU. Knowledge gains may be an important mediator in this process. We present data from a study in the context of the 2016 Bratislava summit in which the Heads of the Union’s governments discussed the outcome of the Brexit vote and the EU’s future. A panel survey assessed the relationship between exposure to media content, event-related knowledge gains, and changes in attitudes towards the European Union. Our results show that when attending to news about the summit, citizens attain event-related knowledge which negatively affects EU performance evaluations. We discuss our findings in light of the role media play in informing the European citizenry.
... The fourth factor consists of utilitarian measures, such as benefits that the EU brings to the country and the individual. This factor also contains items related to postmaterial utilitarianism, such as "the EU means peace" and "the EU means democracy" (Boomgaarden et al., 2011;Hobolt & Brouard, 2011). ...
Article
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How do online news and social media use relate to public support for the European Union? To answer this question, this study compares the effect of institutional websites, news websites, online social networks, blogs, and video hosting websites on five important dimensions of public attitudes toward the EU: strengthening, performance, fear, efficacy, and utilitarianism. Cases were selected by choosing the samples from the largest country in each stage of EU enlargement: Germany, the United Kingdom, Greece, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Romania. After controlling for demographic and political factors, results show that getting European news from blogs fosters negative attitudes toward the EU, whereas social network sites contribute to a positive view of the EU's performance and support for further strengthening. In addition, the use of YouTube and news websites interacts with off-line discussion to enhance political effects.
... In direct democracy in California, many voters also rely on arguments highly present in the campaigns for their vote decision (Bowler 2015). The same is true for referendums on the European Constitutional Treaty in France and the Netherlands (Hobolt and Brouard 2011;Maatsch 2007), and for the Brexit vote in the UK (Hobolt 2016). references ...
Chapter
This chapter shows that the frames present in the dialogue in the news media are highly relevant for the vote outcome. We show a framing effect in two of the three cases. These frames remain important for the voting decision when controlling for and in comparison with partisan heuristic. We can state that the more important the topic for a person, the less polarized the context, and the less complex the topic, the more a person relies on the frame-based path (thus, on arguments and less on heuristics like partisan orientation or social identities in general). In this regard, the chapter gives empirical support to the realistic theory of democracy. We do not expect arguments to play a more important role in other types of campaigns or other contexts. What we find here is the most that can be expected from citizens.
... On the one hand, Matt Qvortrup (2014) makes the case that there is no qualitative or quantitative evidence to support the view that the question has mattered for referenda on independence. Others in his camp argue that the campaign matters more for the referen- dum outcome than the strict wording of the question (Hanspeter, Hanggli, and Marr, 2009;Hobolt and Brouard, 2011). ...
Book
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Electoral reform has been a recurring theme over the past two decades in British Columbia. On November 30, 2018, the province will begin counting the postal ballots on the third referendum on the subject. This series of essays written by Lydia Miljan, Taylor Jackson, and Geoffrey Alchin, reviews the referendum process starting with best practices for designing a ballot question and ending with the consequences of proportional representation on the size and composition of legislatures, as well as the fiscal policy impacts. The first essay, “Designing a Referendum Question for British Columbia,” reviews the precedent and good practices that have been established in Canada and by several international organizations on the crafting of referendum questions. Based on that, the essay determines the kind of referendum question that will have the greatest legitimacy. The consensus for referendum questions is that: they be clear they not be biased, which would lead to a specific result they show no favouritism as to the outcome electors must be informed of the effects of the referendum voters must be able to answer the questions solely with a yes, no, or blank vote. To ensure a meaningful and legitimate mandate, the essay recommends that the BC government follow the New Zealand example and have two referenda on electoral reform. Referendum 1 would have two questions: the first would ask whether there is an appetite for change; the second would ask which system the public would like to change to. Referendum 2 would offer a choice between the existing system and a new electoral system that has been developed for British Columbia. (The latter option would contain all details including electoral boundaries and rules regarding coalition and minority governments.) By separating the question of reform from the type of system, the government will have the information it needs to proceed with a new electoral system should voters opt for a change. The second essay, “Proportional Representation in Practice: An International Comparison of Ballots and Voting Rules,” finds that any replacement of BC’s current First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) electoral system with a form of Proportional Representation (PR) will require trade-offs, an understanding of the impact that such changes will have on the way votes are counted, and what impact the new system may have on the legislature and the party system. The essay looks at the institutional characteristics of three systems that are potential replacements for the simple plurality or FPTP system: Party List Proportional, Mixed Member Proportional (MMP), and Single Transferable Vote (STV). There are undeniable strengths in each of the three systems, but all are found wanting in British Columbia given the province’s political realities. Replacing BC’s current FPTP electoral system will require trade-offs from both voters and elected officials and both will also need to clearly understand the impact that such changes will have on the way votes are tallied and apportioned to each party. The third essay, “The Impact of Proportional Representation on British Columbia’s Legislature and Voters,” finds that changing British Columbia’s voting system to a form of proportional representation would give rise to smaller, single-issue parties, would lead to more coalition governments, and would increase uncertainty in Victoria. The paper uses an analysis of election data from 30 countries between 2000 and 2017 and finds that PR systems have more minority governments, more political instability, more polarization, and more frequent elections than systems where elections are determined by simple plurality or FPTP. Despite claims by its proponents to the contrary, PR electoral systems often lead to poorer representation of voters’ views, while also making it more difficult for citizens to hold their politicians to account. The final essay, “Electoral Rules and Fiscal Policy Outcomes in British Columbia,” demonstrates an intermediary effect of electoral systems: the number of political parties elected. The higher number of elected parties under PR electoral rules—and thus a more fragmented legislature—also leads to a much higher probability that a coalition government will need to be negotiated and formed. Smaller or even fringe parties in PR systems are able to wield a disproportionate amount of power at the expense of the preferences of the majority of voters who did not cast a vote for such parties. Countries with PR electoral systems have average central government spending of 30.3 percent of GDP compared to 23.7 percent for countries with plurality/majoritarian election rules. These findings are confirmed by a well-established literature which has also found that governments that are elected with PR electoral rules tend to have higher levels of government spending than governments elected using electoral rules similar to BC’s. The tendency of PR electoral systems to elect coalition governments is a serious consideration when weighing the benefits and costs of various electoral systems. Plurality or majoritarian electoral systems such as the system BC currently has, by contrast, typically elect single-party majority governments. The literature clearly suggests that a move from BC’s First-Past-the-Post electoral system to a PR system would likely increase both government spending and deficits.
... The simple one-dimensional approach concerning if there is public support toward the EU seems to be insufficient. The lack of this approach to inherent and complex attitude problem of EU integration suggest several studies (Baute et al., 2018;Boomgaarden et al., 2011;Hobolt and Brouard, 2011;Meijers and Zaslove, 2020;Stoeckel, 2013). The disproportion between various studies explaining the determinants of public perception and less attention paid to empirical support may be due to the methods used for measuring this concept. ...
... France is more focused on economic and social issues, while the Netherlands focuses more on cultural and identity issues.The two countries' skeptical values are different because the French people are more skeptical about the liberal market economy and the loss of the French social model. In contrast, the Dutch people tend to worry about losing their national cultural identity (Sara BinzerHobolt & Brouard, 2011).The campaigns carried out by the Euroscepticism parties on the issues that were the focus of their criticism of the EU were the most apparent manifestations of the idea of opposing the EU. The ideas echoed by the Euroscepticism party more or less affect the internal political direction, even more so if they have occupied the European parliament's seat with a significant amount. ...
Article
The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU) increases awareness of how far the Euroscepticism ideas spread among EU's members. As one of the pivotal EU members, the UK's withdrawal will bring consequences, especially how other countries' members perceived this action. The research focuses on how far the Eurosceptic party's critical ideas are manifested in the European Union treaties. This type of research is descriptive and qualitative. The scope of this research will focus on the Euroscepticism parties and movements in Austria, France, Italy, Netherland, and the United Kingdom. In this study, the authors use the concept of Euroscepticism to explain the classification of parties into the Euroscepticism Hard and Soft category and Neil J. Smelser's Value-Added Collective Behaviour scheme to describe the determinants of their collective action against the European Union. The result of this research is that Euroscepticism spreads throughout Europe by manifesting their critical ideas through six determinants factor, such as structural conduciveness, structural tension, growth, and spread of general beliefs, trigger factors, participant mobility, and social control. The manifestation of critical ideas carried out by Euroscepticism parties in the three countries can be seen through the Single European Act, Maastricht Treaty, Treaty Establishing Constitution for Europe, Referendum British Exit. The culmination of collective action by the Eurosceptic parties was the launch of EU critical campaigns (No to EU!) As well as a significant vote in the EU parliamentary elections.
... The main problem with what has been termed 'integration by stealth' (Majone, 2009) is that, while this process started at a time when the deciding elites were largely trusted by the massesand " [t]his was the essence of the permissive consensus" (Mair, 2013: 114)-since then it has continued (and even accelerated) at a time in which citizens' trust in elites has been diminishing throughout Europe (Kaina, 2008). Moreover, as in the case of the Lisbon Treaty, integration has been achieved by ignoring citizens' opposition, even when this opposition has been clearly and formally expressed in popular referenda (Hobolt & Brouard, 2010). ...
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What is the impact of populism on the EU? How did the EU institutions and civil society react to the recent rise of populist parties? To answer such relevant questions and understand populism in terms of ideas, political outcomes, and social dynamics, academia needs to engage with institutional actors, civil society organizations, and policy makers. By bringing together academics, members of European institutions and agencies, and leaders of civil society organizations, this edited volume bridges the gap between research and practice. It explores how populism impacted on European institutions and civil society and investigates their reactions and strategies to overcome the challenges posed by populists. This collection is organized into three main sections, i.e., general European governance; European Parliament and Commission; European organized civil society. Overall, the volume unveils how the populist threat was perceived within the EU institutions and NGOs and discusses the strategies they devised to react and how these were implemented in institutional and public communication.
... Moreover, that space is magnified by the de facto capacity of states to disobey EU law (Conant 2002). Indeed, protests against the constraints of EU law, and contestation of the values of the EU, have become part of the polarization of EU political space, so that even where Member States cannot actually implement a distinct vision of society in legislation they are still able to project and advocate it, and that projection is given more voice by the fact that it involves challenges to the EU (Hobolt and Brouard 2011;de Wilde 2012). In the ideological sorting context, statements of value and vision may have as much force as concrete rules. ...
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Free movement is intended to bring Europeans together. This article suggests it may have the opposite effect: it may drive them apart. The mechanism involved is sorting. This happens when people are free to choose where to live, and choose a community which matches their preferences. This match can come about in different ways, but the result of them all is that people of particular preferences are clustered together, leading to society being structured as a series of adjacent mono-cultures. It is not a large step to suggest that this arrangement is likely to cause alienation between the communities. The fact of sorting means that they have less in common than they did before. For Europe, if sorting happens, this would imply that polarization between states would increase and the governability of the EU would be threatened. Free movement may be less a mechanism of integration than one of disintegration.
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This paper proposes a cognitive approach that focuses on the cognitive representations that underpin public support for the European Union. Its objectives are threefold: (1) to describe systems of representation associated with support for the EU; (2) to illustrate the importance of less commonly studied representations, such as liberal cosmopolitan representations; and (3) to demonstrate that at the beginning of the 2000s, the EU often represented greater economic prosperity and/or social protection for many Central, Eastern and Southern European countries, although the situation has changed significantly since then. This paper uses Eurobarometer data from 2004 to 2017 as well as multilevel models to examine how cognitive representations of the EU can explain public support for the EU, including variations across countries.
Article
European Union (EU) referendums provide unique opportunities to study voters’ attitudes toward a distant level of governance. Scholars have long tried to understand whether EU referendum results reflect domestic (dis-)satisfaction with the incumbent governments or actual attitudes toward the Union. Finding evidence supporting both domestic and European factors, the recent focus has thus turned to referendum campaigns. Recent studies emphasise the importance of the information provided to voters during these campaigns in order to analyse how domestic or European issues become salient in the minds of voters. These studies nonetheless overlook the asymmetrical political advantage in such campaigns. The broader literature on referendums and public opinion suggest that in a referendum, the ‘No’ side typically has the advantage since it can boost the public's fears by linking the proposal to unpopular issues. This article explores whether this dynamic applies to EU treaty ratification referendums. Does the anti-EU treaty campaign have more advantage than the pro-EU treaty campaign in these referendums? Campaign strategies in 11 EU treaty ratification referendums are analysed, providing a clear juxtaposition between pro-treaty (‘Yes’) and anti-treaty (‘No’) campaigns. Based on 140 interviews with campaigners in 11 referendums, a series of indicators on political setting and campaign characteristics, as well as an in-depth case study of the 2012 Irish Fiscal Compact referendum, it is found that the anti-treaty side indeed holds the advantage if it engages the debate. Nonetheless, the findings also show that this advantage is not unconditional. The underlying mechanism rests on the multidimensionality of the issue. The extent to which the referendum debate includes a large variety of ‘No’ campaign arguments correlates strongly with the campaigners’ perceived advantage/disadvantage, and the referendum results. When the ‘No’ side's arguments are limited (either through a single-issue treaty or guarantees from the EU), this provides the ‘Yes’ side with a ‘cleaner’ agenda with which to work. Importantly, the detailed data demonstrate that the availability of arguments is important for the ‘Yes’ side as well. They tend to have the most advantage when they can tap into the economic costs of an anti-EU vote. This analysis has implications for other kinds of EU referendums such as Brexit, non-EU referendums such as independence referendums, and the future of European integration.
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Do voters follow the preferences of foreign mass collectives? Despite the growing research on policy diffusion and theoretical debates on the emergence of transnational public spheres, we know little about the impact of foreign votes on domestic public opinion. Yet, the results of elections and referendums may provide a signal to people in other countries and trigger a process of contagion. This study leverages the coincidence of the 2005 French referendum on the European Constitution and the fieldwork of two surveys to analyze the causal effect of cross-national social influence. Results show that the French rejection increased public opposition to the Constitution abroad. A process of cognitive activation explains why knowledgeable voters also grew Eurosceptic after the vote. These findings attest to the interdependence of national publics and contribute to our understanding of mechanisms of social contagion.
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This chapter focuses on the definition of attitudes toward Europe, showing the limits of the concept of Euroscepticism. This concept was recently challenged by theoretical approaches, showing that attitudes toward the EU have multiple dimensions. By providing theoretical arguments and reviewing empirical tests, the authors claim that: (1) people distinguish between diffuse support and specific support; (2) European identity could be considered empirically a different dimension of support for Europe; (3) European citizens distinguish between support (diffuse and specific) for the EU and for the process of European integration. The authors conclude that Easton’s concept of support is a better descriptor for attitudes toward Europe than Euroscepticism, both in theoretical and empirical terms.
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Once the concept of support has been “unpacked” as diffuse and specific types, the analysis focuses on the origins of specific support to Europe. Among some sources of support and opposition toward EU policies, the authors test the effect of personal and social saliency on satisfaction with EU performance in different policy domains. Results show that people who consider an issue important tend to evaluate the EU policies related to that issue differently (mostly negatively). Comparing those effects of saliency on national government and European policies, the analyses show identical directions. This indicates that the effect of saliency on European specific support is conditioned by proxies from national political contexts; people judge the policies of the European Union through a “domestic lens.” Negative evaluations are linked to requests for more EU action, while the effect of saliency is not significant for diffuse support toward Europe.
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In this chapter, we present our causal model on public levels of opposition to and support for the EU based on citizens’ use of media, together with some results at the EU aggregate level. We show that the media plays an influence on citizens’ opinions on the EU, particularly the new media promotes more critical attitudes and channel disaffection for the EU. The new media often takes a critical posture on many issues and the same is true with respect to Europe. We demonstrate that their use makes citizens more inclined to Euroscepticism.
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This chapter examines Dutch public opinion toward the European Union (EU) in a longitudinal perspective. From being a traditional core pro-European country, the Netherlands has recently experienced widespread euroscepticism that has become mainstream. The European Parliament (EP) 2014 elections witnessed this evolution. Yet, Dutch euroscepticism has previously been shown to consist of multiple dimensions. In this chapter, we revisit the dimensional structure of EU attitudes in the aftermath of the Eurozone Crisis. Using four-wave panel survey data from the Netherlands (2013–14), we show that indeed at the aggregate level there is stability in Dutch public opinion. The five-dimensional structure of EU attitudes still holds, while the increased importance of EU attitudes for voting behavior in EP elections is also highlighted.
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Although populism is a political phenomenon that originated out of Europe and emerged long before the start of European integration, in the post-World War II European context, it has developed in conjunction with Euroscepticism. Actually, since the creation of the European Union (EU) in the early 1990s, the two phenomena have gradually come to coincide. Nowadays, with few exceptions, all populist parties are also Eurosceptic and vice versa. This coincidence, far from being casual, can be explained by the core features of the populist (thin-centred) ideology and by the nature of both the integration process and the EU governance. Indeed, while populism has been commonly defined as an anti-elitist ideology, European integration and the EU system of governance are widely seen as quintessentially elitist. Under these conditions, opposition to/in the EU tends to be inherently populist. Nonetheless, this ‘populist/Eurosceptic compound’ can manifest itself in rather different shapes, depending on the types of populism (inclusive vs. exclusive) and the types of Euroscepticism (hard vs. soft) that are adopted by individual parties. The chapter highlights both conceptual and empirical overlaps between populism and Euroscepticism, also referring to intermediated concepts, such as ‘national sovereignty’ and ‘economic nationalism’, that work as traits d’union between the two phenomena.
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The book addresses the topic of EU legitimacy by exploring the forms, origins and effects of citizens’ support to EU institutions. Through examining the wide-ranging levels of support, the authors show how these multi-faceted attitudes cast shade on the outdated, somewhat one-dimensional concept of Euroscepticism. Di Mauro and Memoli not only observe how political issues and the economic crisis affect public opinion, but also demonstrate how national contexts play a crucial role in shaping attitudes towards Europe at any level of support. This volume shows how the lack of accountability in the EU system makes it increasingly vulnerable to the negative effects of economic and societal shocks, and the ʼnational lens’ that we view the EU through influences our voting choices.
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Giriş Avrupa'da devletlerarası bütünleşmenin oluşturulmasına yönelik fikirlerin kökeni Eski Yunan'a dayanmaktadır. Fakat İkinci Dünya Savaşı'ndan sonra Avrupa'da bütünleşmeye imkân sağlayacak somut adımlar atılmış ve 1950lerde bütünleşme hareketi kurumsal bir nitelik kazanmıştır. Bir barış projesi olma niteliği taşıyan Avrupa bütünleşme süreci kademeli olarak ilerlemiş, ekonomik ve sektörel işbirliği şeklinde başlayan bütünleşme süreci zaman içerisinde siyasi ve askeri boyutları da içerecek şekilde gelişmiştir. Fransa ile Almanya arasında temelleri 19.yüzyıla kadar uzanan siyasi anlaşmazlıklara çözüm bulmak ve Avrupa'da İkinci Dünya Savaşı sonrasında barışı sağlamak amacı ile imzalanan Paris Anlaşması'nın (1951) ile savaş sanayisinin iki önemli maddesi olan kömür ve çelik sektörleri uluslararası yönetim altına konulmuştur. Takip eden yıllarda Belçika, Almanya, Fransa, Hollanda, Lüksemburg ve İtalya arasında imzalanan Roma Anlaşması (1957) ile Avrupa Ekonomik Topluluğu kurularak daha önce sağlanan sektörel birleşmenin ötesinde genel anlamda bir ekonomik bütünleşme amaçlanmıştır. Bu sayede, Avrupa bütünleşme hareketi temel amacına ulaşmış, üye devletler arasındaki anlaşmazlıklar çatışmaya dönüşmeden çözüme kavuşturulmuş ve Avrupa'da savaşların önüne geçilmiştir. Ayrıca üye devletler egemenlik yetkilerinin giderek artan ölçüde Avrupa kurumlarına devretmeye başlamış ve Avrupa bütünleşmesi sürecinin ulus-üstü (supranational) örgüt karakteri zamanla daha çok hissedilir hale gelmiştir. 1980lerin sonuna gelindiğinde Avrupa, tek pazar yaratmak ve ortak bir para biriminin geçerli olacağı bir ekonomik alan oluşturmak için harekete geçmiştir. 1992 yılında Maastricht Antlaşması'nın yürürlüğe girmesi ile ekonomik alandaki bütünleşme hukuksal yapıdaki kurumsal düzenlemelerle güçlendirilmiş, Topluluk, Avrupa Birliği (AB) adını almıştır. Fakat takip eden antlaşmalar hem Birliğin hükümetlerarası yapısını büyük ölçüde korumuş, hem de üye devletlerin bazılarının diğerlerinden farklı olarak kendi aralarında daha ileri bir bütünleşme mekanizması tesis edip uygulamasına olanak vermiştir. Kurumsal anlamdaki bu hızlı derinleşme süreci genişleme süreci ile paralel yürümüş ve üye sayısı 6'dan 28'e çıkmıştır. Fakat bütünleşme süreci sorunsuz ilerlememiş, AB anayasasının veto edilmesi ve Avro bölgesindeki finansal kriz ile bütünleşme süreci son yıllarda zora girmiştir. 2009 yılında yürürlüğe giren Lizbon Antlaşması ile anayasallaşma çerçevesinde çok önemli adımlar atılsa da AB monolitik bir yapı olmaktan uzak kalmıştır. Son yaşanan Avro krizi AB'nin tam anlamıyla siyasi bir bütünleşmeye yakın gelecekte ulaşamayacağının açık sinyallerini vermiştir. Bu çerçevede, AB'nin kurumsal mimarisine ilişkin olarak farklı modeller gündeme
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The outcome of the British 2016 referendum on EU membership sent shockwaves through Europe. This chapter uses a discursive methodology in order to examine the response of four major Greek newspapers with national circulation. The chapter aims tο clarify the ways in which the UK’s EU referendum was perceived and represented in Greece. Through this investigation, we aim to highlight the different constructions of the referendum as a tool for decision making and/or consultation, as well as varying conceptions of popular sovereignty, of the notion of ‘the people’ and hence of democratic legitimacy itself, as they are articulated in media discourses. Lastly, we argue that examining the debate around Brexit within the Greek press may also illuminate Greece’s own responses to issues arising from its ambivalent and often turbulent relationship with the EU during the years of crisis and austerity and in particular during its own referendum in July 2015.
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In an attempt to foster its citizens’ identification with Europe, the European Union has made a great effort to identify what can be called ‘common European heritage’. Many heritage initiatives, centred around the idea that heritage should be designated as European by the member states’ heritage sectors, have proven counterproductive – instead of reaching their goal to construct a more stable European identity, they served as repositories of national pride and tools in the negotiation of nationalist claims of the member states. Through the empirical case of the EU’s own Maastricht Treaty and the peculiar ways it became ‘common European heritage’ within the Dutch state heritage sector, in this paper we analyze the discursive tactics of national policy makers and the power dynamics between national and EU heritage regimes in the process of designating heritage as European. We demonstrate that even EU states with more constitutional traditions like the Netherlands maintain a powerful role in the construction of heritage as an unchangeable set of traditions and values strictly defined within the national boundaries, lacking the mechanisms to change their state-sanctioned and firmly established ways of defining heritage as ‘national’ and to legitimatize EU heritage narratives.
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In referendums on issues of European integration, it is often unclear how important attitudes toward Europe are and whether these attitudes change during the campaign. Extant research showing the importance of EU attitudes particularly in salient and contested referendums has often had to rely on static data and limited conceptualizations of EU attitudes. This potentially underestimates the role of (different types of) EU attitudes and hampers the ability to assess the dynamics of them. For the analysis of dynamics in EU attitudes, we mainly rely on pre- and post-waves for the Dutch Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement referendum, which extends a panel study leading back to the EP14 elections. This allows us to assess both long-term changes of EU attitudes since the last EP elections and also during the referendum campaign. We examine the effect of campaign-induced attitude changes for the referendum vote, while controlling for other relevant determinants. Our findings first show significant changes in EU attitudes during the referendum campaign, and second, highlight the relevance of some of these changes for the referendum vote. Both strengthening and especially emotional attitudes play respective significant roles, with the latter being in part dependent on media exposure.
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Issues are not neutral. This study about the Dutch 2016 referendum on the EU–Ukraine association treaty asks which issues dominated the news media in the campaign, how the news about these issues influenced the saliency of benefits and disadvantages of the treaty, and how the latter in turn influenced turnout and the vote. A content analysis of newspapers and television news shows that trade and democracy were much more prominent in the news than EU support for Ukraine against Russia. Linking the content analysis to a long-term panel survey reveals that issue news in self-selected media influenced the saliency of benefits and disadvantages of the treaty. The latter motivated voters to cast a vote, but priming was only partial since the voters’ “Yes” or “No” was primarily driven by prior dissatisfaction with the EU and the national government.
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Can voters be persuaded by referendum campaigns? This article develops a theoretical model that synthesises the existing literature on campaign effects and issue-voting by arguing that the strength of pre-existing attitudes conditions voter receptivity to campaign arguments, thereby also determining their eventual vote choice. Using original panel data for the 2015 Danish opt-out referendum, there is evidence that attitude strength matters for whether voters are responsive to persuasion during campaigns. The article finds that voters with the most strongly-held attitudes felt well informed and certain about the consequences of the vote even before the start of the campaign, whereas voters with moderately-held attitudes are found to be more prone to believe those campaign arguments that are consistent with their EU attitudes, changing their vote intentions accordingly. Finally, voters with weakly-held attitudes were equally persuadable for the No and the Yes side of the campaign, but they are also the least pre-disposed to pay attention to campaign messages. The conclusions discuss the broader implications of the findings for our understanding of EU referendum campaigns.
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The role of the EU in the promotion of Europeanization and the EU political identity in potential member states of Eastern Europe prior to the 2004 enlargement was important for these states’ future acceptation in the EU community. However, most research and literature have discounted the role of the EU and its attractiveness in the countries neighbouring with the EU that did not have a prospect of joining the EU in 2004. This article studies the process of formal and informal Europeanization in Ukraine before and after the Orange revolution, which occurred five months after the bloc’s 2004 enlargement, and Euromaidan of 2013. Despite the EU’s passive leverage in Ukraine between 2004 and 2013, and the country’s weak prospects for potential membership, the EU’s soft power of attractiveness was still an effective tool that was used by Ukrainian political elite and media in promoting informal Europeanization after the 2004 enlargement. Furthermore, confidence in the EU was associated with support for such liberal values as human rights, tolerance of minorities, and political efficacy. This article posits that notwithstanding weak incentives and support offered from the EU to implement formal Europeanization in Ukraine, the EU attractiveness was successfully applied by local elite and media to promote the informal Europeanization.
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This contribution offers an introduction to the Special Issue ‘Rethinking the European Social Market Economy’. It places the Special Issue against the background of the debate on free markets versus social protection in the European Union and the inclusion of the notion of ‘social market economy’ in the Treaty on European Union. It sketches the meaning and development of the social market economy concept, and introduces the key questions underlying this Special Issue and the contributions included in it.
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The article explores whether European Union membership has a socialisation effect on citizens’ attitudes towards their country’s membership of the EU. Using a sample of 15 Western European countries, it is shown that this is the case. First, evidence is provided of a positive lifelong socialisation effect: citizen support for their country’s membership of the EU increases with years spent living in an EU member state. Second, it is shown that those who joined the EU during their formative years are less supportive of the EU, whilst those who spent their formative years in a non-democracy are more positive about EU membership. The size of these effects is very small in comparison to that found for the lifelong socialisation effect, suggesting that the lifelong socialisation process of continued EU membership is much more important for EU attitudes. This study offers new insights into the formation of EU attitudes. © 2019
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To conceptualise the European Union ('EU') as an empire is controversial. Yet, closer examination of the complex phenomenon of empire actually provides a constructive and a valuable understanding of the EU. This article aims to do away with state-centric approaches and examines the democratic political representation of the EU as an empire. Eric Voegelin's theory of political representation is chosen to create an understanding of political representation in the EU. Voegelin's focus goes beyond legal and 'elemental' approaches to representation and, therefore, allows for an interesting comparison with early empires, providing valuable angles to examine the political reality and symbols of the EU. This study concludes with a realistic perspective on a known problem, on which, by the use of the empire-analogy and a Voegelinian approach, it sheds a new light: democracy, functioning as the basis for unity in the EU, is fragile, and the distrust of Europeans to their representatives results in complications with unifying Europeans. It is an empire, historically seen, that might allow for a configuration for the EU that provides a good way to mitigate and balance differences since empires have an intrinsic relational and structural plurality that delivers, more than a state, unity in diversity.
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Using data from a survey conducted in six EU Member States, we explore what drives citizen demand for referendums on EU membership. We examine whether or not similar drivers and mechanisms can be found across the countries surveyed. We consider what are traditionally understood to be the drivers of euroscepticism, exploring whether those same drivers help to explain demand for referendums on EU membership. Our most important finding is that citizens’ attitudes to EU referendums are not driven, or explained, by a single issue, or by uniform mechanisms cross-nationally. Although we find that trust in EU institutions is a significant predictor of referendum demand, the impact of other factors considered varies substantially across the six countries.
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Focusing on press releases, this chapter shows how, regarding the search for a strong frame, political actors choose frames which are convincing and with which they can generate attention, and that campaigners find strong arguments mainly through a process of trial and error. Regarding the second frame choice (relevant for dialogue), we see that political actors debate their opponents’ arguments if they expect to be successful with this strategy, and do so in a mainly defensive way (i.e., they adopt the counter position). Otherwise, they ignore or avoid the argument. With the third choice, we see a focus on substance. In the conclusion, variations across debate types and contexts are discussed. It is expected that in other campaigns (e.g., elections, or public debates [particularly scandals]), more contest and one-sided information will be found. Finally, we also expect to find more contest in media-oriented political communication culture.
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While ample research has scrutinised the causes and consequences of support for the European Union, a pressing question remains: what do people actually mean when they express support for, or opposition to, their country’s membership of the institution? We use Correlational Class Analysis to assess this. Our analysis of high-quality representative Dutch survey data ( n = 2053), including novel items informed by in-depth qualitative research, reveals that European Union support comes in three guises: federalist, non-federalist and instrumental-pragmatist Strikingly, many Europhiles are not federalists. In addition, we reveal that the social bases of the three types of support especially differ regarding political competence, political orientation, and media consumption. The implications for ongoing debates on European Union atttidues are discussed.
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The referenda conducted in France and Denmark in 1992 to ratify the Maastricht Treaty are often seen as giving evidence of ‘true’ attitudes towards Europe. In this paper we dispute this assumption, presenting evidence that shows referenda in Parliamentary systems with disciplined party governments to be subject to what we call a ‘lockstep’ phenomenon in which referendum outcomes become tied to the popularity of the government in power, even if the ostensible subject of the referendum has little to do with the reasons for government popularity (or lack of popularity). In the case of the Maastricht referenda in France and Denmark, the apparent unpopularity of the European project in fact appears to have been nothing of the kind, but instead to have reflected the unpopularity of ruling parties in both countries. A referendum conducted at about the same time in Ireland, where the government was more popular, achieved a handsome majority, as did the referendum conducted a year later in Denmark after a more popular government had taken office. The mechanisms involved are elucidated by means of survey data.
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This multimethodological study focuses on risk-induced electoral mobilization in referendum campaigns. Positive news framing in a referendum campaign can generate a perception of risk among those voters opposing the proposal and stimulate electoral participation to prevent an undesired outcome that would alter a status quo situation. To test this claim, the authors analyze the effect of news framing on turnout in the context of the 2005 Dutch EU Constitution referendum campaign and combine a media content analysis of national newspapers and television news (n = 6,370) with panel survey data (n = 642) and an experiment (n = 687). Experimental findings show that individuals who are skeptical toward the EU and are subsequently exposed to positive news framing about the EU Constitution are mobilized to turn out and vote against it. The results of the content analysis show that during the Dutch referendum campaign, news media framed the EU Constitution in positive terms. Building these findings into a measure of news exposure in our panel survey, the authors find that higher exposure to referendum news had a mobilizing effect on those opposing the proposal. The experimental and panel data thus show corroborating evidence supporting the central hypothesis about how positive news can mobilize the skeptics to turn out and vote in a referendum.
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Are referendums on EU treaties decided by voters’ attitudes to Europe (the ‘issue-voting’ explanation) or by voters’ attitudes to their national political parties and incumbent national government (the ‘second-order election model’ explanation)? In one scenario, these referendums will approximate to deliberative processes that will be decided by people’s views of the merits of European integration. In the other scenario, they will be plebiscites on the performance of national governments. We test the two competing explanations of the determinants of voting in EU referendums using evidence from the two Irish referendums on the Nice Treaty. We find that the issue-voting model outperforms the second-order model in both referendums. However, we also find that issue-voting was particularly important in the more salient and more intense second referendum. Most strikingly, attitudes to EU enlargement were much stronger predictors of vote at Nice 2 than at Nice 1. This finding about the rise in importance of attitudes to the EU points to the importance of campaigning in EU referendums.
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This study tests competing hypotheses about public support for European integration and projects referendum voting behaviour. It emphasizes anti-immigration sentiments as a key variable for understanding reluctance about integration. Drawing on survey data, it is shown that anti-immigration sentiments, economic considerations and the evaluation of domestic governments are the strongest predictors of both attitudinal support for integration and individuals’ propensity to vote ‘yes’ in a referendum on the enlargement of the European Union (EU).
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Public opinion, through its impact on mass behavior, shapes and constrains the process of European integration. Why do citizens vary in their support for European integration? Previous research offers a variety of sometimes conflicting explanations, but the available evidence is insufficient to determine which explanations are valid. This article seeks to contribute to the resolution of this controversy by empirically examining five prominent theories of support for integration. Through regression analyses of Euro barometer surveys from the period 1978–1992, the analysis shows that the partisan context of integrative reforms and the utilitarian consequences of integrative policy provide robust explanations for variation in support. In contrast, two other prominent theories—political value sand cognitive mobilization—are only valid in a limited context, and in this context they exert a small substantive impact on support.
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For the second time in the history of theFrench Vth Republic, the first having led to theresignation of Charles De Gaulle in 1969, apresident lost a national referendum1. On May29, 2005, 54.7% of French voters rejected theEuropean Constitutional Treaty, even thoughFrance was one of the major proponents ofthe European Convention which led to theConstitution’s drafting. The victory of the “no”vote had been foreseen,1 but neither the marginof victory, nor the high turnout ~almost 70.5%!were expected. The rejection of the Constitutionraised two concerns: the first related to theposition of France in Europe, the second to itsdomestic impact. Why did the French electoratevote as it did? (...).
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We theorize that campaign intensity alters the criteria individuals use when evaluating candidates. We define campaign intensity as the culmination of the interplay among the candidates, news media, and the perceived closeness of the race. As the intensity increases, we expect people to adjust their decision-making criteria. Examining the impact of intensity in 97 Senate races between 1988 and 1992, we find that intense campaigns encourage individuals to rely more heavily on both sophisticated criteria and simple decision rules when forming impressions of candidates. As campaigns become more hard-fought, people are more likely to consider policy and ideology as well as partisanship and retrospective evaluations of the president and the economy. While the campaign setting clearly affects citizens' decision-making processes, different types of people react differently to the intensity of the campaign. As races become more competitive, novices begin to rely more heavily on issues, sociotropic assessments, party identification, and presidential approval, whereas political experts are less affected by changes in the campaign environment.
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This research note argues that much of the literature on support for European integration misses the heart of the nature of opposition to this process by ignoring the notion of perceived threat. Essentially, people are hostile toward the European project in great part because of their perceptions of threats posed by other cultures. I analyze this hypothesis by replicating a piece of research that previously appeared in this journal, adding measures of perceived threat to that model. The results support the main contention, which is that perceived cultural threat is an important factor that has been mistakenly ignored in explanations of hostility toward the European Union.
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Denmark had five referendums in the period from 1972 to 1998 dealing with Danish membership in the European Community, the Single European Act, the Maastricht Treaty, the Edinburgh Agreement and the Amsterdam Treaty. Did the Danes really address these issues and involve themselves actively in the policy–making process on a vital issue or did they merely vote for or against the current government? The latter option represents the ‘second order’ elections argument advanced by Mark Franklin and others (see Franklin's article in this issue). If correct in this instance, it may have important and negative consequences for the potential of referendums to involve citizens more directly in the way they are governed. In this article, the Franklin thesis is assessed on the basis of data on voting behaviour in five Danish referendums on Europe and the democratic implications of these findings are discussed.
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Scholars have uniformly presumed that news media attention to a policy issue increases its impact on presidential job performance evaluations because news coverage enhances the accessibility of beliefs about the issue in citizens' memories, which automatically increases their impact on relevant judgments. The research reported here demonstrates that media coverage of an issue does indeed increase the cognitive accessibility of related beliefs, but this does not produce priming. Instead, politically knowledgeable citizens who trust the media to be accurate and informative infer that news coverage of an issue means it is an important matter for the nation, leading these people to place greater emphasis on that issue when evaluating the President. Thus, news media priming does not occur because politically naive citizens are "victims" of the architecture of their minds, but instead appears to reflect inferences made from a credible institutional source of information by sophisticated citizens.
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As most political scientists know, the outcome of the American presidential election can be predicted within a few percentage points (in the popular vote), based on information available months before the election. Thus, the general campaign for president seems irrelevant to the outcome (except in very close elections), despite all the media coverage of campaign strategy. However, it is also well known that the pre-election opinion polls can vary wildly over the campaign, and this variation is generally attributed to events in the campaign. How can campaign events affect people's opinions on whom they plan to vote for, and yet not affect the outcome of the election? For that matter, why do voters consistently increase their support for a candidate during his nominating convention, even though the conventions are almost entirely predictable events whose effects can be rationally forecast? In this exploratory study, we consider several intuitively appealing, but ultimately wrong, resolutions to this puzzle and discuss our current understanding of what causes opinion polls to fluctuate while reaching a predictable outcome. Our evidence is based on graphical presentation and analysis of over 67,000 individual-level responses from forty-nine commercial polls during the 1988 campaign and many other aggregate poll results from the 1952–92 campaigns. We show that responses to pollsters during the campaign are not generally informed or even, in a sense we describe, ‘rational’. In contrast, voters decide, based on their enlightened preferences, as formed by the information they have learned during the campaign, as well as basic political cues such as ideology and party identification, which candidate to support eventually. We cannot prove this conclusion, but we do show that it is consistent with the aggregate forecasts and individual-level opinion poll responses. Based on the enlightened preferences hypothesis, we conclude that the news media have an important effect on the outcome of presidential elections – not through misleading advertisements, sound bites, or spin doctors, but rather by conveying candidates' positions on important issues.
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As the European Union (EU) has evolved, the study agenda has shifted from ‘European integration’ to ‘EU politics’. Missing from this new agenda, however, is an understanding of the ‘cognitive constraints’ on actors and how actors respond, i.e. the shape of the EU ‘political space’ and the location of social groups and competition between actors within this space. The article develops a theoretical framework for understanding the shape of the EU political space (the interaction between an Integration–Independence and Left–Right dimension and the location of class and sectoral groups within this map), and tests this framework on the policy positions of the Socialist, Christian Democrat and Liberal party leaders between 1976 and 1994 (using the techniques of the ECPR Party Manifestos Group Project). The research finds that the two dimensions were salient across the whole period, explains why the party families converged on pro–European positions by the 1990s and discovers the emergence of a triangular ‘core’ of EU politics.
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The composition of the directly elected European Parliament does not precisely reflect the “real” balance of political forces in the European Community. As long as the national political systems decide most of what there is to be decided politically, and everything really important, European elections are additional national second-order elections. They are determined more by the domestic political cleavages than by alternatives originating in the EC, but in a different way than if nine first-order national elections took place simultaneously. This is the case because European elections occur at different stages of the national political systems' respective “electoral cycles”. Such a relationship between a second-order arena and the chief arena of a political system is not at all unusual. What is new here, is that one second-order political arena is related to nine different first-order arenas. A first analysis of European election results satisfactorily justifies the assumption that European Parliament direct elections should be treated as nine simultaneous national second-order elections.
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Previous survey analyses examining campaign effects on turnout are somewhat unconvincing because they do not control for the fact that individuals may have decided they will vote independent of campaign activities (even before the campaign begins). Using a unique repeated measures data set of the 2000 presidential campaign, I estimate a Markov chain transition model to test the effects of campaign efforts on turnout intention conditional on precampaign turnout intention. I demonstrate that campaign efforts have a substantial influence on turnout intention, even taking initial turnout intention into account. More notably, I find that different campaign efforts are effective for intended nonvoters than for intended voters.
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At the beginning of each Parliamentary session, the Dutch Queen gives a speech (Troonrede) in which she presents the government's policy goals and legislative agenda for the year to come. The general assumption is that newly elected governments will use agenda-setting moments such as the Queen's speech to put new issues on the national agenda. But does this really happen? Are governmental agendas characterized by sudden shifts following elections or by continuity? After all, at least one coalition party of the previous Dutch government is also a member of the new coalition government. So how much do changes in coalition membership result in changes in policy agendas? In this paper, we study the macro-level structure of the Dutch policy agenda and link patterns of agenda-setting with the institutional context in which this agenda-setting process occurs, that is, the Dutch parliamentary democracy characterized by multi-party government. We coded all Queen's speeches between 1945 and 2007 with a topic code book, based on similar code books used in other countries. In this way, we can examine Dutch agenda-setting patterns and assess the effects of coalition composition and coalition life cycle (from the first year a newly formed government is installed to the last year it is still in office) on agenda-setting
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R. Michael Alvarez examines how voters make their decisions in presidential elections. He begins with the assumption that voters have neither the incentive nor the inclination to be well-informed about politics and presidential candidates. Candidates themselves have incentives to provide ambiguous information about themselves, their records and their issue positions. Yet the author shows that a tremendous amount of information is made available about presidential candidates. And he uncovers clear and striking evidence that people are not likely to vote for candidates about whom they know very little. Alvarez explores how voters learn about candidates through the course of a campaign. He provides a detailed analysis of the media coverage of presidential campaigns and shows that there is a tremendous amount of media coverage of these campaigns, that much of this coverage is about issues and is informative, and that voters learn from this coverage. The paperback edition of this work has been updated to include information on the 1996 Presidential election. Information and Elections is a book that will be read by all who are interested in campaigns and electoral behavior in presidential and other elections. "Thoughtfully conceptualized, painstakingly analyzed, with empirically significant conclusions on presidential election voting behavior, this book is recommended for both upper-division undergraduate and graduate collections." --Choice R. Michael Alvarez is Associate Professor of Political Science, California Institute of Technology.
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"News That Matters does matter, because it demonstrates conclusively that television newscasts powerfully affect opinion. . . . All that follows, whether it supports, modifies, or challenges their conclusions, will have to begin here."—Aaron Wildavsky, The Public Interest "Because of its methodological integrity and richness, News That Matters is likely to be regarded as an impressive, possibliy grounbreaking work."—Neil Postman, New York Times Book Review
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*This is a revised version of a paper prepared for the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, April 1993. The authors would like to thank Susan Scarrow, Robert Rorschneidcr, Michael Gallagher and two anonymous referees for helpful comments, Roland Cayrol. Andrew Appleton and Torben Worre for providing opinion poll results, and Donley Studlar for making it all possible.
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We review recent empirical evidence that shows political campaigns are more potent than widely believed, focusing on the conceptual and methodological advances that have produced these findings. Conceptually, a broader definition of effects--that includes learning and agenda-control, as well as vote choice--characterizes contemporary research. This research also features two kinds of interactive models that are more complex than the traditional hypodermic (message-based) approach. The resonance model considers the relationship between message content and receivers' predispositions, while the strategic model highlights the interactions between competing messages. Finally, we attribute the emergence of stronger evidence in favor of campaign effects to the use of new methodologies including experimentation and content analysis, as well as the more sophisticated use of sample surveys.
The EU: the Danes said “no” in 1992, but “yes” in 1993: How and why?
  • Siune
  • Karen
  • Svensson
  • Palle
  • Tonsgaard
  • Ole
Siune, Karen, Svensson, Palle, and Tonsgaard, Ole. 1994. The EU: the Danes said “no” in 1992, but “yes” in 1993: How and why? Electoral Studies 13:107-16
Referendums and elections: How do campaigns differ? In Do political campaigns matter? Campaign effects in elections and referendums
  • Lawrence Leduc
LeDuc, Lawrence. 2002. Referendums and elections: How do campaigns differ? In Do political campaigns matter? Campaign effects in elections and referendums, ed. David M. Farrell and Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, 145-62. London: Routledge.