Development of Support: Diffusion or Demographic Replacement?

Bernhard Wessels

in Public Opinion and Internationalized Governance

Published in print September 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294764
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600005 | DOI:

Series: Beliefs in Government

 Development of Support: Diffusion or Demographic Replacement?

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As the referendums in Denmark and France have amply demonstrated, the role of public opinion in the process of European Community integration is increasing in importance. But public opinion is not homogeneous; indeed, considerable variation is found between member countries. Moreover, there are also remarkable differences within countries, both over time and between groups or sectors in society. Examining these variations should provide insight into the dynamics of public support for the EC and possibly into future developments. This chapter examines factors which may give rise to differences in people's awareness of, and support for, the EC, such as demographic and social factors, general political orientations, degree of political involvement, and party affiliation. It starts from the assumption that whatever the causal processes or mechanisms, they operate in more or less the same way in each EC member country. It then takes into account cross‐national differences in attitude and in the array of factors which influence such attitudes. It argues that the generation of awareness and support for the EC is a diffusion process and not, as the research literature has tended to assume, a replacement process.

Keywords: European Community; integration; public opinion

Chapter.  12120 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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