Chapter

Explaining Turnout in European Parliament Elections

Markus Steinbrecher and Hans Rattinger

in The Europeanization of National Polities?

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199602346
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739163 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199602346.003.0008

Series: IntUne

Explaining Turnout in European Parliament Elections

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This chapter focuses on a key behavioural component of EU engagement – turnout in European Parliament elections – and ascertains the extent to which EU citizenship attitudes explain electoral participation. Citizenship explanations are tested against a range of traditional determinants of EU turnout (instrumental calculations, partisan cues, sense of civic duties, affective commitment and demographic characteristics). Voters/non voters are grouped in four types, according to whether they voted in both EU and national elections, voted in neither, or voted in one election but not in the other. The analysis shows that, with the partial exception of European identity, European attitudes are not important predictors of the (low) level of turnout at the European Parliament elections. Traditional explanations – mainly associated with political and cognitive mobilization – are far more important, suggesting out that low turnout does not signal specific anti-European sentiments.

Keywords: European turnout; Cognitive Mobilization; national turnout; electoral participation; anti-European sentiments

Chapter.  8528 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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