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Voters and Abstainers in National and European Elections

  • Daniel Stockemer (a1) and Andre Blais (a2)
Abstract

Through a panel analysis conducted in Bavaria, which covers two adjacent elections – the federal elections and the European elections in 2013 and 2014 – we examine the attitudinal factors that drive citizens’ propensity to turn out. We find that abstainers have generally low levels of knowledge, interest and sense of civic duty. National-level voters have relatively high interest, knowledge and sense of duty in national politics, but not in European affairs. In contrast, European- and national-level voters have high interest, knowledge and a sense of duty for both national and European politics. This finding contextualizes the characterization of European elections as second-order national elections. While prior research has established that voters make their vote choice based on national-level politics, we demonstrate that European elections are not national elections when it comes to citizens’ decision to vote. Rather, knowledge, interest and a sense of duty about national politics are not sufficient conditions for somebody to vote in the European elections. The person needs to have the same positive attitudes about European affairs as they have about national politics to participate in European elections.

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34. Ideally we would have liked to present those relationships the other way around, that is, to show, for instance, the percentage of national- and European-level voters, national-level voters and abstainers among different educational groups, but that would have made a much bigger and clumsier table.
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38. In separate specifications, we included an interaction term between political knowledge, interest and a sense of duty, as well as for corruption perception at the national and European level, respectively. Neither of these four interaction terms is either statistically significant or substantively relevant.
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European Review
  • ISSN: 1062-7987
  • EISSN: 1474-0575
  • URL: /core/journals/european-review
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