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European voters in the face of crisis: the prominence of unemployment

  • Stefano Rombi (a1)

From a political perspective, an economic crisis is an external shock which may deeply affect the functioning of a political system. Covering the European Parliament elections from 1999 to 2014, this article analyses how and to what extent the 2008 economic crisis affected the electoral patterns in EU member states. The analysis focusses on the electoral performance of both government parties and Eurosceptic parties, before and after the outbreak of the crisis. Resorting to the economic voting theory, it addresses two questions: first, if and why electoral losses of governing parties are greater during the crisis than before; and, second, if and why Eurosceptic parties have become more prominent after the onset of the crisis. Change of unemployment rate is shown as being the most important factor explaining these trends.

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