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Cautious Voters - Supportive Parties : Opinion Concruence between Voters and Parties on the EU Dimension

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Mattila, Mikko; Raunio, Tapio

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Abstract This article analyses party-voter congruence on European integration matters in the EU member states. Drawing on existing research, we put forward eight hypotheses which are tested with data from the EES2004 survey. We show that parties are closer to their voters on the left/right dimension than on the EU dimension. Parties are also more supportive of European integration than are their voters. Party system characteristics (number of parties, ideological range) did not affect opinion congruence. The responsiveness analysis at the party level shows that government parties were less responsive than opposition parties; party size was related to responsiveness, with opinion congruence higher in smaller parties; and responsiveness was lower among centrist parties. Voters are also better represented on the EU dimension by their parties in the new than in the older EU member states. This difference may result from the EU occupying a more central place on the political agendas of the new member states.
Keywords EU
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; European Politics
Free Keywords European Parliament; opinion congruence; parties; representation;
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Page/Pages p. 427-449
Journal European Union Politics, 7 (2006) 4
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)