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The Spitzenkandidaten in the European Parliament Election Campaign Coverage 2014 in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom

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Schulze, Heidi

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Abstract Elections to the European Parliament are characterised by a steady decline in voter turnout. To tackle this problem, in 2014, several groups of the European Parliament nominated pan-European Spitzenkandidaten who were expected to personalise the elections and mobilise European voters. Based on this development, this study analyses the media coverage of the 2014 EP elections with special focus on the role of the Spitzenkandidaten. A quantitative content analysis of European election campaign coverage in the opinion leading newspapers of three influential EU member states, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom was carried out. The results show large candidate- and country-specific differences regarding the visibility and thematic coverage of the EP elections in general as well as the presentation of the Spitzenkandidaten. The Spitzenkandidaten were not very visible in either the German, French, or British newspaper coverage. With respect to the presence and media personalisation of the Spitzenkandidaten, the newspaper coverage of the EP election does not demonstrate any mobilising effect and thus does not reflect the high expectations the European Parliament attributed to the nomination of the Spitzenkandidaten. (author's abstract)
Keywords EU; European Parliament; parliamentary election; election to the European Parliament; election campaign; personalization; candidacy; nomination of candidates; European Commission; president; mobilization; election; reporting; newspaper; content analysis; Great Britain; Federal Republic of Germany; France; mass media
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; European Politics; Media Contents, Content Analysis
Document language English
Publication Year 2016
Page/Pages p. 23-36
Journal Politics and Governance, 4 (2016) 1
Issue topic How Different Were the European Elections of 2014?
ISSN 2183-2463
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution