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Debating Europe: Effects of the "Eurovision Debate" on EU Attitudes of Young German Voters and the Moderating Role Played by Political Involvement

[journal article]

Maier, Jürgen; Rittberger, Berthold; Faas, Thorsten

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v4i1.456

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Abstract In the run-up to the elections to the European Parliament in 2014, EU citizens had the unprecedented opportunity to watch televised debates between the candidates running for president of the European Commission. The most important debate was the so-called "Eurovision debate", which was broadcasted in almost all EU member states. In this study we explore the responses of a sample of 110 young German voters, who watched this debate, to the candidates' messages and whether exposure to the debate caused a shift in the respondents' attitudes towards the EU. Combining data from a quasi-experiment, real-time response data, and data from a content analysis of the debate, we find that respondents' reactions to the candidates' statements were - on average - positive and that some respondents displayed attitudinal changes resulting in more favorable views towards the EU. Although the direct connection between realtime responses and post-debate attitudes is not as strong as expected, most of the measured effects indicate that a positive evaluation of the candidates’ messages usually results in more pro-European attitudes. Furthermore, we find no strong evidence that political knowledge moderates debate effects. In general, differences between political 'novices' and political 'experts' tend to be rare. (author's abstract)
Keywords EU; European Parliament; parliamentary election; election to the European Parliament; election campaign; personalization; candidacy; election; reporting; mass media; television; interactive media; Federal Republic of Germany; young adult; formulation of political objectives; voting behavior; political attitude; party; preference
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; European Politics; Impact Research, Recipient Research
Document language English
Publication Year 2016
Page/Pages p. 55-68
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