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The Impact of the Explosion of EU News on Voter Choice in the 2014 EU Elections

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Kleinnijenhuis, Jan; Atteveldt, Wouter van

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Abstract The European elections in 2014 were the first to be held after a long period in which EU-related news was prominent in the media. They were held after years of daily news about the euro crisis and after months of news about the popular uprising in the Ukraine against president Yanukovych, who had refused to sign the association agreement with the EU. This could have invited political parties to overcome the usual problem of low salience of EU issues by strongly profiling themselves on EU issues. Turnout at the 2014 EU elections, however, remained low, hinting that parties were unable to convert the attention for European issues into enthusiasm for their party at the European elections. This paper asks how vote choice was influenced by party campaigning on EU related issues. A news effects analysis based on a content analysis of Dutch newspapers and television, and on a panel survey among Dutch voters revealed that EU issues functioned as wedge issues: the more strongly parties were associated in the news with the euro crisis and the Ukraine, the less they succeeded in mobilizing voters. (author's abstract)
Keywords mass media; reporting; political agenda; EU; European Policy; mobilization; formulation of political objectives; voting behavior; political interest; political attitude; party; preference; European Parliament; election to the European Parliament; parliamentary election; Netherlands
Classification Media Contents, Content Analysis; Impact Research, Recipient Research; Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; European Politics
Document language English
Publication Year 2016
Page/Pages p. 104-115
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