suggested parallel questions with MEP survey
Roger Scully
Posted 19/5/2008 10:05 (#32)
Subject: suggested parallel questions with MEP survey


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Posts: 2

We have conducted surveys of Members of the European Parliament in 2000 and 2006. We intend to conduct another such survey in autumn-2009; a grant application to the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK, to fund this study, is currently in progress.

We intend to replicate a number of questions from our 2006 survey to permit across time comparisons. There could be clear analytic advantages to also including several of these questions on a European Elections Study (we are also proposing that some of these questions be included in the survey of candidates). Most immediately, partial integration of the Elections Study and the MEP study would permit some very valuable comparisons between the preferences and views of the voters, and those elected to represent them. Some recent work (Farrell and Scully 2007: ch.4) has indicated that the ‘descriptive representativeness’ of the EP has improved significantly over the period since the EP became an elected chamber; linked questions on the Elections Study and the MEP Study would, in particular, facilitate exploration of the ‘attitudinal representativeness’ of the EU’s elected chamber.

The purpose of this is both the inform you of our intentions with regard to the 2009 MEP survey, and to request specific inclusion of some questions in the Elections Study.

The questions that we propose to replicate from 2006 in the 2009 MEP survey, and we request also to be included in the Elections Study are the following (numbers relate to question numbers in the 2006 survey; attached to this message):


Q. 2.1. This is a question concerning the desired District Magnitude of MEPs. Our previous survey of MEPs has shown that preferences for greater regional/local representation is not confined to those representing countries which already implement regional/local representation in their electoral systems. We do not yet know (although there is some evidence of voters generally viewing the EU as distant and wishing for more identifiable representatives of their locality within it) much about voters’ desired locus of representation within the EP: this question would permit that.


Q. 4.2. In the MEP survey, this question enquires as to whom MEPs believe it is important to represent. The battery of items in this question have been used in a number of analyses, providing valuable insight into the impact of factors like MEPs’ career incentives and electoral system variation on whom MEPs accord greater priority. We do not currently know much, however, about how the attitudes of representatives compares with what those represented believe should be the priorities of MEPs. This question (with the initial wording suitably amended) would facilitate such comparisons.


Q. 5.2. In the MEP survey, this question enquires as to the basis for MEPs’ behaviour within the parliament. Existing work has explored the factors that shape variance on such behaviour. But we do not currently know much about voters’ views as to the basis on which MEPs’ behaviour should be guided. This question (with the initial wording suitably amended) would facilitate such comparisons.

Qs 6.1, 6.2. These questions enquire into the Left-Right dimension: they ask for self-placement by individuals, and estimated placement of their national party.
(NB: For the 2009 MEP survey we intend to implement these as 0-10 scales, rather than 1-10 scales as done in 2006).


Qs. 6.5, 6.6. These questions enquire into the pro-anti Integration dimension: they ask for self-placement by individuals, and estimated placement of their national party.
(NB: For the 2009 MEP survey we intend to implement these as 0-10 scales, rather than 1-10 scales as done in 2006).


Q. 7.8. This is a battery of items relating to the powers and status of the European Parliament. Such questions have been used in a number of major studies (including Scully 2005, and Farrell and Scully 2007), and have been shown in past work to produce a reliable, uni-dimensional scale of elite attitudes towards the EP. We do not currently know, however, whether the same is the case for mass attitudes. Inclusion of this question would facilitate such comparisons. (We do anticipate that some of the answer options may need to be simplified slightly for the mass survey).


David Farrell
Simon Hix
Roger Scully




Attachments
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Attachments eprg2006survey_questionnaire.pdf (40KB - 13 downloads)
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MarkFranklin
Posted 15/6/2008 21:39 (#77 - in reply to #32)
Subject: RE: suggested parallel questions with MEP survey


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Posts: 11

Linkage with a study of this kind will obviously have a high priority for the EES.
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SaraHobolt
Posted 16/7/2008 16:13 (#93 - in reply to #32)
Subject: RE: suggested parallel questions with MEP survey




Posts: 26
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Location: University of Oxford, UK

Dear David, Simon and Roger

Thank you for submitting this proposal to the Open Forum. The PIREDEU Steering Committee met at the end of June to evaluate each of the proposals.  We assessed them on the basis of whether they met the following criteria:

*         An explicit argument about why the proposed question/coding category merited inclusion in one or more of the PIREDEU data components.

*         An explicit argument about the conceptual and theoretical foundations of the question/coding category.

*         An explicit case for how the question/coding category facilitates integration and linking of several data components. The PIREDEU Steering Committee preferred proposals that allowed for conceptual integration across the five data components (i.e. voter survey, candidate survey, media study, manifestos and contextual data).

*         An explicit consideration of how the proposed question/coding category linked with questions/coding categories in past data collection efforts.

The PIREDEU Steering Committee favoured proposals that ensured over time and across instrument comparability. Moreover, given that the voter and candidate surveys can only contain a limited number of question items, priority was given to proposals with succinct question formats.

On this basis we ranked each question in the proposal as follows:

(1) The proposed item will be included in data collection instrument
(2) High priority proposal that will be included if space and time constraints permit
(3) Proposal can only be included if additional funding is secured
(4) Proposed item is not a priority

The item(s) from your proposal received the following ranking(s):

Instruments: Candidate & Voter Surveys

4.2. How important is it to you to represent the following groups of people in the European Parliament?  In many cases people have different views concerning matters before the European Parliament. In general, which of these are you most inclined to do? Order the options from 1st to 4th.
Ranking: 1

6.1. Where would you place yourself on the Left-Right spectrum?
Ranking: 1  
6.2. Where would you place your national political party on the Left-Right spectrum?
Ranking: 1 (CS) & 2 (VS)
6.5. Where would you place yourself on the question of European integration?  
Ranking: 1
6.6. Where would you place your national political party on the question of European integration?
Ranking: 1 (CS) & 2 (VS)

Rationale: Many of these items are included on previous voter and candidate surveys, and are included in the core battery for the candidate survey and, if space permits, will be included in the voter survey.  The final wording of these items may differ slightly from the proposal.

2.1. Do you think that MEPs should be elected in your member state in one national district or in several regional or local districts?
Ranking: 4

Rationale: This item will not be included due to space constraints on the voter survey.

Thank you again for your participation in this process. We hope that you will continue to use the Open Forum to comment on the questionnaires/codebook that will be posted online on the Forum in the autumn.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Franklin                                                 
Chair of the PIREDEU Steering Committee

Sara Hobolt                 
Deputy Chair of the PIREDEU Steering Committee



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