suggested parallel questions with MEP survey
Roger Scully
Posted 19/5/2008 10:08 (#33)
Subject: suggested parallel questions with MEP survey


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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 including several of these questions on a European Candidates Study (we are also proposing that some of these questions be included in the survey of voters). Most immediately, partial integration of the Candidates Study and the later MEP study would provide a powerful research design, informing scholars about the extent to which the sub-set of those candidates who are elected differ along a number of dimensions from those who are not, and about the impact of any early ‘institutional socialisation’ on those who become MEPs.

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 Candidates Study.

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


Q. 1.5. This question about future career ambitions of MEPs is grounded in the basic theoretical notion that the future career goals of political actors exert a powerful influence over their behaviours. (For example, an ‘electoral connection’ influence, in Mayhew’s terminology, assumes that an actor has an interest in being re-elected; for many MEPs, this may not be so). Previous work on the EP has explored the different ‘principals’ that MEPs may respond to; understanding their future career ambitions is important to understanding the likely importance of different such influences. Including this question in the Candidates Study, as well as the later MEP survey, will facilitate valuable comparisons between elected and unelected candidates.


Qs. 2.4, 2.5. These questions concern the selection of candidates. It is well known that the electoral systems in place for European elections differ very considerably. We know much less about the mechanisms for the selection of candidates, and the influences upon who seeks selection, and who is selected as a candidate. Including these questions in the Candidates Study will help to address these deficiencies in current knowledge. Running these questions in both the Candidates Study and the MEP study will also facilitate valuable comparisons between the types of candidates who are elected and those who are not.


Qs. 3.1 – 3.7. These are a number of questions on the particular campaigning activities that candidates undertake during the campaign. It is well known that the differing electoral systems in place for European elections present very different forms of incentives on candidates. Many countries operate closed lists across whole nations or large regions: in these systems, incentives for individual campaigning activity appear limited. A significant number of countries, however, operate more ‘open’ electoral systems where individual candidates can have considerable impact on their electoral fate. It certainly cannot be assumed that European elections are wholly party-based in all countries. Including questions about campaigning activities is vital to ensure that the impact of electoral systems on campaigning behaviour is estimated (alongside the impact of other variables, including the particular campaigning practices typical of different nations or individual parties). We would intend to include these questions in the MEP survey to ensure that we have comparable data on all those elected who respond to our survey. But such questions are even more appropriate for inclusion in a Candidates Study that is enquiring directly into the election campaign.


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 attitudes towards the EP. Including this question in the Candidates Study, as well as the later MEP survey, will facilitate valuable comparisons between elected and unelected candidates; comparisons between individuals in the Candidates Study and MEP survey may also provide highly valuable evidence of any early ‘institutional socialisation’ in practice.



David Farrell
Simon Hix
Roger Scully




Attachments
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Attachments eprg2006survey_questionnaire.pdf (40KB - 2 downloads)
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SaraHobolt
Posted 16/7/2008 17:21 (#111 - in reply to #33)
Subject: RE: suggested parallel questions with MEP survey




Posts: 26
25
Location: University of Oxford, UK
Dear David, Roger and Simon,

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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