This proposal is made in conjunction with a research project that we have recently begun entitled "Opportunities for Citizen Engagement: Multi-level Political Participation in Canada and Europe". We expect to be working on this project over the next four years, analyzing a number of datasets that contain information on voting participation at more than one level of government. All of the countries in the 2009 European election study provide participation opportunities at a minimum of three levels – European Parliament, national, and local. Some federal polities, or those with regional assemblies, also provide voting opportunities at a subnational level, and some countries will have held referendums that are of significance. Because participation rates in European Parliament elections are low and declining in most EU countries, our analysis will attempt to place voting participation in European Parliament elections in a broader context of participation than has been possible in the previous European Election studies. Because election surveys often ask about only one (or at most two) levels of voting, this is a topic that has not to date been very researchable.
Our project has a particular focus on young voters, whose low rates of entry into the electorate in recent years account for much of the turnout decline in many countries. Systems of multi-level governance provide several distinct entry points for young citizens to begin their active voting life. These can reinforce patterns of non-participation to the point where withdrawal becomes a syndrome, or alternatively they may provide avenues for more selective participation. We will examine a series of hypotheses about factors which help to determine whether young people become regular voters, occasional voters, or potentially permanent nonvoters. These hypotheses involve the impact of the political context of the elections, parental socialization patterns, perceived pressures from non-political activity, the presence of alternative participatory activities, the complexity of multi-level governance, and variations in political and electoral institutions. Depending on the content of the EES, we expect that a subset of these hypotheses will be testable using the 2009 EES datasets.
Inclusion of the proposed questions in the 2009 European Election Study, together with contextual information on the timing of elections at other levels, will provide useful additional data to a broad community of scholars interested in examining interactions between elections at different levels of government or patterns of participation at different levels. The wording of the proposed questions can be adjusted as necessary to varying national contexts, and the specific items on voting participation at each level can be situated at any appropriate locations in the questionnaire. We do not propose to ask questions about the actual direction of vote at these additional levels, although this could be added where desired by the national teams. The voting participation items therefore do not need to be asked in a single sequence, although the attitudinal item (#2) should be. The inclusion of contextual information on the dates of elections at the different levels (#3) is an important complement to the survey items, and will make the dataset extremely useful to scholars interested in the proximity of EP elections to those held at other levels.
Lawrence LeDuc (University of Toronto)
Jon H. Pammett (Carleton University)
Posted 16/7/2008 17:34 (#115 - in reply to #36) Subject: RE: Multi-level voting participation
Location: University of Oxford, UK
Dear Professor LeDuc:
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):
Instrument: Contextual Data
We propose to embed the dates of all elections and referendums held in the jurisdiction over the five year European Parliament election cycle into the dataset.
Rationale: The contextual data team will be collecting the dates of all EP, national, regional, and local elections.
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.
Chair of the PIREDEU Steering Committee
Deputy Chair of the PIREDEU Steering Committee