Second order elections
Posted 14/6/2008 21:30 (#61)
Subject: Second order elections

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The works of Reif and Schmitt started a line of research departing from some comparative regularities observed in the voting behavior in European Parliament elections and nation-states Parliaments. Most of the empirical work around Second Order Elections has used agregated level data while the explanatory mechanisms of those observed regulaties point at decisions taken at the individual level. One -if not the most- fundamental assumption to explain such regularities on the side of the electors claims that citizens conceive the European Parliament elections as electoral contests where there is less at stake than in nation-state Parliamentary elections. The Voter Survey EES 2009 offers the opportunity to obtain information to evaluate the adequacy of such assumption with the addition of just on new though short question, the wording of which could be as follows:

Compared to [country] Parliament elections, do you think that European Parliament elections are less important, equally important, or more important for [country]?
1-Less important

2-Equally important

3-More important

4-DK (do not read out)


The “less at stake” assumption has been attributed not only to electors but also to the two other relevant political actors: candidates and media.Campaigning efforts and spending, and media coverage are good indicators to contrast the assumption at candidates and media level, though up to date there is not a clear and direct indicator to allow such a contrast at the electorate level. Additionally, the candidate survey could also consider to include an adapted version of the proposed question.

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