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European Elections Studies 2009

The PIREDEU design study intends to investigate the scientific and technical feasibility of building an integrated cross-national database on the European electorate, elites and the relevant public record, and testing this design by means of a pilot study conducted in the context of the 2009 European Parliament elections.

Notwithstanding the significant amount of research on electoral democracy in Europe conducted so far, progress in the field is still hindered by the unstructured and ad hoc manner in which data collection efforts have been organised. This is due to (1) a lack of continuity in the collection of data on the behaviour of different sets of actors; (2) problems of data quality; (3) problems of cross-national and over-time comparability of the data; and (4) problems in integrating data sources collected by different research teams that did not fully coordinate their separate activities.

Prior evaluations of European Parliament elections have been based on limited empirical information, and the state of knowledge suffers greatly from a lack of stable, centralised funding sources. So far, research on European elections has not routinely gone beyond survey data to the wider electoral process involving candidates, parties, and the media, and such data as has been collected regarding these other aspects of the electoral process have not been collected in a centrally coordinated fashion.

The added value of a future infrastructure is that it would be specifically designed to permit access to EP election data in an integrated fashion, thus complementing a number of existing cross-country comparative data collections, none of which is well-suited to audit the behaviour of the main actors involved in European elections. It is innovative in that it will provide an integrated database where data on attitudes and behaviour of voters are linked to data about parties and their candidates, the media reporting they are exposed to, and the political and economic context in which all these actors operate. Linking and integrating data in this way is highly complex: no cross-country comparative study has yet created an integrated dataset of this magnitude, even for a single election – much less for a series of elections.

Once the pilot study of the 2009 European Parliament elections is completed, the data will be made available on this website. Expected release date: Winter 2010/2011.

Page updated: 5/03/08
Funded by the European Union's 7th Framework Programme