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People%20and%20Parliament:%20A%20framework%20for%20analysis%20and%20key%20data%20from%20the%20special%20Eurobarometer%20on%20the%20European%20Parliament%20Autumn%202007

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Title: People%20and%20Parliament:%20A%20framework%20for%20analysis%20and%20key%20data%20from%20the%20special%20Eurobarometer%20on%20the%20European%20Parliament%20Autumn%202007


1
People and Parliament A framework for analysis
and key data from the special Eurobarometer on
the European Parliament Autumn 2007
  • Richard Sinnott
  • University College Dublin
  • Palle Svensson
  • University of Aarhus

2
  • CivicActive
  • an FP6 Research project

3
  • The European Parliament Paradox

4
Average Turnout in European Parliament elections
1979-2004 guesstimated power of the European
Parliament
5
Reasons for abstention Type A
  • working double shift, no time.
  • new baby arrived.
  • had no one to baby-sit my six children.
  • couldnt get to voting station due to caring for
    my aunt.
  • incapacitated due to old age.
  • lashing rain.
  • because it was wet and I had no way of getting
    to the polling station.
  • couldnt get there, no one came to collect me
    (from a respondent confined to a wheelchair).

6
Reasons for abstention Type B
  • I couldnt be bothered.
  • I have no interest I dont follow politics.
  • Its a lot of bullshit. I dont believe in any
    of them. They all talk shite.
  • What difference would it make? Have a look
    around here its awful
  • They promise you the moon and the stars and when
    the time comes they do nothing for you.
  • didnt understand anything about the system.
  • No differences between parties, no real choice.
  • Nobody approached me for a vote, so when nobody
    did I figured it wasnt worth giving.

7
  • Type A Circumstantial
  • vs.
  • Type B Voluntary

8
A related distinction Facilitation vs.
Mobilisation
9
  • Facilitation Circumstantial
  • Mobilisation Voluntary

10
And another distinction Institutional level vs.
Individual level
11
A typology of variables affecting voter
participation/abstention
12
Simplified model of the determinants of electoral
participation
Individual facilitation
Institutional facilitation
Balance
vote/ abstain
Individual Mobilisation
Institutional mobilisation
13
  • Application of the model to the special
    Eurobarometer on the European Parliament

14
Measuring the image of the EP in Eurobarometer
68
  • Prompted positive/negative image of the EP (see
    first half of presentation)
  • Spontaneous image of the EP (see second half of
    presentation)

15
Key variables from EB68
  • Exposure to the European Parliament in the media
  • Knowledge of the European Parliament
  • Prompted positive/negative image of the EP
  • Spontaneous image of the EP
  • Importance of the European Parliament

16
EU citizens exposure to the European Parliament
through the media 1977-2007
17
  • Does it matter?

18
Trust and Positive Image of European Parliament
by objective knowledge
19
Trust and Positive Image of European Parliament
by subjective knowledge
20
  • The effect of knowledge on positive image of the
    European Parliament
  • a multivariate problem and a multivariate solution

21
Multivariate analysis of positive/negative image
of the European Parliament
Source EB 68.1
Unstandardized Coefficients Unstandardized Coefficients Sig.
B Std. Error Sig.
Demographic effects Age -.024 .003
Female .025 .010
Year finished education .019 .005
Cognitive effects Exposure to European Parliament in the media .060 .011
High objective knowledge .072 .004
Feel informed about activities of EP .247 .007
Constant 2.103 .031
Adjusted R2 .178 Note country effects included
but not shown in table.
22
  • Summary of
  • the multivariate regression results

23
Socio-demographic effects on positive image of
the European Parliament
  • Age has a negative effect
  • Gender (female) has a positive effect
  • Education has a positive effect

24
Cognitive effects on positive image of the
European Parliament
  • Controlling for these demographic effects
  • Exposure to the EP has a positive effect
  • Objective knowledge has a positive effect
  • Subjective knowledge has a positive effect

25
Interim conclusion
  • Increasing knowledge of the EP enhances the image
    of the EP

26
Further exploration of the image of the
European Parliament focusing on spontaneous images
27
Spontaneous images of the European Parliament
  • When you think about the European Parliament is
    there anything in particular you appreciate about
    it?
  • Source EB68.1, QB10
  • When you think about the European Parliament is
    there anything in particular you do not
    appreciate about it?
  • Source EB68.1, QB11

28
Spontaneous Images of the European Parliament
  • Positive
  • Unification role (5).
  • Common decisions/policies (4).
  • Democratic role (4).
  • Economic stability/Financial support within the
    EU (4).
  • Voice of each nation counts (3).
  • Other (9).
  • Negative
  • Too bureaucratic/inefficient (5).
  • Too expensive (4).
  • The voice of small countries does not count/big
    countries have too much power (4).
  • Lack of information/transparency (3).
  • Too much interference in national affairs (3).
  • Other (12).

Source EB 68.1
29
Spontaneous Image of the European Parliament
1994 2007
Source EB 68.1
30
Spontaneous Image of the European Parliament
1994-2007
Source EB 68.1
31
Perceived current importance of the European
Parliament
32
Perceived Current importance by spontaneous image
of the European Parliament 2007
33
First conclusion
  • Increasing knowledge of the EP enhances the image
    of the EP

34
Second conclusion
  • The role of the EP (as measured by its perceived
    importance) is curtailed by the lack of any image
    of the EP among some 60 per cent of the citizens
    of Europe

35
References
  • Blondel, Jean Richard Sinnott and Palle
    Svensson, People and Parliament in the European
    Union Democracy, Participation and Legitimacy.
    Oxford Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Sinnott, Richard, Tackling the problem of voter
    abstention the facilitation/mobilisation
    framework and some empirical evidence in Report
    of Second European Conference of Electoral
    Management Bodies, Strasbourg European
    Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice
    Commission), December 2005, pp. 49-69.
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