Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

The Spitzenkandidaten in the European Parliament Election Campaign Coverage 2014 in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom

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Abstract:  Elections to the European Parliament are characterised by a steady decline in voter turnout. To tackle this problem, in 2014, several groups of the European Parliament nominated pan-European Spitzenkandidaten who were expected to personalise the elections and mobilise European voters. Based on this development, this study analyses the media coverage of the 2014 EP elections with special focus on the role of the Spitzenkandidaten. A quantitative content analysis of European election campaign coverage in the opinion leading newspapers of three influential EU member states, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom was carried out. The results show large candidate- and country-specific differences regarding the visibility and thematic coverage of the EP elections in general as well as the presentation of the Spitzenkandidaten. The Spitzenkandidaten were not very visible in either the German, French, or British newspaper coverage. With respect to the presence and media personalisation of the Spitzenkandidaten, the newspaper coverage of the EP election does not demonstrate any mobilising effect and thus does not reflect the high expectations the European Parliament attributed to the nomination of the Spitzenkandidaten.

Keywords:  comparative cross-national analysis; content analysis; European elections; media coverage; media personalisation; Spitzenkandidaten



© Heidi Schulze. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.