The Impact of the Explosion of EU News on Voter Choice in the 2014 EU Elections

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

The Impact of the Explosion of EU News on Voter Choice in the 2014 EU Elections


  • Jan Kleinnijenhuis Department of Communication Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Wouter van Atteveldt Department of Communication Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Abstract  The European elections in 2014 were the first to be held after a long period in which EU-related news was prominent in the media. They were held after years of daily news about the euro crisis and after months of news about the popular uprising in the Ukraine against president Yanukovych, who had refused to sign the association agreement with the EU. This could have invited political parties to overcome the usual problem of low salience of EU issues by strongly profiling themselves on EU issues. Turnout at the 2014 EU elections, however, remained low, hinting that parties were unable to convert the attention for European issues into enthusiasm for their party at the European elections. This paper asks how vote choice was influenced by party campaigning on EU related issues. A news effects analysis based on a content analysis of Dutch newspapers and television, and on a panel survey among Dutch voters revealed that EU issues functioned as wedge issues: the more strongly parties were associated in the news with the euro crisis and the Ukraine, the less they succeeded in mobilizing voters.


Keywords  elections; European Parliament; media content analysis; news effects; panel survey; Ukraine; vote choice


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Publication Date  29 February 2016


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17645/pag.v4i1.471


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