EP Elections: from the library’s campaign notebook

With the EP elections now just a few days away, we thought we would share some of the sources we followed over the past weeks. While proposed in no particular order, these snippets give a good picture of the issues that are keeping most of Europe talking, many of us busy – and probably a few awake: the controversial politicisation of European elections mainly through party candidates for Commission president, the surge of anti-system, eurosceptic parties, the issue of voter turnout.

Some of the resources below will be well-known to Brussels insiders, some will hopefully come as a novelty. We’ll share background sources in this post, and some highlights from our ‘campaign diary’ in a couple of forthcoming ones.

Some background sources, in addition to the dedicated EP website and to Pollwatch2014 (both with seats projections):

And a quick, but really quick summary of the prevailing scholarly consensus on European elections, i.e. the ‘second order’ model (no judgement implied):  in European elections, results are shaped by dynamics in the first order arena, i.e. in national politics. The following features of the second order model are taken from a recent overview in Living Reviews in European Governance:

  • large parties, both in government and opposition, tend to lose votes in EP elections relative to their performance in national elections;
  • governing parties lose more than opposition parties;
  • small parties tend to gain votes.

More finegrained versions of the above pattern have been drawn:

  • small parties with electoral support under 10 per cent are more successful, while large parties that have over 25 per cent electoral support show differential performance: governing parties lose votes and opposition parties marginally gain votes;
  • very small parties with up to 4 per cent of electoral support tend to gain votes; parties with between 4 per cent and 30 per cent in the previous national election do not differ much in their performance; and parties with over 30 per cent lose votes in proportion to the size of the party;
  • governing parties, regardless of their size, tend to lose votes, whereas
  • only large opposition parties tend to lose votes.

Since 1979, a robust research infrastructure has grown around EP elections. Two notable sources of data and insights on voters, media and manifestos are the European Election Studies at Mannheim university and the PIREDEU project at EIU Florence. We also drew a lot from the London School of Economics EUROPP blog, but more on this tomorrow…


3 responses to “EP Elections: from the library’s campaign notebook

  1. Pingback: EP Elections: from the library’s campaign notebook (2) | Central Library·

  2. Pingback: EU’s democratic deficit in times of crisis | Central Library·

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