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FP6 CivicActive People and Parliament: A framework for analysis and key data from the special Eurobarometer on the European Parliament Autumn 2007 Richard.

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Presentation on theme: "FP6 CivicActive People and Parliament: A framework for analysis and key data from the special Eurobarometer on the European Parliament Autumn 2007 Richard."— Presentation transcript:

1 FP6 CivicActive 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 FP6 CivicActive

3 The European Parliament Paradox FP6 CivicActive

4 Average Turnout in European Parliament elections & guesstimated power of the European Parliament

5 FP6 CivicActive Reasons for abstention Type A “working double shift, no time.” “new baby arrived.” “had no one to baby-sit my six children.” “couldn’t 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.” “couldn’t get there, no one came to collect me” (from a respondent confined to a wheelchair).

6 FP6 CivicActive Reasons for abstention Type B “I couldn’t be bothered.” “I have no interest – I don’t follow politics.” “It’s a lot of bullshit. I don’t believe in any of them. They all talk shite.” “What difference would it make? Have a look around here it’s awful” “They promise you the moon and the stars and when the time comes they do nothing for you.” “didn’t 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 wasn’t worth giving.”

7 FP6 CivicActive Type A: Circumstantial vs. Type B: Voluntary

8 FP6 CivicActive A related distinction Facilitation vs. Mobilisation

9 FP6 CivicActive Facilitation Circumstantial MobilisationVoluntary

10 FP6 CivicActive And another distinction: Institutional level vs. Individual level

11 FP6 CivicActive A typology of variables affecting voter participation/abstention

12 FP6 CivicActive Simplified model of the determinants of electoral participation Institutional facilitation Individual facilitation Balance vote/ abstain Individual Mobilisation Institutional mobilisation

13 Application of the model to the special Eurobarometer on the European Parliament FP6 CivicActive

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) FP6 CivicActive

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 FP6 CivicActive

16 EU citizens’ exposure to the European Parliament through the media

17 Does it matter? FP6 CivicActive

18 Trust and Positive Image of European Parliament by objective knowledge

19 FP6 CivicActive 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 FP6 CivicActive

21 Unstandardized Coefficients Sig. BStd. Error Demographic effects Age *** Female ** Year finished education *** Cognitive effects Exposure to European Parliament in the media *** High objective knowledge *** Feel informed about activities of EP *** Constant *** Adjusted R 2 =.178 Note: country effects included but not shown in table. Multivariate analysis of positive/negative image of the European Parliament Source: EB 68.1

22 Summary of the multivariate regression results FP6 CivicActive

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 FP6 CivicActive

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 apositive effect FP6 CivicActive

25 Interim conclusion Increasing knowledge of the EP enhances the image of the EP FP6 CivicActive

26 Further exploration of the image of the European Parliament focusing on spontaneous images FP6 CivicActive

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 FP6 CivicActive 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 FP6 CivicActive Spontaneous Image of the European Parliament 1994 & 2007 Source: EB 68.1

30 FP6 CivicActive Spontaneous Image of the European Parliament Source: EB 68.1

31 FP6 CivicActive Perceived current importance of the European Parliament

32 FP6 CivicActive 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 FP6 CivicActive

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 FP6 CivicActive

35 References Blondel, Jean; Richard Sinnott and Palle Svensson, People and Parliament in the European Union: Democracy, Participation and Legitimacy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 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


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