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Motivating the European voter: parties, issues and campaigns in European Parliament elections

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Voters behave differently in European Parliament (EP) elections compared to national elections because less is at stake in these ‘second-order’ elections. While this explains the primary characteristic of EP elections, it has often led to a conflation of distinct motivations for changing behaviour – namely sincere and protest voting. By distinguishing these motivations, this article addresses the question of when and why voters alter their behaviour in EP elections. In addition, it argues that the degree of politicisation of the EU in the domestic debate shapes the extent to which voters rely on EU, rather than national, considerations. These propositions are tested in a multilevel analysis in 27 countries in the 2009 EP elections. The findings have important implications for understanding why voters change their behaviour between different types of elections.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/43524/

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