Quality & Quantity

, Volume 50, Issue 6, pp 2535–2551 | Cite as

In the end, will we all be Europeans? A two-phase analysis of citizens’ sentiment towards the EU

  • Giancarlo Manzi
  • Sonia Stefanizzi
  • Pier Alda Ferrari


In the last decades an increasing effort has been expended to spread out citizens’ awareness for the European Union as an institution, but more recently, mainly due to the economic crisis spread out from 2008 onwards, less positive attitudes have started to form. Regular monitoring on the state of citizens’ view towards the EU, performed through opinion surveys, has undoubtedly shown a constant decline in citizens’ enthusiasm. However, findings from this paper reveal that, even in times when increasing unemployment, deprivation and bad life standards are hardly hitting the EU member states, especially in Southern countries, an underlying predisposition still prevail when individual characteristics and features of the countries where citizens live in are taken in due account. This hidden attachment is analyzed on the subset of EU15 countries using a two-phase approach: (i) first, potential latent features both at individual and contextual level explaining the EU attachment are searched; then (ii) these features are combined in a two-level model where the individual expectations from the EU and the expenditure in research and development of the country result the best predictors.


European sentiment Eurobarometer survey Nonlinear principal component analysis Multilevel models Latent variables 



We would like to thank the Editor and an anonymous reviewer for their comments on a previous version of this article.


  1. Aitkin, M., Anderson, D., Hinde, J.: Statistical modelling of data on teaching styles (with discussion). J. R. Stat. Soc. Ser. A 144, 148–161 (1981)Google Scholar
  2. Albano, R., Loera, B.: La Struttura dei Valori di Cittadinanza. L’Analisi Fattoriale per lo Studio delle Configurazioni Valoriali (The Structure of Citizenship Values. Factor Analysis for the Study of Value Configurations). Libreria Stampatori, Turin (2004)Google Scholar
  3. Almond, G.A., Verba, S.: The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. Sage Publications, Newbury Park (1963)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arcuri, L., Castelli, L., Galdi, S., Zogmaister, C., Amadori, A.: Predicting the vote: implicit attitudes as predictors of the future behavior of decided and undecided voters. Polit. Psychol. 29(3), 369–387 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boomgaarden, H.G., Schuck, A.R.T., Elenbaas, M., de Vreese, C.H.: Conceptual and empirical dimensions of euroscepticism and EU support. Eur. Union Polit. 12(2), 241–266 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bryck, A.S., Raudenbush, S.W.: Hierarchical Linear Models: Applications and Data Analysis Methods. Sage Publications, London (1992)Google Scholar
  7. Campbell, A., Converse, P.E., Miller, W.E., Stokes, D.E.: The American Voter. John Wiley & Sons, New York (1960)Google Scholar
  8. De Mucci, R.: Elezioni e Rappresentanza Politica nei Piccoli Comuni [Elections and Political Representation in Small Municipalities]. Giuffrè, Milano (1990)Google Scholar
  9. Downs, A.: An Economic Theory of Democracy. Harper & Row, New York (1957)Google Scholar
  10. Easton, D.: A Systems Analysis of Political Life. John Wiley & Sons, New York (1965)Google Scholar
  11. Easton, D.: A re-assessment of the concept of political support. Br. J. Polit. Sci. 5, 435–457 (1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. European Commission: Eurobarometer 80.1: Europe 2020, the Financial and Economic Crisis, European Citizenship and Information on EU Political Matters. EC, Brussels (2013)Google Scholar
  13. Ferrari, P.A., Annoni, P., Manzi, G.: Evaluation and comparison of European countries: public opinion on services. Qual. Quant. 44(6), 1191–1205 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ferrari, P.A., Pagani, L., Fiorio, C.V.: A two-step approach to analyze satisfaction data. Soc. Indic. Res. 104, 545–554 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Galdi, S., Arcuri, L., Gawronski, B.: Automatic mental associations predict future choices of undecided decision-makers. Science 321(5892), 1100–1102 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gifi, A.: Nonlinear Multivariate Analysis. John Wiley & Sons, New York (1990)Google Scholar
  17. Lupia, A.: Shortcuts versus encyclopedias: information and voting behavior in California insurance reform elections. Am. Polit. Sci. Rev. 88, 63–76 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Maier, M., Maier, J., Baumert, A., Jahn, N., Krause, S., Adam, S.: Measuring citizens’ implicit and explicit attitudes towards the European Union. Eur. Union Polit. (2015). doi: 10.1177/1465116515577454
  19. Michailidis, G., De Leeuw, J.: The gifi system of descriptive multivariate analysis. Stat. Sci. 13, 307–336 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Niedermayer, O., Westle, B.: A typology of orientations. In: Niedermayer, O., Sinnott, R. (eds.) Public Opinion and Internationalized Governance, pp. 33–50. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1995)Google Scholar
  21. Roccato, M., Zogmaister, C.: Predicting the vote through implicit and explicit attitudes: a field research. Polit. Psychol. 31(2), 249–274 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rokeach, M.J.: A theory of organization and change within value-attitude systems. J. Soc. Issues 24, 13–22 (1968)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rokkan, S.: Territories, centres, and peripheries: toward a geoethnic-geoeconomic-geopolitical model of differentiation within Western Europe. In: Gottman, J. (ed.) Centre and Periphery Spatial Variation in Politics, pp. 163–204. Sage Publications, Newbury Park (1980)Google Scholar
  24. Sciolla, L.: Sociologia dei Processi Culturali [Sociology of Cultural Processes]. Il Mulino Editore, Bologna (2002)Google Scholar
  25. Sniderman, P.M., Brody, R.A., Powell, R.A.: Reasoning and Choice: Explorations in Political Psychology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1991a)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sniderman, P.M., Brody, R.A., Tetlock, P.E.: Reasoning and Choice. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1991b)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sniderman, P.M., Peri, P., De Figueiredo, R.J.P., Piazza, T.J.R.: The Outsider. Prejudice and Politics in Italy. Princeton University Press, Princeton (2000)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative MethodsUniversity of MilanMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and Social ResearchUniversity of Milan-BicoccaMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations