Acta Politica

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 542–568 | Cite as

The dynamics of EU attitudes and their effects on voting

  • Andreas C. GoldbergEmail author
  • Claes H. de Vreese
Original Article


In referendums on issues of European integration, it is often unclear how important attitudes toward Europe are and whether these attitudes change during the campaign. Extant research showing the importance of EU attitudes particularly in salient and contested referendums has often had to rely on static data and limited conceptualizations of EU attitudes. This potentially underestimates the role of (different types of) EU attitudes and hampers the ability to assess the dynamics of them. For the analysis of dynamics in EU attitudes, we mainly rely on pre- and post-waves for the Dutch Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement referendum, which extends a panel study leading back to the EP14 elections. This allows us to assess both long-term changes of EU attitudes since the last EP elections and also during the referendum campaign. We examine the effect of campaign-induced attitude changes for the referendum vote, while controlling for other relevant determinants. Our findings first show significant changes in EU attitudes during the referendum campaign, and second, highlight the relevance of some of these changes for the referendum vote. Both strengthening and especially emotional attitudes play respective significant roles, with the latter being in part dependent on media exposure.


Referendum EU Attitudes Voting The Netherlands 


  1. Anderson, C.J., and M.S. Reichert. 1995. Economic benefits and support for membership in the EU: A cross-national analysis. Journal of Public Policy 15 (3): 231–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berry, W.D., M. Golder, and D. Milton. 2012. Improving tests of theories positing interaction. The Journal of Politics 74 (3): 653–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boomgaarden, H.G., A.R.T. Schuck, M. Elenbaas, and C.H. de Vreese. 2011. Mapping EU attitudes: Conceptual and empirical dimensions of Euroscepticism and EU support. European Union Politics 12 (2): 241–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bos, L., S. Kruikemeier, and C. de Vreese. 2016. Nation binding: How public service broadcasting mitigates political selective exposure. PLoS ONE 11 (5): e0155112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bowler, S., and T. Donovan. 1998. Demanding choices: Opinion, voting, and direct democracy. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  6. Brambor, T., W.R. Clark, and M. Golder. 2006. Understanding interaction models: Improving empirical analyses. Political Analysis 14 (1): 63–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bruter, M. 2003. Winning hearts and minds for Europe: The impact of news and symbols on civic and cultural European identity. Comparative Political Studies 36 (10): 1148–1179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ceka, B., and A. Sojka. 2016. Loving it but not feeling it yet? The state of European identity after the eastern enlargement. European Union Politics 17 (3): 482–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. de Vreese, C.H. 2004. Primed by the euro: The impact of a referendum campaign on public opinion and evaluations of government and political leaders. Scandinavian Political Studies 27 (1): 45–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. de Vreese, C.H. (ed.). 2007. The dynamics of referendum campaigns in international perspective. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  11. de Vreese, C. H., Azrout, R., and Boomgaarden, H. G. 2018. One size fits all? Testing the dimensional structure of EU attitudes in 21 Countries. International Journal of Public Opinion Research.Google Scholar
  12. de Vreese, C.H., R. Azrout, and J. Moeller. 2014. European Parliament election campaign study: Data and documentation. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  13. de Vreese, C.H., R. Azrout, and J. Moeller. 2016. Cross road elections: Change in EU performance evaluations during the European parliament elections 2014. Politics and Governance 4 (1): 69–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. de Vreese, C.H., R. Azrout, and J. Moeller. 2017. Netherlands 2014 EP voting patterns: From Euphile to Eurosceptic. In The Eurosceptic 2014 European parliament elections, ed. J.H. Nielsen, and M.N. Franklin, 149–169. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. de Vreese, C.H., and H.A. Semetko. 2004. News matters: Influences on the vote in the Danish 2000 euro referendum campaign. European Journal of Political Research 43 (5): 699–722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. de Vries, C.E., and S.B. Hobolt. 2016. EU issue voting in National and European parliamentary elections. In (Un)intended consequences of EU parliamentary elections, ed. W. van der Brug, and C.H.D. Vreese, 101–124. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Downs, A. 1957. An economic theory of democracy. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  18. Easton, D. 1965. A systems analysis of political life. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  19. Franklin, M., M. Marsh, and L. McLauren. 1994. Uncorking the bottle: Popular opposition to European unification in the wake of Maastricht. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies 32 (4): 455–472.Google Scholar
  20. Friedrich, R.J. 1982. In defense of multiplicative terms in multiple regression equations. American Journal of Political Science 26 (4): 797–833.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Garry, J., M. Marsh, and R. Sinnott. 2005. ’Second-order’ versus ’Issue-voting’ effects in EU referendums: Evidence from the Irish nice treaty referendums. European Union Politics 6 (2): 201–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Geers, S., and L. Bos. 2017. Priming issues, party visibility, and party evaluations: The impact on vote switching. Political Communication 34 (3): 344–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Haesly, R. 2001. Euroskeptics, Europhiles and instrumental Europeans European attachment in Scotland and Wales. European Union Politics 2 (1): 81–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hix, S., and M. Marsh. 2011. Second-order effects plus pan-European political swings: An analysis of European Parliament elections across time. Electoral Studies 30 (1): 4–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hobolt, S.B. 2005. When Europe matters: The impact of political information on voting behaviour in EU referendums. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 15 (1): 85–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hobolt, S.B. 2007. Campaign information and voting behaviour in EU referendums. In The dynamics of referendum campaigns in international perspective, ed. C.H. de Vreese, 84–114. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hobolt, S.B. 2009. Europe in question: Referendums on European integration. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hobolt, S.B., and S. Brouard. 2010. Contesting the European Union? Why the Dutch and the French rejected the European constitution. Political Research Quarterly 64 (2): 309–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hobolt, S.B., and C.E. de Vries. 2016. Public support for European integration. Annual Review of Political Science 19: 413–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hooghe, L., and G. Marks. 2005. Calculation, community and cues public opinion on European integration. European Union Politics 6 (4): 419–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kriesi, H. 2005. Direct democratic choice: The Swiss experience. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  32. Kriesi, H. (ed.). 2011. Political communication in direct democratic campaigns: Enlightening or manipulating? Challenges to democracy in the 21st century series. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  33. LeDuc, L. 2002a. Opinion change and voting behaviour in referendums. European Journal of Political Research 41 (6): 711–732.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. LeDuc, L. 2002b. Referendums and elections: how do campaigns differ? In Do political campaigns matter? Campaign effects in elections and referendums, vol. 25, ed. D.M. Farrell, and R. Schmitt-Beck, 145–162., Routledge/ECPR studies in European political science London and New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Maier, J., and B. Rittberger. 2008. Shifting Europe’s boundaries: Mass media, public opinion and the enlargement of the EU. European Union Politics 9 (2): 243–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Reif, K., and H. Schmitt. 1980. Nine second-order national elections—a conceptual framework for the analysis of European election results. European Journal of Political Research 8 (1): 3–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Schmitt-Beck, R., and D.M. Farrell. 2002. Routledge. In Do political campaigns matter? Campaign effects in elections and referendums, vol. 25, ed. D.M. Farrell, and R. Schmitt-Beck, 183–193., Routledge/ECPR studies in European political science Do political campaigns matter? Yes, but it depends: London and New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Schuck, A.R.T., and C.H. de Vreese. 2008. The Dutch no to the EU constitution: Assessing the role of EU skepticism and the campaign. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 18 (1): 101–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sciarini, P., and A.C. Goldberg. 2016. Turnout bias in postelection surveys: Political involvement, survey participation, and vote overreporting. Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology 4 (1): 110–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sciarini, P., and A. Tresch. 2011. Campaign effects in direct-democratic votes in Switzerland. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 21 (3): 333–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Svensson, P. 2002. Five Danish referendums on the European Community and European Union: A critical assessment of the Franklin thesis. European Journal of Political Research 41 (6): 733–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Szczerbiak, A., and P.A. Taggart. 2008. Opposing Europe? The comparative party politics of Euroscepticism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  43. van Atteveldt, W.H. 2008. Semantic network analysis: Techniques for extracting, representing, and querying media content. Charleston, SC: BookSurge Publishers.Google Scholar
  44. Wagner, M. 2014. Fear and anger in great Britain: Blame assignment and emotional reactions to the financial crisis. Political Behavior 36 (3): 683–703.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ASCoRUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations