Voting in the Dutch ‘Ukraine-referendum’: a panel study on the dynamics of party preference, EU-attitudes, and referendum-specific considerations
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On April 6, 2016, the Netherlands organized a citizen-initiated, non-binding referendum on the association treaty between the European Union and Ukraine. The turnout of this referendum was 32%, of whom 61% voted ‘no’ and 38 ‘yes.’ In this study, we seek to explain this outcome. We focus particularly on the extent to which referendum-specific considerations became more important for vote intentions during the campaign.
Existing research on voting behavior in EU-referendums has basically produced three rivaling explanations for the referendum outcomes, which are not mutually exclusive. The first explanation is that voters do not know much about the issues at stake, because of the highly complex and technical nature of such issues. Therefore, voters will take cues from domestic politics, particularly the recommendations of parties they trust (Schuck and De Vreese 2008). In addition, voters often use these referendums to express content or discontent with the policies of the incumbent...
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