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Turnout in the European Union: how perception of democracy in the European Union influences electoral participation

Michel, Stefan (2010) Turnout in the European Union: how perception of democracy in the European Union influences electoral participation.

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Abstract:This Bachelor-Thesis, being part of a project dealing with the European elections 2009, deals with the topic of perception of democracy and electoral participation. Turnout rates show differences between national and European elections, with an average of 22,6% higher turnout for national elections in the EU member states. Why is this the case? This paper seeks to explain how the perception of a certain government (in this case the EU) might influence the decision whether to vote or not. The research question is: “What is the perception of European citizens towards the degree of democracy (democratic elements) in the European Union, and in how far does this affect the decision whether or not to vote in European Parliament elections?” Data was collected by a survey in the Netherlands and Germany around the European elections, in total n = 727 answered questionnaires could be used. Analyzing the data shows that there in fact is a relationship between the perception of democracy and electoral participation. The more democratic the people think the EU works, the more likely they are to vote in European elections. This relationship is also tested against two different third factors, age and education, which are both being regarded as influencing the decision whether to vote or not. Although the initial relation between perception of democracy and electoral participation could not be shown for each of the categories of age and education, clear general tendencies were found. It seems likely that there actually is a relationship between what people think of the EU in democratic terms and whether they will vote or not. Nevertheless further research has to deepen and broaden the knowledge about this topic, and has to investigate further. For example similar studies could be extended to more European countries (EU members), or include more third variables to test the initial relationship.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:European Studies BSc (56627)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/60297
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