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The European Union and Beyond

The Consequences of Politicisation of the EU in the Media for Voting Behaviour, 2002-2017

European Politics
Electoral Behaviour
Marina Costa Lobo
Universidade de Lisboa Instituto de Ciências Sociais
Marina Costa Lobo
Universidade de Lisboa Instituto de Ciências Sociais
Roberto Pannico
Universidade de Lisboa Instituto de Ciências Sociais

Fifty years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome, fifteen years after the entry in circulation of the Euro, and after the recent Eurozone crisis – it is has become common wisdom that ‘something like politicization’ has been occurring with regards to the EU (Schmitter 2009). The phenomenon has been measured in its essence, its magnitude, in the factors driving it and in the contexts that facilitate its emergence (Hooghe and Marks, 2009, de Wilde 2011, de Wilde and Zurn, 2012). Despite a few mostly aggregate studies (Costa Lobo and Lewis-Beck, 2012; Dassonneville and Lewis-Beck, 2014; Talving, 2014; Hernandez and Kriesi, 2016; Giuliani and Massari, 2017; Vidal 2017), the literature is still incipient on the consequences for individual attitudes and behaviour.
The purpose of the present paper is to understand under which circumstances the economic vote is influenced by voters’ EU attitudes, looking at the level of politicization of EU issues in four different European countries (Ireland, Germany, Portugal, and Spain). To this aim, the paper will use a unique dataset on media content collected by the ERC MAPLE project for the period 2002-2017. For each country, data have been collected on the content of two mainstream newspapers during the month before each election held in the last 16 years. At present the dataset includes 110.000 articles. These data will be linked to post-electoral data surveys to shed light on how the magnitude and the type of politicisation of EU issues affects individual attitudes and economic voting. In particular, we will look at overall exposure to newspapers per country, as well exposure to the individual media titles where data are available. This will allow us to identify citizens who are more exposed to EU-related news and to understand if they follow different vote behaviour patterns.​
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