Voter turnout in the 2009 European elections: media coverage and media exposure as explanatory factors
Canayaz, Marketa (2015) Voter turnout in the 2009 European elections: media coverage and media exposure as explanatory factors. [Thesis]
This study examines the impact of European Union (EU) news coverage and of media exposure on voter turnout in the 2009 European Parliament elections in the 27 EU member states. It analyzes media content data and voter survey data from the PIREDEU project and builds the hypotheses on the existing literature on media coverage, media exposure, voter turnout, and the second-order elections theory. The study matches data on the visibility and tone of EU news in countries’ media outlets with voters’ usage of these outlets. This allows for examination of the effects of exposure to individual outlets on voter participation in the European elections. The study finds that people exposed to media in which the EU news coverage is highly visible are more likely to vote in the European election. The tone of the news does not play an important role in this equation, as long as the EU news is salient. Additionally, the study examines the differences in the media effects between countries of Western and Central and Eastern Europe, finding lack of media effects in the latter group. Low voter turnout in the European Parliament elections may signify voters’ lack of interest in the EU and low level of knowledge about the EU. The results further indicate the lack of EU’s external communication and a deepening of the democratic deficit in the EU, as well as the lack of interest in the EU from national political parties and candidates to the European Parliament.
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