“Putting the World Together: Dimensionality of Attitudes and Political Sophistication in the European Union”

Paper prepared for the CPPC conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, June 2010.

Abstract: While attitudes at the level of voters are structured by the socio-economic and socio-cultural dimension, presumably accompanied by the integration-demarcation dimension which encompasses attitudes towards European integration and immigration, the political space with party positions remains uni-dimensional. This constitutes a puzzle from the perspective of social psychology literature which suggests that more sophisticated individuals, thus political elites, are more capable to deal with complexity of the political world. Hence, their attitudes should be clearly structured, with multiple attitude dimensions emerging at the aggregate level. The paper addresses this puzzle by exploring the dimensionality of attitudes among voters stratified by different levels of political sophistication and among political elites. It looks at differences in attitude formation across established democracies of Western Europe and consolidating democracies of East-Central Europe. The paper employs the European Election Study and the European Election Candidate Survey 2009.

Working paper, full paper to follow.

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