Research projects

The 18 research projects and their objectives are listed below.

Work package 1 - Immigration and Political Participation

  • Analyse data from the 2009 European Election Study and European Social Survey with regard to variable on citizenship, nationality, immigration and electoral involvement.
  • In-depth and cross-national analyses of the electoral involvement (participation, party choice, representation) of EU citizens of foreign origin.

Work package 2 - Issues, values, ideologies and party choice

  • Analyse data from the 2009 European Election Study, especially the variables -- socio-economic status, values, left-right ideology merged, with characteristics of party systems across the 27 EU member states.
  • Compare established and new democracies on how values and ideology structure vote choice.
  • Analyse how vote choice responds to the supply side of party systems.

Work package 3 - Democratic Preferences and Representation in Cross-National Perspective

  • Using Comparative Study of Electoral Systems longitudinal data, test hypothesis that electoral systems bias the party composition of governments and consequent public policies.
  • Analyse how political systems succeed or fail in translating public preferences into government formations and public policies.
  • Test the representativeness of the CSES sample of countries to determine whether the selection of countries biases results.

Work package 4 - Measuring Citizen Preferences in a Globalised World

  • Test impact of sampling, translation and survey mode on outcomes of cross-national political  research.
  • Evaluate the impact of cross-national survey on the study of electoral democracy.

Work package 5 - Institutional Structures and Partisan Attachments

  • Using CSES, conduct comparative research on the power of Party Identification (PI) to structure voters’ world views (in particular with respect to values and issues), its stability, and predictive power across European political systems.
  • Test 3 dimensions of party identification (identifiers in the population, intensity and conditional influence on vote choice) cross-nationally.
  • Test the power of power identification to structure voter’s views in different political contexts.

Work package 6 - European Electoral Democracy Under Stress

  • Identify and examine threats in contemporary Europe to the 'electoral connection' (link between societal interests and demands on the one hand, and governmental action on the other).
  • Examine the impact of diversities in the institutional make-up, socio-political development and recent history, on electoral democracy in Europe.
  • Generate database of European Voter Surveys with which to examine.

Work package 7 - Party Competition and Vote Choice Models: A Comparative Approach

  • Conduct research into issue voting and party issue competition to examine competing issue voting models.
  • Compare proximity, directional and valence models of issue voting cross-nationally.
  • Examine the role of electoral and party systems in the performance of the three issue voting models.

Work package 8 - Voting, Political Parties and the Quality of Governance

  • Estimate cross-national differences in the influence of party ideologies, leader evaluations, and economic performance evaluations on voting behaviour.
  • Test how perceptions of accountability and responsiveness of politicians condition the influence of the above mentioned variables on vote choice.
  • Using advanced statistical methods, examine how the quality of  governance is also influenced by variance in voting behaviour along the above lines. This project will start a new line of inquiry that examines this issue.

Work package 9 - Practical Political Knowledge

  • Examine how institutions and channels of political communication influence democratic representation, effective participation, and the social inclusion of disadvantaged groups via citizens’ practical political knowledge.
  • Analyse existing cross-national survey data and link it to new data on mass media, party positions, political organisations, social network ties among citizens and other possible political information providers to suggest answers to these questions.

Work package 10 - Accountability and Attribution of Responsibility in the European Union

  • Examine voters’ perceptions of governmental responsibility in the context of European Parliament elections.
  • Analyse how voters in the European Union attribute responsibility for policy performance to national and supra-national levels of governance.
  • Examine what causes differences in perceptions of power across countries and levels of governance and how the political and media context influences citizens’ perception of power.

Work package 11 - European Elections and Democratic Legitimacy

  • Link the Design Study PIREDEU to ELECDEM and carry forward fundamental research on voting behaviour that takes advantage of the opportunity to investigate contextual effects of various kinds.
  • Incorporate data from candidate survey, voter survey, media content analysis and party manifesto to address questions the effect of party systems, electoral systems, party strategies, and issue concerns on voter behaviour.

Work package 12 - Electoral Behavior in New Democracies

  • Identify factors contributing to aspects of the electoral connection -- representation, accountability and stability -- in new democracies, with focus on post-communist societies.
  • Use inter-linked data of the European Election Study 2009 offer unique sources to approach the question of trust in democracy from different perspectives: citizens (voters and non-voters), elites (candidates) and the media.
  • Compare the electoral connection in Eastern Europe with post-authoritarian countries of Southern Europe and the more established democracies of Europe’s North and West.

Work package 13 - Observational and Experimental Studies: Campaign Effects on Electoral Behaviour

  • Combine observational data from the 2009 PIREDEU/European Election Studies with experimental data to examine the effect of the campaign environment on electoral behaviour.
  • Enhance our understanding how the campaign environment shapes individuals decisions on whether or not to vote (turnout) and how to vote (party choice).
  • Develop substantive and methodological innovation in the study of electoral campaigns.

Work package 14 - Communication and Mobilisation

  • Examine changes in the media coverage of the European elections and changes in the role of the campaign in explaining electoral participation and engagement.
  • Test the hypothesis that electoral campaigns have become more important over time at mobilising voters, as partisan identification is declining and more voters are deciding late in the campaign.
  • Test the hypothesis that European issues have become increasingly important in mobilising voters in European elections.
  • Disentangle the conditions under which the media coverage and campaigns matter for political mobilization and for which citizens this is most likely to happen.

Work package 15 - Dynamics of Political Communication

  • This project will utilise the media content data from the European Election Study and the CSES and the PIREDEU/EES projects to extend an increasing amount of scholarly work that is directed at analysing the role of the news media in electoral democracies.
  • Systematically examine links between media systems, party systems and voter behaviour.
  • Understand the impact of media systems on elections.

Work package 16 - Media and Political Parties in Democratising Regimes

  • Examine, from a comparative perspective, the interaction between the flow of political information, the communication strategies of political parties and the democratic character of political regimes.
  • Expand the scope of analysis on media effects and political communication to examine whether and how political information and political party campaigns influence citizens in countries where press freedom may be limited.

Work package 17 - Gender, Campaign Messages and Mobilisation Effects

  • Measure media coverage of male and female candidates for political office in order to test hypotheses regarding differential treatment by the news media from a cross-national perspective.
  • Test whether the visibility and type of coverage of female candidates affects the political engagement (participation and political interest) of women.
  • Compare observational study with experiments to examine the mechanism by which gendered news coverage influences political engagement.

Work package 18 - New Technologies and Political Preferences: The Electoral Compass

  • Evaluate role of informed citizens in electoral democracy.
  • Evaluate how vote advice websites influence the functioning of electoral democracy.
  • Use data collected through electoral compass to provide analysis of dimensionality of issue positions of voters across elections where Electoral Compass was in operation.