Marco R. Steenbergen, Erica E. Edwards, Catherine E. de Vries
European Union Politics 8(1): 13-35
Publication year: 2007

The 2005 French and Dutch referendum campaigns were characterized by an alleged disconnect between pro-European political elites and Eurosceptic masses. Past evidence regarding elite-mass linkages in the context of European integration has been conflicting. Whereas some scholars argue that political elites respond to the changing preferences of their electorates, others suggest that party elites cue the mass public through a process of information and persuasion. We contend that these conflicting results stem from the reciprocal nature of elite-mass linkages and estimate a series of dynamic simultaneous equations models to account for this reverse causation. Using Euro-barometer and expert survey data from 1984-2002, we find evidence of a dual-process model, whereby party elites both respond to and shape the views of their supporters. We also find that the strength of these results is contingent on several factors, including the type of electoral system, intra-party dissent and voter characteristics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *