- The impact of EU referenda on national electoral politics: evidence from the Dutch case
- West European Politics
- Volume | Issue number
- 32 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This study deals with the issue of increasing contention regarding European matters in national arenas. Specifically, it focuses on the impact of European Union referenda on national elections. EU referenda have two important consequences for national politics: they increase inter-party conflict over Europe and gear up voters' salience to EU matters. In doing so, EU referenda allow voters to identify parties closest to them on the EU issue, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will vote for a party on the basis of EU attitudes (i.e. EU issue voting). These propositions are evaluated empirically in a quasi-experimental setting by comparing two parliamentary elections before and after the first Dutch EU referendum in 2005. The findings show that referenda indeed facilitate the development of EU issue voting. Consequently, the conclusions of this study are not only relevant to observers of Dutch politics, but also contribute to a larger debate within the field of EU studies.
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