- Public support for referendums in Europe: a cross-national comparison in 21 countries
- Electoral Studies
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Previous research is unclear about who supports the use of referendums and why. One line of research suggests that people with greater cognitive resources are more supportive of referendums. Another line claims that referendums are supported by citizens who feel disconnected from the political process. We integrate both perspectives, include civic duty and political cynicism as key explanatory variables, and offer a model explaining referendum support across Europe drawing on both individual and contextual factors. Our study is based on a survey conducted in 21 EU member states (N = 22,806). Results show support for both perspectives and for our new indicators, suggesting that referendum support is highest among citizens who are critical of traditional party politics but committed to democratic practices.
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