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SPP 466

Author: Richard Rose and Gabriela Borz
Description: This article tests empirically alternative explanations of the variability of turnout at the 2004 and 2009 European Parliament elections. We first show how different methods of calculating turnout produce paradoxical results. Whether turnout appears low or high depends upon where one looks, because there are very large variations between member states in turnout. Secondly, we review three explanations of turnout--EU activities, national politics or electoral institutions matter. Systematic statistical testing finds that national politics and electoral institutions are more important than European Union influences. Politically, this implies that initiatives taken at the EU level are unlikely to mobilize many more EU citizens to vote in European Parliament elections. The major stimulus to change must come at the national level, and it is an open question whether this would involve the mobilization of supporters or opponents of further EU integration.

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Postal Address:    CSPP Publications, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XQ, UK

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland