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Schwarzbözl, Tobias and Braun, Daniela (2016): Representation of a multifaceted Europe. An empirical study on the link between party’s EU issue emphasis and public opinion over different types of European issues. 3-Länder-Tagung der der Deutschen Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft. Panel 47: Die Europäisierung politischer Repräsentation: Die Interaktion von Wählern und Parteien, Heidelberg, 29. September - 1. Oktober 2016.

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Although European issue salience and public opinion over Europe have been widely researched independently, studies on the linkage between these two subjects are almost negligible. This is insofar surprising as representation theory suggests that a key function of political parties is to aggregate and articulate voter’s preferences, which implicates that issues raised by parties should be reflected at the voters’ level. Against this theoretical background and the perpetual debate of the European Union’s democratic deficit, the aim of our paper is to investigate the specific link between issue emphasis of political parties in elections to the European Parliament (EP) and voter’s priorities over European issues. In line with recent findings, we assume that parties listen to their voters when elaborating their election manifestos – also when it comes to European issues (representation hypothesis). This assumption should be confirmed in particular by empirical evidence in the later periods of European integration when times of ‘permissive consensus’ have been overcome and European issues play a significant role for voting behavior in EP elections (deepening hypothesis). Moreover, we take into account that Europe is a compound political issue, highlighting the crucial difference between three different types of European issues (namely general, constitutive, and policy‐related European issues), and assume that the link between parties issue emphasis and voter’s issue attention is most prevalent in the case of constitutive European issues (constitutive hypothesis). We use data from the Euromanifesto project to map the three types of European issues emphasized by political parties. To grasp these three issue types on the voter’s side, we use data from the European Election Study and combine the vote intention of each respondent with her/ his attitude over the three types of European issues. Our aim is to map the linkage over time from 1979 to 2014.

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