Voter Turnout Implications on Second-Order Elections

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Scott Butler, University of Leeds, UK


    When Karlheinz Reif and Hermann Schmitt looked at the first European elections in 1979, they established a model for these elections to be ‘second-order’, or rather the European elections are less important than domestic elections. This line of thought by Reif and Schmitt has been examined in later elections by the likes of Fabian Willermain, Michael Marsh, Galen Irwin, and Sara Binzer Hobolt with Jill Wittrock. The hole I aim to fill involves analyzing voter turnout in both the 2009 and 2014 European elections and general electorate mood towards the European Union. I seek to answer the question if a higher anti-European Union sentiment leads to increased or decreased voter turnout for the European elections. If there is a correlation in either direction, I would then compare the changes from 2009 to 2014 in both the turnout and public perception of the European Union. I will also look at other factors that may impact turnout that I have not found in my examination of literature, namely, the presence of other elections occurring on the same day, and whether or not countries that do have elections on the same day experience an increase in turnout, which I expect. I will then take the data I have found and use it, along with academic research to extrapolate a theory on how better turnout can be achieved for these supposed ‘second-order’ elections to allow them to be on the ‘first-order’.