Why Do Citizens Not Turn Out? The Effect of Election-Specific Knowledge on Turnout in European Elections in Eastern Europe – East European Politics and Societies: and Cultures – article

Why Do Citizens Not Turn Out? The Effect of Election-Specific Knowledge on Turnout in European Elections in Eastern Europe

Vanja Petričević, Daniel Stockemer | East European Politics and Societies: and Cultures

2019-10-22

Throughout the European Parliament’s nearly forty years of existence, electoral turnout in European parliamentary elections has consistently been lower than electoral turnout in the national elections of the member states. This is particularly the case for the majority of states in Eastern Europe where turnout in European Elections has resulted in low electoral participation of eligible voters. Focusing on the 2014 election to the European Parliament, we highlight that low election-specific knowledge contributes to these low participation rates. In more detail, we rely on name recognition of the main candidates of the three main party groups, and show that knowledge of these candidates is more than twice as high in Western Europe as in Eastern Europe. Second, we illustrate that these low knowledge levels in the East also help explain the larger turnout gap between national and European elections in the East.

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