Montag, 24. Juni 2019 | 17:30 Uhr
Breitscheidstraße 2 | Raum M 2.31
European integration has come to face strong opposition in the last decades. Not only did public support for the EU drop in all member states, but the integration project also grew contentious in the political debate. Despite many scholarly attempts, we still do not know if party elites responded to the changing preferences of their electorate, or if they cued the public. This study exploits time to address the endogeneity of mass-elite linkages. It tracks down the dynamics of the European integration issue among parties and public opinion in France, Italy, and UK from 1992 to 2016. We rely on original semi-annual time-series data that measure the European integration mood from the pooling of a large collection of surveys, and party positions from both manual and automated coding of newswires from national news agencies (AFP, ANSA, Reuters). Results show that mainstream parties respond both to the electorate and to rival parties’ policy shifts. Conversely, challenger parties drive both public opinion and mainstream parties’ policy shifts. In showing the heterogeneity of party responses to public opinion, these findings contribute to a theory of issue evolution in multiparty democracies.