The Impact of European Parliament Election Timing on Electoral Support for Government and Protest Parties

Friday, March 30, 2018
Cordova (InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile)
Jakub Wondreys , International Affairs, University of Georgia
Reif and Schmitt suggest that elections to the European parliament (EP) should be considered second order elections (SOE). Although there have been many attempts to revisit and test Reif and Schmitt’s original expectations (1980), it seems that the main three aspects of the SOE model (lower turnout, decreased support for governing parties, and increased support for minor and more extreme parties) have still not been clearly theorized and tested, especially with regards to the effects of time. Taking this lacuna into account, I consider how the location of EP elections in national electoral cycle impacts when, in Hirschman’s (1970) terminology, voters decide to abstain (exit), vote for a protest party (voice), or remain loyal to a governing party (loyalty). Leaving the first implication aside for now, this study examines the impact of timing of EP elections in terms of the national electoral cycle on the performance of the governing parties and the radical right, which constitutes the most influential party family amongst protest parties­. The results of my analysis of all EP elections from 1979 to 2014 suggest that timing has a major impact on magnitude of losses or gains of both governing and protest parties in European elections.
  • SOE.2018.CESpaper.Finaledit.pdf (339.7 kB)