Department of Political Science

Daniel Finke

The long shadow of attitudes: differential campaign effects and issue voting in EU referendums

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Can voters be persuaded by referendum campaigns? This article develops a theoretical model that synthesises the existing literature on campaign effects and issue-voting by arguing that the strength of pre-existing attitudes conditions voter receptivity to campaign arguments, thereby also determining their eventual vote choice. Using original panel data for the 2015 Danish opt-out referendum, there is evidence that attitude strength matters for whether voters are responsive to persuasion during campaigns. The article finds that voters with the most strongly-held attitudes felt well informed and certain about the consequences of the vote even before the start of the campaign, whereas voters with moderately-held attitudes are found to be more prone to believe those campaign arguments that are consistent with their EU attitudes, changing their vote intentions accordingly. Finally, voters with weakly-held attitudes were equally persuadable for the No and the Yes side of the campaign, but they are also the least pre-disposed to pay attention to campaign messages. The conclusions discuss the broader implications of the findings for our understanding of EU referendum campaigns.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWest European Politics
Volume44
Issue7
Pages (from-to)1482-1505
Number of pages24
ISSN0140-2382
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • CHOICE, COMMUNITY, DUTCH, EU referendums, EUROPEAN-UNION, PARTIES, PUBLIC-OPINION, SKEPTICISM, campaign effects, issue-voting, motivated reasoning

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