Claes de Vreese and I have published a new article on “The role of candidate evaluations in the 2014 European Parliament elections: Towards the personalization of voting behaviour?” in European Union Politics (online first).
In this article, we study the personalization of voting behaviour in European Parliament elections. We argue that information from the media is crucial for providing linkages between candidates and voters. Moreover, we contend that candidates can serve as information short-cuts given the complexity of European Union politics. We use a four-wave Dutch panel survey and a media study that enable us to link evaluations of lead candidates, party preferences, and vote choice to exposure to news about these candidates. We show, firstly, that exposure to candidate news is a strong explanatory factor for candidate recognition. Secondly, we find that candidate evaluations positively affect party choice, albeit mainly for those voters who tend to be politically aware. Our research has implications for debates about the European Union’s accountability deficit.
The motivation for our research was in part influenced by my VENI project on the personlization of EU politics (“Facing Europe“). The data collection was largely funded by the Amsterdam School of Communication Research as part of the 2014 European Parliament Election Campaign Study.
The article is accessible free of charge here.