Presented at the Annual Meeting of the EUSA
The conventional explanation of European Parliament (EP) voting maintains that European elections are “second-order” elections in which citizens send a message to their national government. As a result, governing parties normally see significant losses in their vote shares in EP elections. This argument assumes that national elections reflect voters’ sincere preferences, while voters make strategic choices in EP elections. This is not fully satisfactory because there is no theoretical or empirical reason to assume that voters act strategically only in EP elections. Instead, we assume that voters act strategically in all elections, and voters anticipate the policy effects of coalition negotiations at the domestic level and bargaining within the European Union at the supranational level. We show that Euroskeptic parties are less likely to join governing coalitions and that their supporters may vote against them in national elections for this reason. Because the EP does not form a European government, this strategic consideration is absent in EP elections, and Euroskeptic parties will therefore perform better there.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jamie_scalera/60/