Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Thomassen, J; Costello, R; Rosema, M
Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference
European Parliament Elections and Political Representation: Assessing the policy congruence between voters and parties
Optional Fields

It is often said that European Parliament elections fail as an instrument to express the will of the European people. However, while the elections are not contested at the European level and are often dominated by national issues, this does not necessarily imply that the elections fail to connect the policy preferences of voters to the policy positions of representatives. In this paper we examine the policy link between voters and candidates in European Parliament elections. More specifically, we analyse whether policy preferences are constrained by a single ideological dimension, whether political groups in the European Parliament are sufficiently distinct to offer clear choices to voters on the main policy dimension(s), and finally whether parties and their voters have similar policy positions. We utilize the Candidate Survey and Voter Survey of the European Parliament Election Study 2009. Against expectations, we find that the quality of representation is not noticeably higher on issues related to the left/right dimension than on other issues, such as immigration and EU integration.