Voters not as angry with the EU as political parties suggest

Almost all political parties responded to voters’ frustrations in their campaigns for the European parliamentary elections. However, it appears that voters are not as angry with the EU as most parties suggested, claims Jan Kleinnijenhuis, Professor of Communication Sciences.

06/07/2019 | 12:51 PM

Present-day campaigns are often negatively tinted, notes communication scientist Jan Kleinnijenhuis of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In this manner, such campaigns seek to respond to voters’ "anger". A month prior to the European elections and in collaboration with Ipsos research agency, Kleinnijenhuis conducted a survey to monitor voter opinions on European issues. The survey disclosed that a majority of voters are not at all that "angry" with the EU and moreover, they believe that Europe should take action on key areas, because individual nation states cannot resolve problems unilaterally.

For example, 53 percent agreed that the European Union should provide support to banks that are about to collapse. Moreover, 66 percent of respondents believed that the EU must combat global warming with climate measures. A more decisive foreign policy, such as more severe action against Russia, was an expressed wish of 62 percent. Finally, over two thirds (70 percent) of respondents felt that the EU should guarantee free trade.

“Voters’ opinions are insufficiently addressed by political parties. In doing so, parties risk that opinions about what the EU cannot achieve will play a more significant role in the electoral booth than what the EU can achieve", Kleinnijenhuis says. “When voting, people remember the opinions that they encountered in the campaigns. In this case, mostly negative issues." (Source: