Eurooptimismi ja euroskeptitsismi vastasseis Euroopa Parlamendi valimiste kontekstis
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Elections are the cornerstone of a democratic government and low turnout could be said to be damaging the legitimacy of it. It is therefore important to research the determinants of voting behaviour. Mapping the distribution of positive and negative attitudes toward further European integration can show if and how these attitudes affect turnout. The purpose of this paper is to map the distribution and prevalence of euro-sceptic and euro-optimistic attitudes among the voters and non-voters of the 2009 European parliament elections in order to compare the prevalence of these attitudes among the member states and regions of the European Union and assess the impact of attitudes among voters to turnout in the elections. And also to find out attitudes toward furthering integration differ among the different states and regions of the European Union. Analysis showed that Eurosceptic attitudes are more common that eurooptimistic attitudes in Austria, Estonia, Finland, Latvia and the United Kingdom. These attitudes were equally distributed in France, Hungary and Portugal. Positive attitudes toward European integration were more common than negative ones in all other states examined. Statistical analysis concluded that turnout in states, where eurooptimistic attitudes are more prevalent that Eurosceptic attitudes, does not differ from turnout in states where the distribution of attitudes is the other way around. Eastern Europe and Southern-Europe have the highest number of eurooptimistic respondents. In only two of the eight regions observed - Northern Europe and Finno- Ugric nations – were Eurosceptic attitudes more prevalent that optimistic ones.