Polarization of public opinion regarding the EU in conditions of polarized national elite
MetadataShow full item record
Theoretically, elite polarization should lead to public polarization but it does not always happen. This Master’s thesis examines what factors lead to mass polarization when parties are polarized. 12 cases with high elite polarization and varying mass polarization in the EU member states were selected from the sample of 56 cases based on the national elections taking place since 2008 and until 2017. Using Qualitative Comparative Analysis it was found that public opinion becomes polarized in the conditions of elite polarization if there is a crisis at the EU level, Eurosceptics reached 10% of electoral support and either Eurosceptic parties are present on both left and right sides of ideological scale and salience of European integration in the party’s public stance is high, or media salience of the EU is high and people often discuss the EU political matters. The second part of the analysis was process tracing and it unfolded the mass polarization process in Greece from 2009 until 2015. It showed that a greater number of ideologically diverse parties that could effectively use the opportunity structure fostered mass polarization, while the EU crises, in turn, strengthened the opportunity structure.
The following license files are associated with this item: