Thursday, May 28, 2009

Handicapping the Upcoming E.U. Parliament Elections

. Thursday, May 28, 2009

Via A Fistful of Euros, here is a handy primer from FiveThirtyEight. Forecasting is much more difficult in this case than in the last U.S. election:

As a result, quantitative evaluation and projection of the outcome of the elections is quite a challenge. Rather than only developing a projection model, such as FiveThirtyEight was able to do with the 2008 election cycle in the US, inter-party and intra-party dynamics in 27 countries must be analyzed. With around 250 parties running for seats in the EP, and 8 coalition parties vying for power in the Parliament, complications are many.

But maybe more interesting is the detachment many Europeans feel towards the process:

Another dynamic that shapes the EP elections is the dramatic lack of interest from most Europeans in the election. One British friend of mine, when I asked if he would be voting in the elections, insisted the UK did not have any MEPs, as they had not changed to the Euro from the British Pound. Recent Eurobarometer polling indicates that only 29% of EU citizens could identify the correct year for the next wave of EP elections, ranging from just 14% in the UK to 56% in Luxembourg. Even though more than 70% of respondents felt that “the EU is indispensible in meeting global challenges” and “what brings citizens together is more important than what separates,” just 34% of citizens planned to vote in this round of EP elections.

Similar melancholy over the elections were expressed by two E.U. citizens in my living room yesterday while watching the Champion's League final. But for those who are interested, FiveThirtyEight promises much more coverage over the next month as the election comes and goes. (Voting occurs at different times in different countries, but most E.U. citizens (some 80%) will vote from June 4-7.) FiveThirtyEight was indispensable during the American election season, so if they are able to do half as well for the European elections they will prove to be a valuable resource.


Benjamin Thomas Sutpen said...

I guess the irony of this situation is that detached Europeans still vote in significantly higher numbers than Americans in (off-year) congressional elections.

Kindred Winecoff said...

it's going to be difficult for 34% to vote when only 29% even know when the election is.

in 2006, voter turnout in the US mid-terms was over 40%, which was slightly higher than usual but not much. the US usually gets about 38-42% turnout for mid-terms. considering that incumbents win well over 90% of the time in congressional elections, i think that's pretty high.

Handicapping the Upcoming E.U. Parliament Elections




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