More interest in interest: Does poll coverage help or hurt efforts to make more young voters show up at the ballot box?

Sjoerd B. Stolwijk, Andreas R.T. Schuck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Turnout in second-order elections, like those for the European Parliament, is notoriously low, especially among younger voters. This study compares five pathways in which exposure to poll coverage can affect turnout: bandwagon voting, strategic turnout, increased information efficacy, campaign cynicism and perceived electoral importance. The mediation analyses are combined with Covariate Balancing Propensity Score matching to better account for selection effects. Analyses of a four-wave panel survey of young voters (N = 747) in the 2014 European Parliament Election show that exposure to polls in election coverage predominantly stimulates interest and turnout among young voters. This is in line with the perspective that poll coverage increases perceived electoral importance. Poll coverage can thus play a beneficial role in activating the potential among young voters to engage with (second-order) elections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-360
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Union Politics
Volume20
Issue number3
Early online date3 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Matching
  • media effects
  • political interest
  • public opinion polls
  • turnout

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