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Europe in QuestionReferendums on European Integration$
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Sara Binzer Hobolt

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199549948

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199549948.001.0001

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A Theory of Referendum Behaviour

A Theory of Referendum Behaviour

Chapter:
(p.23) 2 A Theory of Referendum Behaviour
Source:
Europe in Question
Author(s):

Sara Binzer Hobolt (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199549948.003.0002

This chapter lays out a theoretical framework for understanding referendum behaviour. The core component of the theory is a model of voting behaviour, which outlines how attitudes shape vote choices, influenced by the information that voters receive from political parties and other elites. The framework highlights first that differences in political interest among individuals also lead to diverse patterns of voting behaviour and second, that the campaign context shapes electoral outcomes. Politically aware voters base their vote choice on more sophisticated decision criteria and intense campaigns lead to more issue voting. These two aspects of referendum behaviour ‐ individual‐level differences and campaign effects ‐ are examined in a comparative analysis of EU referendums in the subsequent chapters.

Keywords:   campaign, Downs, information, issue voting, political awareness, proximity model, uncertainty, reversion point, spatial models, voting behaviour

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