Desk research post-EE2014
A few months after the 2014 European elections, the time has come to examine in depth the reasons for abstention and participation.
In this light, the DG Communication of the European Parliament has commissioned a desk research to analyse the electoral behaviour of voters and abstainees. This was based on the 2014 post-election survey of 27,331 Europeans over the age of 18 (16 in Austria). The survey by TNS Opinion was carried out a few days after the vote, between 30 May and 27 June 2014.
The aim of this research work is to identify the profiles of abstainees and voters, and to understand the reasons underlying their decision to vote or abstain, and to analyse their attitudes and opinions regarding the EU.
In addition, it includes 2 national factsheets for each Member State, dedicated to voters and abstainees. For Belgium, Luxembourg (compulsory vote for both countries) and Malta (high level of turnout) the factsheet on the abstainees is not available due to the low number of abstainees.
The reader will find below some key findings at the EU level on the moment of the decision to vote or to abstain and about the reasons for voting or for abstention.
A. VOTERS (42.61%)
Moment of the decision to vote:
- ALWAYS VOTED THE SAME WAY: 45% (-5 compared to 2009) of the voters have” always voted the same way”.
- DECIDED LONG BEFORE: 37% (+3) have decided to vote for the political party of candidate they voted for “a few months ago” or “a few weeks ago”
- DECIDED AT THE LAST MOMENT: 17% (+2) have decided to vote for the political party of candidate they voted for “a few days before the elections” or “on the day of the election”
- 1% (=) Do not know
Reasons for voting:
- 64% of the voters went to the poll for civic reasons. These are mostly mentioned by those who “always vote the same way”
- 47% decided to vote for reasons linked to the European Union. Those who decided long before, the youngest voters and the managers are most likely to cite these reasons.
- 38% invoke national reasons, in particular among those who have always voted the same way, the self-employed and the unemployed persons.
B. ABSTEINEES (57,39%)
Moment of the decision to abstain:
- NEVER VOTED: 24% (+2) of the abstainees have never voted
- DECIDED LONG BEFORE: 31% (-2) have decided to abstain “a few months ago” or “a few weeks ago”
- DECIDED AT THE LAST MOMENT: 34% (+2) have decided to abstain “a few days before the elections” or “on the day of the election”
- 11% (-2) Do not know
Reasons for abstention:
- 50% of the abstainees did not vote in the European Elections for reasons of political nature in the broad sense. This is especially the case among those who “never vote”, among the 25-39 years old respondents and among the unemployed persons.
- 37% recalled personal or technical reasons. The abstainees who decided not to vote at the last moment, the 18-24 years old and both the managers and the students are the most numerous in giving these reasons.
- 25% cited reasons directly linked to the European Union. These reasons are more mentioned by those who decided to abstain long time before, by the oldest group and the retired ones.
- Only 4% invoke a lack of information.