Beach, Derek, and Nielsen, Rasmus Leander. (2007) Voter choice in EU referendums – a status quo-oriented issue-voting model of voting behavior. In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)
What explains voter behavior in EU referendums? We argue that voters, although not necessarily having full information, are rational and have the ability to make a competent decision on a treaty. Theoretically, we revisit the issue-voting versus second-order election debate by elaborating on the issue-voting conjecture, providing a more comprehensive and coherent analytical model. We develop a status quo-oriented, utility model of voting behavior in EU referenda. After we provide evidence that the assumption of voter competence is plausible, we undertake a comparative case study of five EU referendums utilizing our model. Our findings show that the basic idea of investigating voter perceptions of the benefits of the treaty and costs of no is sound, although further data is needed to be collected in future EU referendums in order to develop better measures of our independent variables so that the model can be tested in a more stringent manner.
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