This post-election field survey was carried out by TNS Opinion in the wake of the European elections in May 2014. Its aim is to improve understanding of the reasons why EU voters took part in or abstained from voting.
The results of this survey show that divisions are becoming more marked. Indeed, the gap between male turnout (45%) and female turnout (41%) is getting wider. As in 2009, it was managers and the self-employed who were the most mobilised. However, increased mobilisation was noted among students and the unemployed. The greatest abstainers in the European elections, meanwhile, were young people (18-24 year-olds), despite the fact that it is they who generally express the most positive feelings about the EU. As in 2009, the main reasons given by citizens who went to the polls were: to do their duty as a citizen; because they always voted; or to support a political party to which they felt close. These 'traditional' reasons were immediately followed by specifically European reasons: to show their support for the EU; because they felt like European citizens; or because they felt they could make things change by voting in the European elections. Regarding the reasons given by non-voters, as in 2009 they related to a lack of trust and interest in politics in general, or to the feeling that their vote had no consequences. For those who went to the polls in the European elections, unemployment was the main issue which made people vote. This was followed by economic growth and immigration. When questioned about their attitudes to the EU, an absolute majority of respondents considered EU membership to be 'a good thing' and said they felt they were 'citizens of the EU', even though this feeling had been substantially reduced in the countries most severely affected by the crisis. A broad majority of both voters and non-voters felt attached to the EU, however. Lastly, an absolute majority of respondents thought they had 'all the necessary information' in order to choose who to vote for in the elections. As in 2009, more than six Europeans out of ten remembered seeing ‘a campaign encouraging people to vote’.
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