Finding the political marketing identity of a

national election. As a result, there is a deviation between voters and political actors since the former does not see the meaning and/or effect of th...

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Finding the political marketing identity of a heterogeneous market. The case of the European Parliament election

Tommy Alexander Lund MSoc. Sc. Service Management Copenhagen Business School January 23 2015 Academic Supervisor: Alexander Josiassen CTU: 163724 (72 pages)

The author would like to thank the following: Special thanks to my supervisor Alexander Josiassen. Mads Jensen at Copenhagen University for tips about the political segment for this thesis. Everyone who, from all corners of Europe, took the time to talk to me. You are the best! The political youth in Denmark. This country has a bright future with people like you in charge. Alma, Diana and Mariella from AEGEE. My biggest regret is that I did not join your organisation when I was still young. Simon, just thanks! My family for their general support and endless patience. Finally, thanks to all my friends in Copenhagen. Without them I would have graduated a year earlier.

Tarald and Tore, you would have loved this.


Abstract In May 2014, over 120 million voters went and elected a new parliament for the European Union (EU). The turnout was 42.54%, and therefore provided a huge potential in marketing the election for new segments of voters in the EU. In terms of political marketing, this is a unique opportunity in which to test new ideas and strategies in a common market that is so divided, yet so connected at the same time. Thus, the objective of this research was to determine if this political market shared a common identity with general elections that could be used to promote the democratic values of an election, and therefore also ensure that more people find their way to the voting booths. To do so, the research approach chosen was deductive/pragmatic, with an independent in-depth interview sample to provide for the arguments and test the chosen proposition. To create an academic framework which measures the different countries’ potential and standing when it comes to the potential for political marketing, it was necessary to create a new model, (IDSCT), built on the specifications suitable for this thesis. The idea of the IDSCT model was based on the theoretical framework of the PEST model, which provided the framework to fairly place the different countries into similar categories before starting with the analysis. The research question itself and the proposition upon which it is built is based on three academic categories which define a political identity. These are political marketing, voter behaviour and voter turnout. The last two categories were also influenced by the result of the IDSCT model. To compare more easily the results, the nations were divided into three segments that were compared to each other by the results of the in-depth interviews. The results showed that a gap emerges between how the political parties and the voters approach the European elections. Furthermore there seems to be no initiative from the national political parties to actually adopt their traditions and culture towards the issues that are under the control of the European Parliament (EP). The political marketing identity in Europe seems to be based on the culture of the national election. As a result, there is a deviation between voters and political actors since the former does not see the meaning and/or effect of the European Parliamentary election. This again leads towards a downward spiral with fewer and fewer voters participating that further encourages the political parties to focus on national elections. To a small degree the decision to vote is not based around issues surrounding the EP, but rather on cultural partisanship or protesting at establishment as a whole.


Table of contests 1.0 Introduction ......................................................................................................................................................6 1.1 Problem statement ..........................................................................................................................................7 1.2 Background information and reason for choosing..........................................................................................8 1.3 Academic relevance........................................................................................................................................9 1.4 Political parties represented in the European Parliament .............................................................................10 1.4 Countries in the EU. .....................................................................................................................................12 1.5 Structure of the thesis: ..................................................................................................................................12 Model of the thesis structure ..........................................................................................................................13 2.0 Methodology....................................................................................................................................................14 2.1 Research philosophy .....................................................................................................................................14 2.1.1 Pragmatism............................................................................................................................................15 2.2 Research approach ........................................................................................................................................17 3.0 Literature review ............................................................................................................................................18 3.1 Definition of political marketing ..................................................................................................................19 3.1.1 The paradox of the political market.......................................................................................................24 3.1.2 The influence of corruption ...................................................................................................................25 3.1.3: Theoretical conclusions in political marketing ....................................................................................25 3.2 Voter turnout. ...............................................................................................................................................26 3.3 Voter behaviour ............................................................................................................................................29 3.3.1 Predictive Model of Voter Behaviour ....................................................................................................29 3.3.2 The Michigan model ..............................................................................................................................32 3.3.3 The economic (rational-choice) model ..................................................................................................33 3.3.4 Theoretical conclusion voter behaviour ................................................................................................35 4.0 Proposition development................................................................................................................................35 4.1 Thesis model .................................................................................................................................................37 4.2 Delimitation ..................................................................................................................................................37 5.0 IDSCT ..............................................................................................................................................................38 5.1 The categorisation of the IDSCT model .......................................................................................................38 Institutional.....................................................................................................................................................39 Demographic ..................................................................................................................................................41 Socioeconomic ................................................................................................................................................43 3

Cultural...........................................................................................................................................................45 Technological .................................................................................................................................................47 5.2 Summary and categorisation ........................................................................................................................49 5.3 Comparison to the 2014 election ..................................................................................................................52 6.0 Qualitative interview ......................................................................................................................................53 6.1 Ethical standards ...........................................................................................................................................54 6.2 Participants ...................................................................................................................................................55 7.0 Analysis............................................................................................................................................................58 7.1 The case of Malta .........................................................................................................................................58 7.1.2 Summary: Malta ....................................................................................................................................61 7.2 Slovakia and Latvia ......................................................................................................................................61 7.2.2 Summary: Slovakia and Latvia ..............................................................................................................65 7.3 The middle-tier, with a focus on Denmark ...................................................................................................65 7.3.1 Summary: Denmark, Sweden and Germany (Middle tier) ....................................................................69 8.0 Main analysis ..................................................................................................................................................69 9.0 Discussion ........................................................................................................................................................72 10.0 Conclusion .....................................................................................................................................................76 11.0 Further research ..........................................................................................................................................77 12.0 Bibliography..................................................................................................................................................79 13.0 Appendices ....................................................................................................................................................86 Youth voter turnout (%) .....................................................................................................................................86 Numbers for the regression analyse figure 16: ...................................................................................................87 Numbers for the regression analyse, figure 19: ..................................................................................................88 Interview Guide: .................................................................................................................................................88 14.0 Interview transcripts ....................................................................................................................................90 Slovakia ..............................................................................................................................................................95 Denmark 1 ..........................................................................................................................................................99 Denmark 2 ........................................................................................................................................................103 Denmark 3 ........................................................................................................................................................107 Denmark 4 ........................................................................................................................................................111 Denmark 5 ........................................................................................................................................................115 Sweden .............................................................................................................................................................121


Germany ...........................................................................................................................................................125

Latvia 1 ............................................................................................................................................................128 Latvia 2: ............................................................................................................................................................132


1.0 Introduction The field of political marketing has been around as long there have been elections, and is an area of growing importance throughout Europe. It is now used extensively within the political arena, and affects how the workings of the whole democratic system (Wymer, W.W & Lees-Marshment, 2005; O’Shaughnessy, 1990). The field of political marketing is described by Sokolov and Harris (2005) as a complex process where it is not just about political advertising, but the whole plan in how a political party puts themselves amongst the voters. Wring (1997) also says that the objective of political marketing is to get an overview of different opinions within a huge population, and to use them to promote solutions that will satisfy a fair amount of this group. In exchange, the voters offer the confidence in their leaders to rule. In some cases, effective research on the population groups will more easily reveal the reasons why we vote for who we vote for, and will make it easier to reach out to segmented voter groups and motivate them to vote. The value of political marketing is increasing. In 2012, the expenditure on the US general election amounted to $5.8 billion1, the most expensive in history. These tendencies have also arisen in Europe, where the major political parties in the United Kingdom alone reached almost £30 million23 for the 2010 parliamentary elections. In strong contrast to the monetary value that this segment holds, there has not been an academic consensus when defining political marketing and the current literature and models are, to some extent, shaped to accommodate the identity of the European election. There is financial potential and also room for democratic improvement in the election. For each election cycle, the turn-out declines even though the European parliament has increased their juridical powers. This is something that should be investigated when it to comes to the European parliamentary elections. Does the end-result for a political party depend on their efforts in political marketing alone, or are there other factors to take into consideration? Each election has a downfall in turnouts, and is prioritised less and less by the political system in the member countries. The aspect of voter behaviour also has an effect upon the end result. It is believed that a more efficient use of political marketing, combined with


Estimated from at 31.october 2012. Available at : 2 3 The UK electoral commission have put a cap of £30m, limiting what each of the political parties can spend in the election.


the mentioned aspects, could have some positive qualities when it comes to investigating the reason for the decline in pan-European political interest. The main purpose of the thesis is, therefore, to better understand the factors that influence political voting behaviour of voters, when deciding to participate in the democratic elections of the European parliament. Furthermore, this thesis will investigate whether this has any correlation to the way in which the political actors in Europe market themselves. With this foundation, we can assess whether there is a defined political marketing identity in Europe. This is, for me, an interesting topic that brings up important questions when it comes to democratic principles on the European continent. It also takes up a subject matter that could be of interest outside the scientific field of political marketing. It can be said that it is a social problem when so few people want to take part in the democratic solution which has been a cultural symbol for the European continent the last decade. This has relevance in the economic and social climate that has influenced the continent in recent years.

1.1 Problem statement The election of the EP is one of the biggest democratic events in the world. Over 375 million people in 28 different countries are eligible to vote for the 759 seats in the European parliament. It will be impossible to define and go into detail on all the factors that decide this pan-European electoral turnout. This thesis will focus primarily on the political marketing aspects of the process to answer the following questions: •

Why do fewer people vote in EP elections than in their own national elections?

Are political parties marketing themselves differently in European elections to national elections?

Are there significant differences between the different countries within the EU in terms of

political interest and enthusiasm? •

Does the lower voter turnout influence the perspective of the voters?

Does the current literature on the theoretical categories of political marketing, voter-behaviour

and voter-turnout apply when it comes to the European election?


100 80 60 40 20





























Figure 1: Difference in voter turnout between national (orange) and European elections (blue).4

As model 1 shows us, there is a difference between national election and the EP election in terms of both voter turnout and voter behaviour.

1.2 Background information and reason for choosing The voting area chosen for this thesis is the EU. The EU is an economic and political union consisting of 28 countries. Within its borders, it shares many different cultural identities with different political and voting cultures, which can therefore be said to reflect differently on the aspect of political marketing. It has also, since the inclusions of the Eastern bloc in 2004, become a segmented market in which the difference in voting behaviour and voting turnout could be shown in a stronger contrast than in a single country. The EU started as a co-operation between six Western European countries in sharing and governing the trade of coal and steel. It has since progressed into a trade union with its own constitution and parliament, in which, every five years, the member states elect their own representatives The first election of the EP was in 1979, among the then nine members of the European Community, through adult universal suffrage. The cycle of the elections is each fifth year, with the next one due in

4 Latest result as of 1.April 2014.


2014. According to the Treaty of Lisbon there are 750 seats5 that make up the representation of the EP. Member states are free to choose their own form of elections so long as they follow three restrictions6: 

The system must be based on the proportional representation system, either through the party list or the single transferable vote system.

The electoral area may be divided internally if this will not generally affect the proportional nature of the voting system.

Election threshold at the national level must not exceed five percent.

The allocation of seats is based on the principle of digressive proportionality. Even though populational proportion is a heavy influencing factor upon the amount of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) a country gets, the smaller states get more seats per head of their populations than the bigger nations get. The number of seats of the parliament has increased since the first election, and although there is no precise formula to calculate the amount of seats allocated to each nation, every change has to be unanimously agreed upon7. Since the beginning of the election cycle, the turnout of the elections has had a steady decline with an all-time low in the 2009 election. Even though the decline varies among the member state of the Union, there is clearly a negative trend among the voters not to participate in the elections8. To find the reason for this is one of the underlying secondary motivations for this thesis.

1.3 Academic relevance The main relevance and purpose of this thesis is to promote awareness of political marketing as a segment of marketing in general, and to try to create an understanding of the beneficial use political marketing can provide. The use of political marketing as an overall strategy to increase voter turnout in a market is still a relatively uncharted academic area. To reach this objective, the author presents a measurable platform that can present all the different voting segments on equal terms, in order to provide a foundation for further research on the parameters that can influence voter turnout.


The speaker is not counted officially, thus leaving 750 MEPs. 7 8 Model 1 appendix 6


Furthermore, the thesis provides a perspective about the challenges that define political marketing when it comes to aspects such as incentives to encourage people to vote. As a secondary focus, this thesis aims to give the reader a clear and structured impression of the difference between political marketing and business marketing. Lastly, the model and the structure can provide a significant contribution to the field of political science and marketing research. In particular, the analytical framework can contribute to developing a method that can measure the different aspects that need to be taken into consideration when conducting political marketing for an election.

1.4 Political parties represented in the European Parliament This thesis will go into several aspects of voter behaviour and tradition amongst the electorate. This thesis will not focus on the political representation amongst the electorate as a factor for the question that is asked. However, it is the author’s opinion that to provide a better understanding for the problem statement and the reason for the proposition questions, it is important to know the continental actors that represent the electorate decision. Even though political traditions in pan-European election are not deeply-rooted, there is a need to understand the factors that fight for influence in Strasbourg, home of the EP. It is the national political parties that ultimately put forward candidates and execute the campaigns in their respective countries, but most are organised under a collective European party that represents the overall ideology of the national party. European People's Party. (EPP) EPP is a centre-right political group founded in 1953, and compromises of members that belong to Christian-democratic and conservative parties around Europe. It has, since 1999, been the biggest party in the EP, and holds 275 seats in Strasbourg. Notable national parties that belong to EPP are the German Christlich Demokratische Union, (CDU) Union Pour Un Mouvement Populaire from France and Konservative Folkeparti from Denmark. Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) It was for a long time the biggest party in the Parliament. It gathers mostly the social democratic parties of Europe under its umbrella, and has for 195 seats as of the 7th EP. National social-democratic parties


often go under the umbrella of S&D. Among them is the British Labour Party and all of the Nordic social democratic political parties. Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group (ALDE/ADLE) The roots of ALDE can be traced back to the European Coal and Steel Community’s first meeting in 1952, but was officially founded under the name Group of Liberal and Allies in June the next year. Throughout their history, they have integrated other smaller liberal coalitions in the parliament until their current profile was established in 2004. The group have a neoliberal identity, and support European integration and the common single market of the continent. In the 7th EP they secured 85 members. The Greens/European Free Alliance (EGP/EFA) Representing the environmental and regional interests, it consists of two parties that cooperated under the same banner in the election. The co-operation was established in 1999, and to date (2013) they have 58 seats in the 7th parliament. European Green Party (EGP, or “The Greens”) EGP was founded in Rome in 2004 as the first political party on a pan-European level. EGP started out as only a loose federation of national green interest groups, which were up for election on the same ticket. Of the 58 MEPs that belong to the alliance, 48 have allegiance to EGP. European Free Alliance (EFA) Established in March 2004, EFA are battling for limited statehood, and have a leftist political stance by European standards. They have 7 representative members in the 7th EP. In addition to the 55 members that belong to either The Greens of EFA, there are 3 independent members that have joined the alliance. European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) ECR is a centre right party with a Eurosceptic profile founded in June 2009. It currently has 56 MEPs in the EP. 11

European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) GUE/NGL is a leftist political group established in January 1995. Composed mainly of members that supports socialist and communists view, in the 7th EP they have 35 members. Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) Established in July 2009, and made up mainly of elements of former defunct political parties that did not pass the threshold of the 2009 election, their identity is right-wing oriented, and has a clear Eurosceptic identity. They have 35 MEPs as of 2013. Notable national member parties include Dansk folkeparti (Denmark), Mouvement pour la France (France) and the finnish Perussuomalaiset/True Finns. Historically, the EP composition has been described by Hix et. al. (2008) as a “two-party-plus” system, in which the social democrats and the EPP have had approx. 30-35% of the votes. This has, however, changed since the last election, where third party actors have started influencing the political progress within parliament. In the 2014 election, the EPP was given the seat of the President of the European Commission after ALDE supported them for a majority in the Parliament.

1.4 Countries in the EU. This thesis will analyse the 28 EU countries separately, allocating each the following abbreviation: Austria (AUT), Belgium (BEL), Bulgaria (BGR), Cyprus (CYP), Croatia (CRO), Czech Republic (CZE), Denmark (DNK), Estonia (EST), Finland (FIN), France (FRA), Germany (GER), Greece (GRC), Hungary (HUN), Ireland (IRL), Italy (ITA), Latvia (LVA), Lithuania (LTU), Luxembourg (LUX), Malta (MLT), Netherlands (NLD), Poland (POL), Portugal (PRT), Romania (ROM), Slovakia (SVK), Slovenia (SVN), Spain (ESP), Sweden (SWE) and the United Kingdom (UK).

1.5 Structure of the thesis: One of the aims of this thesis is to explore the connection between the theoretical framework and actual analytical data. The first chapter is a short introduction to explain the reason for the research questions. This introduction will contain background information necessary in understanding the whole aspect of the thesis. The second chapter goes into depth with the methodology used in this thesis. Chapter 3 features the relevant literature to build upon the analytical part of this thesis, and is split up into three


separate sections. The first is focused on the theoretical framework. It is specifically focused on the aspects that offer an in-depth explanation of the difference between political and commercial marketing. The other two sections are focused on voter behaviour and voter turnout. The fourth chapter will go into depth when it comes to the actual proposition development. Chapter 5 presents the IDSCT analysis in order to lay the groundwork to segment the different political cultures of the European market. Chapter 6 analyses the results of the IDSCT model, while Chapter 7 summarises and draws conclusions. Model of the thesis structure Introduction Methodology Literature review Voter turnout

Political marketing

Voter behaviour

Theoretical conclusion Proposal development IDSCT Analysis Conclusion

Figure 2: The visual representation of this thesis. The arrows represent the flow and progress of this thesis. The proposition development section is built upon the represented literature review, but it also progresses to an analysis of the IDSCT model and a general analysis of the proposition. The analysis is built upon the results generated by the IDSCT model, and tries to promote the differences and connections the countries have to one another.


2.0 Methodology Methodology is defined as the philosophical stance of worldview that underlines and informs a style of research in academia (Sapsford, 2006, p.175). In this chapter, the research methodology will be presented and explained. It is important to understand the logic and reasons upon which the methodical choices have been made. The choices made for methodology influence the nature and reliability of the results and conclusion presented. The assumptions made give guidance for conducting the research The research design was made by relying on the Saunders. M, Lewis, P and Thornhill (2012) “onion” framework as the main source for design. The reason for this is that the onion framework easily explains and defines the structure and process through different layers, while never losing focus on the thesis as whole. It is also recognised academically as one of the better frameworks there is to build upon, especially when it comes the questions raised in this thesis.

Figure 3: Adapted model “Onion framework” of Saunders, Lewis & Thornill. (2012) In this chapter, the introduction and reason for the philosophy chosen for the thesis will be explained. Furthermore it will also go into detail about the approaches that are being used in this paper.

2.1 Research philosophy Both Johnson and Clark (2006) and Saunders, Lewis and Thornill (2012) agree that the researcher should provide their philosophical views when presenting their academia. The reason for this that the 14

persons involved should be able to read the results depending on the philosophical choices made when doing the research. The definition of research philosophy is based on the ontology, epistemology and axiology view (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2012). This thesis will have a pragmatic philosophy at its foundation. This section intends to give the reader both a fundamental understanding of the concept of pragmatism as a whole, and its relation to the research questions.

For this thesis, it is important for the author to acknowledge the positive and negative aspects of the chosen research in this thesis, and give a balanced reasoning for the decisions made. Blaike (1993) defined ontology as the “science of the study being,” for claims about what exists, what it looks like, of what units it comprises, and how these units interact with each other. In short, it takes into consideration our already defined view on aspects that might change the concept of reality in a person. In a framework that includes the different countries of the Union and a large differentiation when it comes to culture, customs and history, it is important to also see the importance of ontology when doing the research. The ontological assumptions that define our views need to be defined, identified and considered. If not, the researcher might be blinded when defining aspects of a question or a problem. This again might stop the discussion or debate in the process and corrupt the final result (Flowers 2009). This gives us a path to the definition and reasons for bringing up epistemology in this thesis. Blaike (1993) described epistemology as “the theory or science of the method or grounds of knowledge”, while Saunders (2012) categorised it as “the researcher view on what`s constitutes acceptable knowledge.”. Hatch and Cunliffe (2006) summarised it as the reason why you know the things you know. In this thesis, epistemology is based on the goal of creating knowledge. It is important for the author that the origins of the knowledge that is presented here clearly states its relevance for the research. Axiology will not be a factor for this thesis, and will therefore not be discussed in depth. 2.1.1 Pragmatism

This thesis is written with the influence of pragmatism. The term pragmatism is defined by Talisse and Aikin (2008) as the scientific method to getting things done in practical affairs. It is not based on any principles or theory, but rather the idea of getting the practical things done. In short, Talisse and Aikin (2008) argued that pragmatism is the opposite of philosophy, even though it was defined as an example of such in the previous category. Tashakoori and Teddlie (1998) followed these lines and argued that 15

pragmatism is appealing because of its avoidance of debates about the concepts of truth and reality. This view is also shared in this thesis where the scientific methods are created for the purpose of getting results. Saunders (2008) give a definition which asserts that pragmatism relies on the focus at hand and that no matter what method you use, it is acceptable as long as it helps with the research question. It is also acceptable to combine different methods as long as they follow a structured goal. The philosophies of pragmatism have a strong connection with the idea of democracy (Shook and Ghiradelli; 2007). It is therefore also useful for this thesis. Talisse and Adkin (2008) argued that both the general idea of democracy and the philosophy of pragmatism shared a strong social identity. They identified the political connection with pragmatism in four different views. Dewey (1969) argued that democracy complexity was a form of perfectionism, where there result of true democracy was not a social order based on positivism views, but rather a form of pragmatism where the best methods, regardless of philosophy, were used to achieve the goal of full democracy. Rorty (1998) had a different outset in the approach between pragmatism and the tendency of democracy. Even though he agreed that the complex structure of democracy was based on the pragmatism view, he believed that it was the inspiration, not the argumentation or logic, which created the social identity of a democracy. Rorty (1988, 1998) later argued that pragmatism in democracy was based without philosophical presupposition, and that the pragmatic view was based on an idealisation of the social structure. The author does not believe that Rorty’s idealisation views constitute a valid foundation for this thesis, since the political realities must be looked upon in a more realistic and down-to-earth approach. It is believed that Rorty’s views on political pragmatism are important in order to see the whole scope of the research philosophy. The conflict between Dewey’s more realistic view and Rorty’s idealisation approach can both be categorised under aspirational pragmatic theories. This is in contrast to Posner’s (2003) idea of everyday pragmatism.9 Talisse and Adkin (2008) defined it as a pragmatic view without the desire to look at it in a bigger perspective. An anti-philosophical view is where pragmatic questions do not fall under bigger philosophical views, but are merely a matter of legislation. Posner’s version of pragmatism is based on a juridical view that focuses on simple facts and consequences, without taking the larger aspects of values and morals into consideration. The research questions posed by this thesis


Posner (2003) underlines that his views are based on an American cultural outlook, however the origins of those thoughts is based on Austrian author and economist Joseph Schumpeter’s Democratic realism (1962).


ask whether it is impossible to work according to Posner’s views. The author does not agree with the nihilistic views for concepts like democracy and voter-turnout. However, this different view of political pragmatism is important to take into consideration when aspects of the individual voter’s decision are to be evaluated.

The author agrees with the general concept that perplexity of democratic value, according to the political marketing aspect, is too big to put under a general philosophy, and therefore the use of pragmatism is the best approach to handle the research question. The author believes that an approach that switches between the views of Dewey (1994) and Rorty (1998) is the most appropriate in order to fully and effectively answer the question asked in this thesis.

2.2 Research approach “The deductive approach follows the path of logic most closely. The reasoning starts with a theory and leads to a new proposition. This proposition is put to the test by confronting it with observations that either lead to a confirmation or a rejection of the proposition” (Snieder and Larner, 2009, p.16)10 Crowther and Lancaster (2008) argue that, as a general rule, positivist studies usually adopt their research via a deductive approach. This thesis will follow the guidelines of positivism and have a deductive approach to the research. As defined by Saunders (2009, p.124) it involves the development of a theory that is then subjected to a rigorous test. In other words, a deductive approach is being used when the researcher has a proposition that need to be tested to be either accepted or rejected. This is being done with the use of the relevant methodology. Beiske (2007) explains that deductive research explores a theory and tests its validity in a specific set of circumstances. Saunders (2012) detail the process of deduction in five stages. Firstly, it is necessary to create a theoretically-based operational proposition. Furthermore, it is to be developed so it can be measured and tested on a relevant population. The specific outcome should be examined, and then, if necessary, the theory modified according to the findings. This thesis will follow this model of using deductive research strategy. The reason for this is that the current literature review is sufficient upon which to create a basis for theoretical research without the need for inductive research. The deductive method is also practical, and helpful in testing causal relationship between different variables (O`Leary, 2007). 10


This is particularly useful in the IDSCT section, and the build-up for the actual research question. Saunders (2012) also point out that research is not necessarily needed to be based on either deductive or inductive research approaches. On the contrary, it argues that it might be advantageous to combine the different approaches to create the most precise outcome. The author shares this view that these forms of research approach can be combined to form a single research. s

3.0 Literature review The differentiation between ‘traditional’ marketing and political marketing can be difficult to explain, however it is important to know the different factors between them to fully understand the relationship between politics and its marketing value. Politics can be viewed as a product (Lees-Marshment, 2009), however, this can be seen controversial since it brings into question many connotations of commodification and consumerisation (Lees-Marshment 2009, O’Shaughnessy 1991). First of all, politics, if we imagine it as a product, is intangible, and therefore not easily recognised and valued. Politics as a product is also an outcome and a process which is difficult to measure when we compare one political product with the competitor’s product (Lloyd 2003). The whole aspect of political marketing is therefore difficult to collaborate within a theoretical framework that has a consensus in academia. To understand political marketing, it is fundamental to also understand why voters behave as they do, and what the factors are that make them go to the voting booth with a given opinion. In order to help us understand this, different models and theories have been developed throughout the years. This section will first of all define the idea of political marketing according to existing research. Thereafter, it will build up on the problems that this thesis takes up with providing established theories about the voter decline of the western democracies. The last section will take different voter behaviour models into consideration, which will then be used to answer the research question that this thesis raises. This thesis is, to a large degree, influenced by existing literature, and many of the definitions used in this thesis are made on the basis of those previously defined in existing literature.


3.1 Definition of political marketing ” Political marketing is about much more than propaganda, rhetoric and advertising” Darren G. Lilleker (2005) Political marketing: the cause of an Emerging Democratic Deficit in Britain?

The full spectrum of political marketing is difficult to define within the scope and limitations of this thesis. Kotler and Levy (1969) assert that marketing could be transferred to all aspects of society, including politics. They believed that it was natural that marketing was expanding into segments outside of the classical private sector. Nielsen (2011) made a model of the historical development in political marketing, as shown in Figure 4.

Universal marketing

Political marketing as campaigncommunication

Political marketing as strategic planning

Political marketing as metatheory

Figure 4; Nielsen historical development of political marketing, 2011

Henneberg (1996) wrote that even seminal texts did not provide an easy conceptual clarification when it came to political marketing. Henneberg (1995b) further promoted that political marketing should been seen as a: 

Holistic phenomenon

Permanent phenomenon

International phenomenon

Theoretical phenomenon

Interactive problem

Ethical problem

In the case of the holistic phenomenon, Henneberg (1995) argued that it was necessary to counteract a tendency of restricting the topic as whole as a communication instrument. (Butler and Collins 1996) O’Shaughnessy (2002) agreed with this sentiment, and further emphasised the fact that political marketing is a permanent phenomenon that did not start and will not end with the latest election. Furthermore, O’Shaughnessy (2002), and Bowler and Fowler (1992) argued that political marketing


was an international phenomenon whose influence is not limited to national borders. In the case of the EP election, this seems particularly true since the election is on a continental scale. O’Shaughnessy (2002) also pointed out the importance of focusing on the ethical and interactive problems experienced within political marketing. This is due to the effect political marketing could have when successfully executed. This leads us to question the goals of political marketing. An obvious perspective it is to get elected – or re-elected. However, Lees-Marshment (2009) also pointed out that there are many additional goals that political marketing is used for. The most common one could arguably be to promote a particular ideology, cause or legislation in the national parliament. However, the promotion towards media and the public sphere is also important in the category of political marketing, to such a degree that it often has its own word and professional occupation11. Lastly, the use of political marketing is important in recruiting and getting support from new segments of the market, especially those who are able to promote the ideology over a long time period. Lees-Marshment (2009) pointed out that these goals could be specified and/or removed entirely, depending on certain variables. These include the political party’s ideology, the electoral system and the political culture in a nation as a whole. For example, a minor political party may have more strategic interest in using their political resources on promoting a particular cause, then to gain power in general in the next election. Furthermore, once the political party gets elected, the priority of the goals can be changed to accommodate the new political influence gained. Harrop (1990) first argued that political marketing is essentially a form of service marketing, whereby the objective is to market a party or a political force. The main objective was to project the belief that the specified political party was able to govern, and eliminate all perception of risk of losing power. There is a clear consensus between scholars that the use of political marketing has changed the political sphere, without a clear understanding of the essence of these changes (O´Shaughnessy, 1990). LeeMarshment (2010) argued that even though the spread of professionalisation and modernisation in political campaigns has been studied to some degree, there has never been a clear and effective analysis of political marketing behaviour. Kolovos and Harris (2005) defined political marketing as a complex process which is not only about commercial advertising, but the whole strategy on how a political party 11

Spin-doctor is a profession, and to spin is a common phrase, whereby one manipulates the media to approach different political media from a certain angle.


positions themselves amongst their electoral base. Lee-Marshment (2009) called it a “marriage” between politics and marketing, because she meant that political marketing is created by applying marketing concepts from business to politics. She however underlined that is was not done by simply imposing one over another, but by making it work together. Butler and Collins (1999) supported this view by stating (t)o make progress in political marketing, scholars must draw from the disciplines of political science and marketing. Kotler (2003) defined marketing management as the science of choosing target markets and getting, keeping and growing the customer base through developing customer values. Butler and Collins (1999) defined political marketing as the marketing of ideas and opinions which relate to public or political issues or to specific candidates. Wring (1997) argued that the term political marketing also included the mapping of different opinions in large demographic groups and using them to promote solutions that will satisfy large segments of this group. In exchange you get the voters trust to govern. This way of doing political marketing has been met with large success in different Western democracies, and several political parties have changed their political identity with great success (Lee-Marshment & Lilleker, 2001). The New Labour policy of Blair in the UK in the 1990’s, was based on a market-oriented political marketing approach (Lee-Marshment, Strömback and Rudd, 2010). Kolovos and Harris, (2005) adapted the parallel strategy model from Maarek (1995), to easily compare and separate the key areas within commercial and political marketing (fig 1.) The main difference is in identifying the political substitute for commercial goods and services. Maarek (1995) argued that the communication between the political system and the voters is the sale, while Kovolos and Harris (2005) believed it was the political “identity” or the “platform” that is being sold. The latter is supported by the definition of Butler and Collins, N. (1994) which further argued that political marketing is the marketing of the ideas and opinions which relate to political topics or to the political candidates that are up for election. The biggest differentiation, according to Kotler (1975, 2001), was that currency does not change hands in the traditional marketing sense, resulting in the absence of profit as a goal. Kotler ultimately argued that although money is also an issue in political marketing, its exchange was not as transparent as in business marketing.


Figure 5: Business and political marketing compared (Maarek 1995) As noted in the model, Kotler argues for the same structure of both marketing segments, with each focusing on different categories. Both Maarek (1995) and Newman (1994) argued that the political and business market models could not be defined in the same structure, and that any similarities between the two models must be analysed independently, rather than considered as the rule. Newman (1994) looked at political marketing in more detail, whereby both the external factors and the candidate12 were more important to the general outcome. This thesis will not address this issue, since it does not fall under the categories of the proposition question. Figure 3 shows us how Maarek (1995) compared the different segments without putting them into a structured order.

Figure 6: Commercial marketing, two parallel strategies, (adapted by Maarek)


The equivalent to a seller in political marketing (Kotler 1975, Newman 1994)


The author supports both Kotler’s (2003) and Lee-Marshment’s (2001) arguments, namely that the most important factor for successful marketing, be it political or commercial, is trust. There must be trust to strengthen the relationship between the political parties and their voters. The focus on trust is not something that has been extensively researched in academia. Schiffman (2008) pointed out that there was a lack of this issue in the broader social aspect of political science. Therefore it would be not viable to research political trust as a category in itself. Further research could have therefore been undertaken in reference to general trust in philosophical scenes, and those specifications could have been adopted into a political stance, but this was unfortunately outside the scope of this research. Schiffman based his research on Roter’s (1967,1971) “Interpersonal Trust” theory and made his criteria from them. According to Schiffman (2008) we can categorise trust into three different categories. ● Trust in the political system ● Realistic hopes of political changes ● Trust in those who govern. This is, however, a not a one-way process. The seller (politician) also requires that the voters fulfil his needs. Politicians need voters to provide longstanding commitments and deliver electoral success (Ingram & Lees-Marshment, 2002). According to O’Cass (1996) the political brand also demands loyalty, with faithful voters, and maximum electoral support. Voters, on the other hand, want information and credible, honest, intellectual leaders (Newman, 2001), better government and better policy (O’Cass, 1996). We can see the issue of reciprocal and mutual trust emerging in the demands each party places on the other. The voter demands that the politician delivers on their promises of policy change in an appropriate manner, and the politician demands that the voter deliver on their promise of longstanding support, redeemable in votes. The author follows Schiffman’s (2008) theories in this thesis, and bases the design partially on this. The author does, however, see weaknesses in this model, especially when it comes to how to measure these factors. Therefore in the conclusions, the measurable factor of corruption is used as an indicator to gauge the measurement of trust found within the European election segment. This connection is supported by Anderson and Tverdova (2003) and Seligson (2002), who argued for that there is a clear connection between the voter’s interest in politics and their trust of the political system.


3.1.1 The paradox of the political market

As written earlier, there are many differences between the political and commercial markets in terms of theoretical science. However there is one aspect upon which the author sees fit to cover in more detail, an aspect that dramatically changes the rule of political marketing. In commercial marketing, if a member of the proletariat is drawn, as a result of successful marketing, to purchasing two rival products, he is able to do so. In commercial marketing, the results are measured in a profit, and the tactics adapted to the potential value a customer might add through their long-term support. In political marketing, however, the end result is based solely on the premise that the voter uses his only vote on them. He cannot place his trust in more than one political party, and yet will likely have been subject to political marketing by several. In this way, the author deems political marketing, for many, a zero-sum game. The author holds the belief that this zero sum game of voting has drastically shaped the identity of political marketing. The paradox of this rule is that the goal of political marketing is not only for a political party to increase their own value, but also to ensure that their opponents do not. Rather than being about profits, as is commercial marketing, political marketing is about differentiation. This has made the exchange process in political marketing more complex than most commercial exchanges. (O’Shaughnessy 1990). In the context of the EP election, it raises another central paradox. Many political parties are able to increase their political influence, despite a lower turnout, as long as they manage to activate their own voters. This can be a democratic problem, since the political parties can be tempted to use their political marketing communication to promote their own policies instead of distributing knowledge about the election as whole. While increasing turnout, generally seen to be a positive sign, the latter may mobilise floating or unsure voters to instead give their support to other political parties, and is a product of this aforementioned zero-sum game. Here we can see that the ideals of the collective of the political parties may not entirely be in line with those of the theory on the most beneficial political market in which to offer – essentially a political marketing agency cost13. This is a current issue in the EP election, where the per capita turnout is considerably lower than in the general elections of most of the participating countries.


Primarily used in business to describe a situation whereby the differing wants of the owners and managers of a company have a destructive effect.


3.1.2 The influence of corruption

Corruption in politics is not the focus of this thesis. However, it will focus on the cultural category of the IDSCT model. The results and conclusions must been seen in perspective with the impact corruption has on politics on an international level, like the one European Union represents. Robert Hodess (2004) defined political corruption as an abuse of entrusted power by political leaders, to increase personal wealth and power. Global Corruption Report14 defined it as one the most serious threats to established democracies, with a particular focus on the Eastern-European countries. Failings in the political system can put the whole democratic system in jeopardy since it is proven that a lack of combating political corruption creates noticeable voter apathy (Heywood 1997). The author requests that the results provided in this thesis are to be read and understood in such a perspective. Another fact that is necessary in order to highlight an ethical view on the issues is the discussion about political marketing itself as a form of political corruption and going against the principle of democracy. Political marketing is an approach which political actors can use to gain support from voters without actually creating a political platform that appeals to the public. Steger (1999) argued that political marketing, with the use of market segmentation to get the necessary support, can fail to represent the public as whole when in power. Lees-Marshment (2005) pointed out that political marketing only promoted short-term solutions, and drew particular attention to the ideology surrounding the potential conflict between the immediate consumer’s wants and the long-term welfare of the citizens. Paleologos (1997) argues that a statistical approach to promote a political identity to the voters would likely kill of any new ideas and reforms since it will be seen as too risky for attracting voters. As a result there will never be a true reform or any long sighted plans for a country. Although these are all valid points to take into consideration, they will not, however, form a part of the overall discussion nor will they influence the conclusion in this thesis to a larger degree, as mentioned in the limitation. 3.1.3: Theoretical conclusions in political marketing

As argued in this part of the literature review, there are several aspects to take into consideration when creating a theoretical framework for political marketing. Central to this chapter was the importance of the reader understanding the definition of political marketing, but also in understanding the many different academic views of the definition. This author sides with Kotler (1975), Lee-Marshment 14

Global Corruption Report (2004) p.12


(2001) and Maarek (1995), in that thinking that the development of political marketing in the last decade has taken place at a greater rate than the academic research surrounding it. There is, however, a general consensus of this aspect in this category. Key-words like trust and corruption are defined as the pillar of understanding the concept (Kotler 1975, 2001: Schiffman 2008.) This thesis has also explained the influence of corruption, and the perplexity of the zero-sum game that voting is. It is the author’s wish that the reader also take these into consideration when reading the rest of the thesis.

3.2 Voter turnout. Your every voter, as surely as your chief magistrate, exercises a public trust. Grover Cleveland

The decline of voters participating in democratic elections has been ongoing since the 1960´s. In the last EP election, the result hit an all-time low with a turnout of 43%. Voter turnout is considered to be one of the main reasons for legitimising the power the winning party gets. A high turnout is desirable and sought after by the European Union15. If we review the turnout according to geographic area16, we can begin to hypothesise that there may be some inherent cultural correlations when it comes to getting people to the polling booths for European elections. Lees-Marshment and Lineker (2005) argued that extreme political marketing against segmented groups would demobilise those groups who were not targeted. As an example they looked at the British parliamentary election of 2001, where they provided some correlation with the overall marketing budget and the turnout. However, Lees-Marshment (2009) also pointed out that there is reasonable ground on which to believe that there are many other social factors accounting for a low voter turnout, many of which unrelated to political marketing. This was an overall statement and not based on the European election, where there are reasons to believe that voter turnout is, to some degree, based on the political marketing effort of the participants.

There are, of course, factors that majorly influence voter turnout in segmented areas. The most prominent of them is the existence of mandatory voting within some countries in the European Union. Belgium has compulsory voting, which has given the Belgians a participation of over 90%. These kind of legislative actions most definitely give a higher turnout, but the question is if it ever actually 15 16

Remember reference her about the EU worrying about the election Model 2


constituted a validated reason to legitimise the election. Highton and Wolfinger (1999) argued that compulsory voting actually delegitimised the mandate an election gives. They argue that an election demands a social participation from the voter, and it will be bad for society if the votes from both an interested voter and an uninterested one would count equally, and in the long run create apathy of the process. This idea is shared in the model of Riker and Ordeshook (1968), who point out that the effects of influencing the result upon social concerns is one of the influential factors of voting behaviour. This thesis will not, in general, use these points of discussion in the overall analysis. It should instead be taken into account when looking for the individual result and comprehending a conclusion.

There are other factors that might also influence voter turnout, and to a lesser degree voter behaviour. This paper will forward the IDSCT model, which details the Institutional, Demographic, Socioeconomic, Cultural and Technological factors influencing voter turnout, in order to more easily measure and identify the underlying reasons for a specific voting turnout. 

The institutional aspects have, to some degree, already been covered in this text. With institutional aspects, the focus is on social turnout arising from a given set of institutional rules. The institutional rules in play in Belgium and Greece have already proven to have an effect on turnout17.

Demographic factors look at the influence the total population poll, age, and ethnicity, gender and so on have on the voting turnout. In this thesis the focus will not be on biological aspects such as gender, race and ethnicity. This is because the consensus among political scientists is that these factors have little effect on European elections, once other factors like income and education are taken into account18.

The socio-economic factor is based on the relevant economic aspect of the different member countries of the European Union in this thesis. Fowler (2006) argued that the most important socio-economic factor upon voter turnout was education. This segment will take into account


Belgium’s election has seen a steady turnout of >85% since its inception. ^ Jump up to: a b Sigelman, L., Roeder, P. W., Jewell, M. E., & Baer, M. A. (1985). Voting and nonvoting: A multi-election perspective. American Journal of Political Science, 29(4), 749–765. 18


the tertiary education percentage in the EU member countries. A number of studies have tried to establish a strong connection between education and democratic structure, under which the category of voting turnout naturally falls. Wolfinger, Rosenstone, and McIntosh (1981) demonstrated that a person with a college degree was 38% more likely to cast a vote in a national US election then a tertiary uneducated person. Milligan, Moretti, and Oreopoulos (2004) supported this in a European context. They found out that the level of education held by a voter correlates to political and social interest in both the US and in European member countries. 

Cultural factors are a broad topic, but will be defined here as factors innate in one’s culture that dictate whether or not that person chooses to vote. In the EU, the different cultural identity of the 28 different countries is noticeable. The individual national cultural habits of a voter might not yet be established in post-Soviet democracies. Other differing aspects might be the level of trust in the authorities, the apathy of believing in voting, and the strength in the cultural identity of belonging to a political party. In this case, we took the focus of the aspect of corruption. The reason for this is that there is already a strong framework for measuring and comparing corruption in the union, and it is more or less established that corruption is detrimental to voter turnout. Kotler and Keller (2006) described culture as the fundamental determination of a person’s want and behaviour. In this case, the behaviour aspects are important in order to achieve an understanding of the reasons to attend and participate in an election.

With technological factors, the access to information and the easiness of voting have an influence on turnout. Some countries have already established voting through the internet, while others are using technological aspects to aggressively promote the election and different political parties.

A more detailed definition on the IDSCT model and how it is theoretically built up is available in the analysis segment of this thesis.


3.3 Voter behaviour It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs. Albert Einstein

In order to understand the significance of political marketing in this thesis, it is important to understand the nature and cultural identity of the voters. To clarify, the difference between this chapter and 2.1 is that this one delves more deeply into the behaviours of the voter and looks for the individual reason as to why the voters choose who they do, while 2.1 is more based on the societal reasons for this. A central issue which needs to be addressed is of whether voters and customers can be seen as the same category in both business and political marketing. Newman (1999) argues that both of them are individual actors making their decision based on receiving information, evaluating and then making a rational choice on this basis. In that aspect, voters are unique, rational individuals who are difficult to segment the more you research in a micro level. The author agrees with this view of the political voters, and can therefore compare them according to the theoretical framework originally adopted for customers. Brennan and Lomasky (1993) said that voting is the action undertaken for its own sake rather than to bring about particular consequences. The theory that a voter makes his decision based on personal gain rather than social gain is not new. Several models have expanded upon these thoughts. Some literature suggests that even though there are different models based on different academic disciplines, there are many similarities between them when it comes to voting behaviour (O’Shaughnessy 1990). The case for using different model for the fundament of the thesis questions is defended by Bartle (2005), who argues that the voter´s behaviour is more complex than the existing models suggest. Bartle (2005, p 653) generalises it in the following way: “Most models assume that voting behaviour can be summarized by a single additive equation. There are good reasons, however, for believing that some voters place more weight on some considerations than others or use different decision rules. In both cases, a single additive equation will produce misleading accounts of the causal processes.” On the grounds of the argumentation here, it is believed that several different models are needed for the basis of the research. 3.3.1 Predictive Model of Voter Behaviour

In 1981, Bruce Newman developed a model (Fig. 7) to test voter behaviour in the United States - the model itself based upon the work that Sheth (1975) had formerly completed in the field of individual


choice behaviour. The fundamental axiom of these models was based on the presupposition that there are seven different domains driving the voter’s behaviour. These are: Issues and Policies is the ideological representation and the affinity the voters had to the political candidates. Newman (1981) argued that that there are salient issues and policies among the four dimensions of economic, social, foreign policy and leadership. In accordance with the rational voter model of Homo economicus, this focus on the aspect that the preferred candidate worked with the personal interest of the voter. Social Imagery represents the stereotypical impression with which the candidate is aligned whether or not it can be fairly justified. In the 1980 US elections, Newman (1981) compared the Reagan administration (and the Republicans as a whole) with the wealthy conservative upper-class and Carter’s with the middle-class liberals. However, it is not only the candidate’s personal perception that is taken into account, but also who connects with the political parties. In this aspect, the situation in the United Kingdom is a good example, where Labour, through their social imagery, have connected more with the working-class of the country, while the Conservatives are more connected to the wealthy. Newman (1981) confirmed this as a correlation with the Odegard and Helms (1938) argument that the political process as a translation of social pressures into policy, and the social groups pressure on the political candidate. In terms of the European election, it is difficult to argue if this has an influence with those European umbrella parties which have a seat in Parliament. However, this can arguably be transferred to the national parties and their social imagery for the national electorate. Emotional Feelings: This focuses on personal feeling when it comes to making a decision, and on the emotional arousal generated either by the candidate or the political party. In Europe this can be important when looking at the dimension of political debate when it came to sensitive issues like immigration or the definition of sexual identity. Newman (1981) focused specifically on this aspect for the 1980 American election, since it can be argued that the focus on the individual candidate, rather than the party as a whole, is much more central to their political identity than it is in Europe. Candidate Image: The personal strait of the political candidates. In accordance with the political line, the candidates can adapt these values as a personal trait to endear themselves to the electorate. This has been seen as an especially effective marketing strategy for individuals promoting a Euro-sceptic line in the European debate to create brand recognition for themselves. Shama (1975) compared voter behaviour approaches to the ones of customer behaviour, arguing that voter affiliation with a political


party was based on the voter’s perception of the candidate. Current Events: These describe the contingencies which occur around the time of the election that can drastically change the voter’s mind-set. While Newman exemplified the Iran hostage crisis of 1980 as a major influence behind Reagan’s election success, there have also been similar voter-unifying examples on the European continent in more recent times. The 2004 Madrid bombing, for example, is credited as a major factor in awarding the socialist party of Spain a surprise election victory only three days after the attacks (Woehrel 2004). Newman promoted Nygren and Jones (1997) conclusion that the political candidate’s position and handling of a particular situation would determine the voter’s reflection and behaviour. The ability of current events to have a major influence on political hegemony over a very short time period should not be overlooked, and as such, current events are a frequentlyused political tool. Personal Events: In aspects of candidate image, personal events surrounding a candidate and the choices they made handling a situation have an impact on how the voter perceives the candidate’s identity. It can be argued that this has a bigger effect in the US political marketing system than in the European political culture as the political marketing culture in the US is more focused on the individual candidate than it is in Europe (Savigny 2004). Epistemic Issues: This area responds to the feelings and emotions held when a voter casts their vote. In the case of the European election of 2014, we can see the success “Eurosceptics”19 had in the election can possibly be defined as a voter’s desire to vote for change. Of course, while a Eurosceptic vote may not necessarily be simply a knee-jerk reaction due to a dislike of current policy, and is very often rooted in rational and logical political and economic reasoning, the EP election of 2014 saw Eurosceptic parties win many more floating votes than expected, perhaps due to reasons ranging from Euro-apathy to a general mistrust of an outside governing body. It is not the first time in Western political history that changes have happened because of strategies that played on tapping into the curiosity of the voter. The Danish election of 197320 is a prime example of a paradigm change in the political election on the basis of epistemic issues that affected the voter behaviour, and incited the proletariat to seek new solutions outside the established political culture. 19

While the term Eurosceptic can be broadly defined, it does not have a clear political definition. However, in this case it refers to political parties which take a negative approach to the Union as whole. 20 Nationally named Jordskredsvalget (The earthquake election)


Issues and Policies

Emotional Feelings

Candidate Image

Primary Voter´s choice Behaviour Current Events

Epistemic Issues

Social Imagery

Personal Events

Figure 7: Primary model voter-behaviour. (Newman 1985) The design of the model has its weaknesses. It gives a clear impression that it is based on an American political culture that defines the politician as the value-enhancer of the political brand. The original testing of the model was based on a quantitative approach with designated values measured on either a binary approach or with a reflected value on a statement. Schiffman, Leon and Kanuk (2007) argued that the political brand as a whole is not stronger than the trust in the person that is given the responsibility of implementing the standards set by the brand image. Phipps, Brace-Govan and Jevons (2010) claimed that the less of the segment that is fought over, the bigger the chances that the politician’s individual identity and trust will determine the outcome. It has become important for political parties to develop the candidates to meet the requirements the voters have in their political candidates. In that aspect, we can argue that even though the model is not so accurate when it comes to the European democratic culture, the model still has relevance for us. 3.3.2 The Michigan model

The social-psychological (Michigan) model of voting behaviour treats the voting decision as more social and complex than just being about economic or personal issues (O’Shaughnessy 1990). First mentioned in The American voter (Campbell 1960), it differs from the economic model in that it identifies and takes into consideration different variables, organising them according to the stability of the explanatory variables and their “range” upon the decision to vote for a particular candidate or party (Miller and Shanks 1996). The attachment to a political party of a representation of a particular political view may not be manifested into a membership. The identification to the party is more represented on an emotional attachment. The voter is considered to be a more social animal, where the


world view is based on a series of a group membership and loyalty to social structures. Voter identity is more based on how the voters perceive themselves (O’Shaughnessy 1990). The key aspects of the model is based on the emotional aspects of how its own ego is represented in the party the voter chooses to support (Miller 1976). Voter apathy is also viewed as a decision on how you want to influence the election. 3.3.3 The economic (rational-choice) model

The idea of voting in business is supported by Downs (1957) who suggested that the economic aspects of marketing behaviour can be transferred to the political market. He suggests that a political party could be modelled as if they were “profit-maximising entrepreneurs”, while voters were consumers looking for the best bargain. What identifies this model is that it is not based on human factors but purely on that the idea that the voter is a rational individual with a focus on parsimony and maximisation when they make their choice. The ultimate test for these models, based on an economic perspective, is not the realism of the assumption, but is rather in the consistency of making accurate predictions (Friedman 1951). This model portrays the voter as “Homo economicus”, a person that is an individual with a rational way of thought. O’Shaughnessy (1991) describes “Homo economicus” in five main categories, and the author has seen fit to create a model based on this rational-choice voter, as seen in Figure 8.

Figure 8. Description of Homo Economicus. Own model based on the literature of O’Shaughnessy (1991)


1. Consistent in his preferences. The voter has a clear preference of their choice, and stick to the same principles over time, through different politicians provided they stand for the same principles. 2. Instrumental: The voter makes their choice on the basis of wanting to affect policies. Different from the Michigan model of Man, this is aspect is not intended to express identity, but is rather for the voter’s own benefit. 3. The voter is egoistic. They cast their vote to affect their own wealth or well-being. 4. Prospective. The basis of the cast vote is not upon historical preferences, but on a future vision

of personal benefits that will be implemented. 5. Optimiser. The voter will vote for the choices that will maximise their personal benefits in

exchange for a minimum level of costs from the voter.

Downs’ idea was further developed by Riker and Ordeshook (1968) and modified into a basic formula, PB + D > C, whereby: 

P = the probability that a single vote will affect the outcome of the desired election.

B = the believed benefit the voter will get if the chosen political representative wins.

D = the social gratification a person gets from voting.

C = the cost of voting.

The model is based on the assumption that voters act rationally when deciding for whom to vote. Since the statistical probability of P is near null in almost any election (but not all21), the value is often expressed as zero. Although Riker and Ordeshook developed the model with the intention that PB is almost zero, since it was based on non-unified personal benefits, other scholars like Richard Jankowski (2002) believed it also included concern for the welfare of others in society. This modification to the model of Riker and Ordeshook was further supported by James Fowler (2007), who concluded in his research that concern for the well-being of others was a major driver of political participation. The model is not without its flaws, and the variables in the equation are vague, but it still provides a good 21

In the Danish parliamentary election of 1998, the parliament majority was decided by 176 votes. To put this number into perspective, this is the same number of votes that came from the Faroe Islands.


framework with which to work. The model places particular weight on the decision on why, in general a voter chooses to vote, rather than on why they vote in the direction they ultimately do. 3.3.4 Theoretical conclusion voter behaviour

Lee Marshment (2009) pointed out that rational politics in established democracies is less effective than in newly-established democracies. There is an uncertainty in evaluating those newer countries according to the models pointed out here since the lack of political culture and apathy to the systems as a whole might influence the results. This thesis will, however, try to compare the different national segments of the pan-European continent as equally as possible. The models provided in the segment of voter-behaviour will not be followed to the letter since the author believes that the models are too general in their approach to answer the research questions. They will, however, provide the foundation on how the following result will be analysed. In particular, it must be noted that even though the models disagree on several aspects of what influences a voter, they do agree that there needs to be an incentive for the voter to actually go to the voting polls, be this either a personal or social gain.

4.0 Proposition development This thesis has been based upon three different theoretical aspects. The connection between them is what makes the foundation of the following proposition. The literature review presents many different angles on how to proceed with the central questions of this thesis. There has been a decline in the voter-turnout in the EP elections since 1979. The main purpose of this thesis is to better understand the main influencing factors when deciding to vote in the European election. An additional question is whether there is an evident pattern in the social and cultural perspective of Europe. The literature review presented here brings up two central questions that underline the main proposition of this study. ● Do the social aspects, put in historical perspective, give us a different cultural identity depending on the different member nations within the electorate?


● How does the importance of the political marketing aspects and their entry into the national political market actually influence voter-turnout in the country according to the literature review?

In line with this, there is a general research question that can be derived out of this:

Is there a clear political marketing tradition in Europe? The basic proposition of this research question has been selected referring to the existing culture, and is based on current questions and problems. The research question is a wide topic, so to get a better and more detailed perspective I have divided this into three propositions. As mentioned earlier, the research question is in reference to the EP election. There are several reasons for this: 

There is a clear measurable index upon which to test the proposition.

There are clearly different voter segments that vote in the same election.

There are no strong historical roots of specified traditions for voting.

The question is divided into three literature segments, all of which found the basis of the field of political elections. Political marketing, voter behaviour and voter turnout. P1: A more specified political marketing effort will increase the voter turnout in the EP elections. P2: Lower voter turnout negatively affects voter behaviour. P3: There needs to be a stronger identification of voter behaviour to createa more specified political marketing strategy in the EU segment.


4.1 Thesis model

4.2 Delimitation I have delimitated this thesis to the single European political voting segment of the European Union. The political market of the European Union is chosen because it is a single voting market with so many different segments to take into consideration. The election of a new EP is an excellent opportunity to test different parameters that affect voter turnout, voter behaviour and political marketing. However, there are many parameters to take into consideration, so some restriction has been made. This delimitation has been made according to relevant academia which has pointed out the limited significance it has on the political aspect. The EU itself comprises 27 different markets, all of whom vote in the same election. To analyse and create a foundation for analysing the question and the underlying proposition with reference to the EP election as a whole is an undertaking too large to cover in a satisfactory manner. The 27 countries have therefore been categorised into three different appropriate segments. The approach used to do this is explained in the category below. The author will acknowledge a weakness of the IDSCT model. Even though the model is based on the same principles as some of the most respected models published in business and political science, the consequences of adapting them into a demographic voter turnout model is not yet fully understood. The limitation to six categories in the model is chosen on the theoretical relevance of the literature. It is up for debate whether the arguments mentioned here renders those six the most appropriate choice, and if the


literature is most the relevant for which to draw this analysis. The author does believe that the reason for choosing the actual topics is argument in a good enough degree to defend the choices made .

5.0 IDSCT This section forwards a summary of the decision made to create a model by which to measure voter turnout in Europe on an equal footing.

5.1 The categorisation of the IDSCT model Before the results are analysed, this section will explain in more detail how the IDSCT model was developed and how it was categorised according to the different member nations. The reasons for choosing to create a model and parameters for such a broad topic are based on several factors. First of all, there is a lack of clearly stated models that predict voter turnout in the European market. Even though Riker and Ordeshook (1968) provide a rational model, it is based on the individual factors of why someone votes, and does not take into account regional and international factors. The author found that there were no established models which could provide a satisfactory theoretical framework according to the chosen topic. As stated by Grofman (1983), the two main theories according to voter turnout are based on the rational choice of what a person can gain by voting, and not on the social factors of the area, that influence the voter’s behaviour. It can be argued that the literature is more based on creating a rationale for voter behaviour rather than a looking for a reason for an estimated result of a voter turnout. This is also a main reason why this thesis has a focus on the broader aspects of European political questions. The five categories are also defined according to established literature that supports that the variables do indeed influence voter turnout. Although the model itself is made for the purpose of this thesis, it is based on established literature in the aspect of both commercial and political marketing. In particular, it was based on the macro-environmental PEST22 analysis used in strategic management. The first idea was to use it according to the problem raised in this thesis. However, several problems arise in that aspect. First of all, the model does not take into consideration the unique situation which exists within the European political market. Creating a model that will take into consideration 27 different countries and still create a theoretical framework that would fit all could


Political, Economic, Social and Technological analysis''


not be justified by using PEST analysis alone. The concept and structure however suited the proposition perfectly. The expansion into PESTEL23 promoted six categories as a more appropriate number from which to create a model which analyses the most important parts of a political market in Europe. Even though the groundwork was now done, there were still several challenges to overcome. First of all, although the design of having six categories to give a good overall perspective of the scenario was a good start, it was still based on analysing one market and based on social science and not marketing. In this thesis, the 27 political markets of the EU were to be analysed using the same six parameters for all of them. The first purpose of the model and analysis was to justify segmenting the 27 countries into three different groups to more easily compare them. To create such a theoretical framework, the author used three different values by which to categorise them in each of the six segments. To analyse each country within the general categories mentioned would be nigh on impossible. Therefore, the author made the decision to narrow the focus of the categories. Each of the decisions made is accounted for in each of the analyses. In short, all 27 EU member countries will now be analysed by six criteria, each considered one of many and numerous drivers of overall EP election turnout. For each criterion, the 27 EU countries will be broken into 3 categories, and each category will then be analysed in reference to voter turnout. By the end of the analysis, the IDSCT model will take shape, as each of the member states will have accumulated six category numbers ranging from 1-3, one for each of the criteria. Finally, these member states will be ranked in order of their 2009 EP election turnout, with all six category numbers on display, to identify any pattern between the six criteria and EP election voter turnout. Institutional

The need for knowing the institutional aspects for different countries is vital, since it can have a significant impact on voter turnout. Different countries have different institutional rules and regulations. The more strict these are, the more likely it is that there will be a high voter turnout. There are many factors that can directly influence voter turnout. For example, compulsory voting is an institutional factor that obviously has a major influence on the turnout, and need to be clarified to get a good comparison between the different European nations. The different countries will be ranked 23

Sometimes referred to as PESTLE, takes Legal and Environmental factors into consideration.


according to a few parameters of institutional rules, mainly compulsory voting and voter registration in this thesis. The election rules for a nation will be different according to the type of election. In this case, they are ranked according to EP law. Rank 1: Belgium, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Greece. These countries have strong institutional influence on the voting process, which guaranties a certain amount of voter turnout in long term perspective. These countries employ either compulsory voting laws, or offer strong incentives to vote. The voter turnout will therefore be high (as a general rule). Rank 2: Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and UK. The countries in this category are identified as being the easiest in which to participate in an election. There is no compulsory voting, nor any obstacles that ensure that the voter can decide to vote on election day, such as registration lists. Rank 3: Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia24. Many countries operate with voter registration lists which have attached deadlines before the election. These can have a negative impact on voter turnout in the specific country and can limit the availability for participation in the election. As shown in Model 10, there is a slight correlation between the institutional factors and the voting turnout of the different European countries26. In the same model, we see that the countries listed under Rank 1 lean heavily to the right of the model, taking many of the top spots when it comes to voter turnout. It is, however, worth discussing whether the institutional factor of compulsory voting is artificially increasing levels of voter turnout. Both Belgium and Luxembourg have a small population 24

Slovakia, Malta, Czech Republic and Ireland does not allow their citizens living abroad to vote. Voting is compulsory in Greece under the old electoral law, which is no longer in force. The compulsory vote does however a symbolic character (Gratschew, 2005). 26


and can maintain a high turnout solely on the basis of their cultural connections to the European Union structure. The EU alone employs 31,000 people in Brussels27. It is also noteworthy that even though both Cyprus and Greece have compulsory voting, their voter turnout ranks somewhat in the middle among the member nations. Malkopoulou (2009) pointed out that even though voting was compulsory in Greece and Cyprus, the risk of being penalised for not attending the election was small compared to that in Belgium and Luxembourg. Repeatedly failing to register a vote in Luxembourg, for example, can mean the offender can risk ineligibility for public office. Model 10 also proves that the institutional factor is influential in determining the turnout in a country.

European Elections


100 80 60 40 20 SVK




























Figure 10: Representation of the institutional groups. Red=group 1 Yellow=group 2 and blue=group 3 Demographic

Demographic factors are important to understand in explaining the voter turnout for a member state in order to get a full perspective of the reasons why voter turnout is at the level it is. In this segment, the author has chosen the youth demographic (18-24 years) for the different member states, and compared it to overall voter turnout. This is because it more clearly highlights the potential on how youths reflect the general population. Research has been conducted in order to explain the decline in youth voter turnout in general. Bromley and Curtice (2002) explained that there is currently less interest in learning about and getting involved in politics and therefore the election. An increasing number of young people perceive politicians and the political system to be dishonest and ineffective and hold back their vote, 27

E!Sharp magazine, Jan–Feb 2007 issue: Article "A tale of two cities".


either as an act of disaffected protest or through distanced disinterest (Dermody & Hanmer-Lloyd, 2008, and Mulgan & Wilkinson, 1998). Another reason mentioned is that the act of globalisation is perhaps undermining the credibility and authority of sovereign nation to make changes for the betterment of its own people, thereby creating a degree of apathy and anger that reflects in a lower voter turnout (Bromley et al. 2001). This segment will not speculate on the reasons for this, but will instead point out the different potential in mobilising the youth segment in the European Union. However, it is the of author’s opinion that to fully understand the potential it is important to see the possible reason behind. Figure 11 shows that the youth voting rate among the member nations varies more than the total turnout itself with some large disparities evident. Other demographic factors, like gender and employment status, are becoming less and less disparate in many ways when explaining voter turnout across the continent. While men and women have approximately an equal turnout rate (57% men and 56% women) in the European election of 201428, the gap between 18-24 and 55+ was over 21%. (50% for 55+ and 29% for 18-24)29. For the latter category it was an all-time low. Other parameters like the population size of the different age segment might also have an influence on these numbers, but still the numbers below lend reason to believe that the European proletariat do not even think alike when it comes to decision of whether or not to vote, let alone in their choice of policies.


Flash Eurobarometer 375, European Youth: Participation in Democratic Life 29 EB71.3-European Elections 2009: Post electoral survey.


As seen in Figure 11, there is a big difference in voter turnout between the different member countries. The biggest positive difference for youth participation was in Portugal, where the youth had 2% over the total average in the country by 37 to 39% percent. On the other side of the scale, we find Ireland had a negative gap of 28%, from 59% to 31% between the overall and the youth scores. Rank 1 (3): Belgium, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Malta and Portugal.30 As we can see there are three gaps separating the countries according to three categories according to the differentiation between the vote-turnout gaps. In countries with high equilibrium between the youth segment and the general turnout, there might be a general consensus about the aspect of the election. These countries have equilibrium of positive to -5%. Rank 2 (2): Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia. The next section of countries have a voter equilibrium of -6% to -12%, creating a reason to doubt any suggestions that youths in these countries are any less inclined to vote than the rest of the population. Rank 3 (1): Slovenia, Poland, Bulgaria, Latvia, Sweden, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Estonia, Spain, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands and Ireland. The last rank is from -12% until the last value of -28%. This number shows us that in these countries there is a huge generational gap when it comes to participation in the European election. Socioeconomic

In this thesis, the aspect of socio-economic tendencies will be focused on the educational aspect. There are many factors and categories, such as race, gender, and social class, which can create inequality in voter turnout, and therefore lower it drastically. However, this thesis will focus on the aspect of education, since the other factors are regulated and meet minimum criteria according to the Copenhagen criteria, and for the limitation of this thesis. It is also a better source, empirically, for predicting whether a person votes (Blais, 2000). Karp, Bowler, and Banducci (2008) found that a highly-educated voter will be no more encouraged to vote than a less-educated voter. The concept of a 30

Three of the countries have compulsory voting (Belgium, Luxembourg, Malta).


zero-sum game is established in solid democracies, and therefore a higher level of education is not a perquisite in understanding the importance of voting. However, the EP election goes through several countries that have had less than a decade of independent democratic culture. Education is a good parameter of predicting whether a person votes or stays home. The following graph displays the percentage of those at various levels of education in the different countries in comparison with the election result. Since there is almost a universal coverage of basic education within the Union31, the numbers of tertiary educational level will be covered32. In 2011, in the EU zone as whole, just over one third (34.6%) of people aged 30- 34 years had completed tertiary education. The data presented is based on the population that had completed a tertiary education 33. 100 80

European Elections


tertiary education

40 20




Figure 12: Voter turnout compared with levels of tertiary education (green represents differentiation) As seen in figure 13, there is a clear disparity between the voter turnout in different countries, and the level of tertiary-educated citizens. Malta has a fairly low level of tertiary-educated citizens, yet still manages to have a high turnout, at least in the European elections. On the other side of the scale, we see Lithuania, whose European election turnout is in fact lower than the percentage of tertiary-educated Lithuanian citizens. We can then divide the countries into three categories according to socio-economic factors which influence voter turnout.

31 University-level or similar education. 33 Data is based on the population between 24-64 in each country in 2009. 32


Group 1 (3): Malta, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy. These countries all display a high degree of people using their right to vote in the EP elections. Neither Malta nor Italy has any form of compulsory voting, and both still have a relatively low amount of higher-educated citizens. Group 2 (2): Greece, Latvia, Denmark, Austria, Cyprus, Ireland, Portugal, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Spain, Romania, Czech Republic, Sweden and France. Group 3 (1): Estonia, Slovenia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Poland, Finland, UK, and Lithuania. All these countries have shown a low disparity between voting turnout and the number of highereducated voters. In Lithuania, proportionally fewer people actually voted than those who have been, or are currently, in higher education. From this, we can draw the line of argument that there is no correlation between the proportion of higher-educated citizens and that country’s EP voter turnout. There is, however, some literature that supports this (Bingham-Powell, Jr. 1986). Cultural

Corruption is a widespread problem that influences all aspect of society. Corruption in international business is widespread and growing (Greenberger, 1995), and political corruption is following suit (Heywood 1997). High political corruption indices can heavily influence the outcome of an election and create voting apathy among the population (Bratsis, 2003). To compare different countries without taking into account the aspect of corruption might compromise the situation as a whole. In this section, we focus on corruption as an influencing factor upon voter turnout. Although there is no single definition of corruption, there is agreement over its core features (K Rajasekharan, 2011), and that political corruption is a part of it (Transparency 2004). Corruption can be measurable on a combined scale, and in this case we use the Transparency International scale, The Corruption Perceptions Index. The scale itself has been under critical review, and amongst the criticism is that due to the scale’s perceived elite bias on popular perceptions of the definition of corruption, it is not an effective way to measure it (Cobham 2013). Despite this, The Corruption Perceptions Index stands today as one of the best-known ways by which to assess corruption in different countries or territories, ranking them based


on the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 - 100, where 0 means that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 means it is perceived as very transparent.34

Corruption Index EU-27 100 80 60 40 20 GRC




























Figure 13: Corruption (blue) index of the EU countries in relation to voter turnout (red)35 36 As demonstrated by the model, ranked in order from the cleanest to most corrupt nations, we can see several geographical tendencies showing up when it comes to the perceived corruption culture in the different EU countries. The Nordic countries are in a class of their own in terms of political cleanliness, while the Benelux nations, along with Germany and the UK take up the next-nearest places. The reasons for this may be numerous, but the limitations of this thesis dictate that it will not go further into that subject. The lower-ranking countries have a tendency to come from the former Eastern Bloc and the Mediterranean. There are two big gaps in the model, if we exclude that made by the Nordic countries. The first one is between Hungary and Latvia and the second between Estonia and Cyprus. This is where the segmentation of the different groups will occur. The first group is the one that experiences the highest risk of political corruption affecting the political process. This can lead to voter apathy and less motivation in each individual in trying to encourage

34 Even though The Corruption Index scale and the percentage scale is not of the same numerical value, it is for, the sake of convience, compared in this model. 36 Taken from Transparency Perceptions Index 2013. Croatia not included. 35


democratic process and, on a wider-reaching scale, less inclination to support participation in the European Union. Group 1 (1): Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy Slovakia, Czech Republic and Latvia. Group 2 (2): Hungary, Malta, Lithuania, Slovenia, Spain, Poland, Portugal and Cyprus. Group 3 (3): Estonia, Austria, France, Ireland, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Finland, Denmark and Sweden. Technological

For this segment, the definition of electronic technology can include punch cards, optical scan voting systems and specialised voting booths, and, of course, voting via the internet. Voter turnout has been studied in various fields with many different topics central for the research. Roseman and Stephenson (2003) argued that research into the technological behind voting opportunities its effect on the decisions made has not yet been done to its full potential. In this segment, the focus will be on the facilitating measures that the different countries have taken to ensure a higher voter turnout. In this case, the electronic vote. The use of electronic votes in different national elections has seen some noticeable success stories. In Estonia, for example, the electronic vote consisted of 24.3% of the total votes cast37. In Switzerland, it is now stable at around 20% of the total votes cast in all elections since 200738. Electronic voting, or E-voting, is one of the main focus areas of the EU, in order to increase voter turnout. In 2000, the European Commission39 started the Cybervote project. The aim of the project is to develop and demonstrate an online voting system for national and European elections (Trechsel and Mendez. 2004). The project was ended in 2003 with mixed result. Criticism of electronic voting has not gone unnoticed. The biggest worry has been concerns over fraud and electronic malfunction which may potentially compromise the final results, and in its inability to protect the basic democratic rights of the voters (Trechsel and Mendez 2005 p 29-32). Michael Shamos (2004) pointed out that an election with electronic votes was removed the openness of the subsequent 37 39 The ministry of the European Union parliamentary structure. 38


vote counting process. His critique also pointed out that the security of the voting platform could be compromised regardless of whether it was an online platform or one using a physical voting both with a machine. Despite this, there is a general consensus that there will be a growing public acceptance of voting electronically in the future, and that it will constitute a significant part of the drive to increase voter turnout in the future (Alvarez, Hall and Thad, 2010). It is also worth mentioning that even though the facilitating of an electronic structure in voting has been a governmental responsibility, and constitutes, therefore, an institutional matter, the proven affect it has had on voter turnout makes it a category in its own right. It also gives reason to rank the countries according to the best possibilities when it comes to electronic voting structure, and the likelihood and ease of adoption of such a system.

Estonia leads the way when it comes to electronic and technological voting within the EU. It is the only country that has fully adopted electronic voting for the EP election and will have it in place at the 2014 EP election. Rank 1 (3): Estonia In the second category we find countries that have taken measures but haven’t fully implemented an electronic solution when it comes to elections. Many of these countries have had election where Evoting has been tried out, some with mixed results, and later discontinued40. This thesis takes into consideration the effort and experience gained by creating an E-voting system, regardless of the latter results. Rank 2 (2): Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands and United Kingdom. The last category contains those countries which have never had experience in creating an E-voting system for an election. Reasons for this could be varied, but it remains a fact that these countries have little or no expertise in creating a digital voting platform for the future, nor in creating a more stable voter turnout. Some countries, like Latvia, have, however, announced their intention to provide a more electronic based platform in the future41.

40 41

Data collected from


Rank 3 (1): Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Denmark, Greece, Finland, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania.

5.2 Summary and categorisation The IDSCT model is created as a framework for facilitating political analysis and political market strategy development. It is based on Porter’s five forces analysis (Porter 1980), with the same principal approach to the analysis of the market, in this case, the EP voter segment. The result is visualised in a numerical value. As explained earlier, the importance of creating an analysis of all 28 markets (minus Croatia) in the EU42 is vital for several reasons. Firstly, it helps the author limit the scope for this thesis, since it goes beyond the limitations of the thesis to fully analyse each of the 27 markets segments of the Union on an individual basis. This analysis offers a valid reason to generalise the market into three different categories, while providing the framework by which to test the hypotheses. After analysing the five factors that influence voter turnout, we get the following result:

Figure 14: IDSCT matrix analysis If we now categorise the 27 countries according to voter turnout in the 2009 EP election, we see that even though the result changes in some aspects (that can be justified by the error margins), there is still a correlation between positive tendencies in the IDSCT category model and a high voter turnout.


Since Croatia joined the Union after 2009, it is not a part of the analysis.


Figure 15: IDSCT matrix analysis, ranked by 2009 EP election turnout.

As we can see, there is a correlation between the category values and the turnout of the election. The countries with the highest category scores also had the highest turnout in the 2009 EP election. This can be explained to some degree by the mandatory voting that the top three countries use. However, the result can also be supported by the high value they have in the other categories. With the exception of Latvia, there is a low percentage of voter turnout in the lowest-scoring countries in terms of category. Some aspects outside of the model are also to be taken into the consideration when reading the results, such as population, democratic history and voter apathy. If a regression analysis is conducted with these numbers we can see if there is a correlation with the dependent in an independent variable.

Figure 16: Correlation between 2009 EP voter turnout and IDSCT score.


The X-axis represents a possible total of 18 category points, and the Y-axis 2009 EP voter turnout. Figure 16 demonstrates that there is indeed reason to believe that there is a correlation between the two different values. If we take a look at the result of the analysis, there are four countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, Malta and Austria) that have a high standard when ensuring voter turnout. Of these, Malta and Austria does not enforce compulsory voting. Although there is proven to be a clear correlation between compulsory voting and voter turnout, there is reason to state that the other factors also contribute to the result. At the other end of the scale, we also see that countries (with a few exceptions) with the lowest score also have a lower voter turnout in the 2009 EP election. Slovakia, with a participation rate of just 19.6%, scores a combined category value of 6, along with Poland and Slovenia. However, while Slovenia shares approximately the same voter turnout, Poland actually is one of the best in that class. If we segment the result into three ranking, we can divide them again into the following groups: Rank 1: Belgium, Luxembourg, Malta and Austria. Rank 2: Portugal, Cyprus, United Kingdom, Sweden, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Greece, Spain, France and The Netherlands. In the second tier we see many of the countries which have established democracies and have been in the Union since either the beginning, or at least before the major expansion in 2005. Some other countries, like Estonia, have been shown to have adapted rather quickly and used technology to fill in the cultural gap. Rank 3: Republic of Ireland, Finland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Poland, Latvia, Slovenia and Slovakia.

The last tier is the countries that still have work to do in terms of maximising their potential. Many of these countries have previously been a part of the Eastern Bloc. However there are some more Western countries that also fall under this category. The Republic of Ireland and Finland both have a strong democratic culture. These two countries have, however, very low turnout in the youth segment of the


voter population and are not willing to invest in the technological and educational aspects driving voter turnout. The IDSCT analysis has given a reason to decrease the scope of the thesis as whole, with the analysis as a foundation.

Figure 17: Graphical representation according to IDSCT

5.3 Comparison to the 2014 election To test the IDSCT model according to voter turnout, the model based on the turnout results of the 2009 EP election will be compared to those of 2014. As we can see, the matrix still displays a strong correlation between the six categories and voter turnout. As seen in the model, the correlation does indeed increase from the 2009 to the 2014 election, although the countries with the highest scores still have a large voter turnout.

Figure 18: IDSCT score in relation to 2014 EP voter turnout 52

The correlation rate in the 2014 election is over 14% higher with the IDCST score than in 2009.

Figure 19: correlation between 2014 EP voter turnout and IDSCT

6.0 Qualitative interview As explained in the methodology, qualitative interviews are used to test the proposition that is put forward in an academic paper.. Due to several reasons, a qualitative interview approach was used to test the propositions of this thesis. It is the author’s belief that the propositions themselves and the general research questions are formed in a way that demands more in-depth knowledge than an anonymous survey online can guarantee. A focus on qualitative interviews can also make sure that the interviewer can select interviewees with a more appropriate knowledge, experience and qualification set in order to understand questions asked, and give more substantial and reliable answers. In-depth interviews are a good way to discover subjective meanings and correlations in social processes, such as personal views of political culture in different areas (Denzin, 1989). Respondents are also more likely to talk in more depth about the whole aspect of the proposition questions and provide information that would not be proffered in a structured interview or mass questionnaire. The method and approach used in this thesis was based on Kvale and Brinkmann’s (2009) literature about interview subjects and research methods. They attest that there are different forms of research interviews. Before going into detail about the scientific approach in detail, it is important to understand the general importance of using qualitative interviews as a source of understanding the factors that can


give answers to proposition. The definition of a qualitative interview according to Rubin and Rubin (2005) are “conversations in which a researcher gently guides a conversational partner in an extended conversation”. Using a pragmatic, approach this thesis follows a paradigmatic legitimisation of the interview research. The different aspects and political questions naturally raised by quantitative methods are not themselves an area of interest for this research, not its analysis or conclusion, and nor will they influence the approach that is used to answer the proposition asked in this thesis. The qualitative approach used for this research purpose can be described as an in-depth interview with some elements of a structured identity, even though the author will not agree that it has elements of a semi-structured interview. The research question and the following proposition have made it necessary to have some form of a structured identity, so it covers all the aspects while still having an overall in-depth identity.

6.1 Ethical standards Qualitative research has been a valid approach for research purposes in social studies since the start of modern research (Kvale and Brinkman, 2009), and there are ethical questions that must be taken into consideration when it comes to qualitative interviews (Rubin and Rubin, 2009). This author believes it is important to mention the ethical criteria that have been followed to ensure that the rich data has not been gained through a violation of the ethical standards set for institutional review boards. For this thesis, the question of political bias has been in particular focus. The author clarified the questions to all interviewees, and the topic is researched using a non-political approach. This is especially important on the basis that all those who have been interviewed have been previously active in promoting a political view in an election. The dilemma of identifying yourself as a researcher is a common one that has been up for question several times. The author agrees with Gillham (2005) that marking your role as a researcher is bound to change the interviewee perspective of the researcher in some degree . However, the theory that it is possible to totally avoid bias when researching in a qualitative angle has been questioned (Liamputtong and Ezzy, 2005). This has been taken into consideration when making the design of the interview structure. Furthermore, for ethical and legal reasons, the participants were advised as to how their information is stored and used in the future, and that, as respondents, they have


a right to anonymity. In all cases, the interview objects were notified when the recording started and ended. In some cases, the interview objects have asked for a short break, at which point the recording was stopped and subsequently resumed after their break. Since this interview is an open-structured, the respondents have been told that their general overviews of the topic are important for this thesis. Therefore, the more detailed answers and opinions were offered, which had no direct relevance to the proposition at hand, were not taken into consideration and will only be noticeable in the Appendix. Due to both the scope of this thesis and the geographical distances between the interviewer and some of the interviewees, some of the interviews, were conducted via the telecommunications application, Skype. All interviews were recorded with an Olympus WS-110 recorder, borrowed from the library at CBS44. Since some participants did indeed request anonymity, in order to protect the identity behind their political view, the disorientation will only provide for a general overview when it comes to the respondents’ nationalities. The author believes that this request will compromise neither the result nor the integrity of this research. Every person interviewed has been offered the opportunity to see the transcripts utilised in this thesis and confirmed the veracity of the statements herein before any conclusions were finalised.

6.2 Participants Due to geographical proximity, the interview objects were mostly formed of Danish youth politicians who were either candidates themselves, or involved in the election campaign for the EP to some degree. Initially, the idea was to approach the questions from a more politically-neutral perspective, with experts in the field as interview objects. This was subsequently changed as it became apparent that a review from neutral sources was unlikely to produce a personal angle from the sources, and thus the core goal of the research would not be satisfactorily achieved.


Copenhagen Business School


The focus on Danish youth politicians had many advantages: 

Easy access to the sources.

An average tendency in all the IDSCT criteria.

A strong political culture and history45.

However, the proposition also necessitated the testing of the research design across a broader political and cultural perspective. Qualitative interviews were therefore conducted with participants outside of Denmark. From the perspective of the author, this approach also held some inherent research value in testing the same response from the proposition in the same manner as the IDSCT, since it can provide a unique perspective of the same research questions. In terms of timing, the opportunity of conducting this research at a time when one single election with the same general rules over such a large and diverse cultural and geographic area, with several centuries of different political and cultural identity, is an opportunity that does not easily come around, and one which, when, embraced fully, gave great weight to the findings of this thesis. The participants share the consensus that this thesis is trying to underline, to a larger degree, a representative model of a political environment which is currently under-researched.

Research question Interview



Lower- tier IDSCT interview objects

Middle-tier IDSCT interview objects

Higher- tier IDSCT interview objects Comparison



Figure 20: Visualisation of the interview object structure


Comparative Studies in Society and History. Uffe Østergaard. 1992.


Those interviewed shared some common traits: 

All of them represented a young demographic. This decision was made by the author of this disorientation for several reasons. Firstly, it correlated to the chosen subject in the IDSCT analysis which showed the potential of young voters across the European Union. The decision to focus on the youth segments as a second priority in this assignment have been explained in the delimitations and IDSCT segments of this thesis.

All have been actively participating in the 2014 EP election, either as a candidate, electoral campaigner or election organiser, in a way that can provide a unique and qualified insight by which to test the proposition.

It was important to get the perspectives of both sides of the turnout to get an overview of similarities and differences between the different countries. Focus has therefore also been on getting a point of view from representatives with insight into the politics of Malta and Slovenia. The map below identifies the representative nations of the interviewees represented in this thesis.

Fig 21: Map highlighting the country of origin of the interviewees


7.0 Analysis The analysis will be done in a more literate view. There will be three subsections which will go into depth on the proposition before the final analysis of the proposition. As seen in the interview guide (Appendix B), the sub-question to the general proposition of this thesis will be reviewed and analysed as whole, instead of breaking it up and analysing it point by point.

7.1 The case of Malta Malta is an island archipelago south of Italy with a little under half a million inhabitants. The small voter segment makes political marketing more interesting to research, due to the relative influence and weight each voter has. Malta is also afforded special attention because they experience the highest voter turnout for a state that does not probate mandatory voting. The first thing mentioned by the Maltese political interviewer is that even though Malta has a high EP election turnout, in comparison to island’s general election, the EP election is considerably less significant. (Malta Interview. 7 July 2014) As seen from Malta’s IDSCT score, there is high voting culture in the country, and many voters are loyal to a political party from a cultural perspective. It is difficult for a political party to change a voter’s political preference. (Malta Interview. 7 July 2014) In accordance to P2 it is easy to claim that a lower voter turnout changes the perspective on the political party, and of the election as whole. As mentioned in the interview, the feeling is that the EP election is not that important. The national election that was arranged only a year before the EP election, yet the former gained an attendance of 93.8%46, almost 20% higher turnout than when deciding European affairs. Political marketing in Malta can be defined as very close to the electorate. There is a need for the candidates in the election to be close and empathetic to the concerns and desires of the voter, and early Maltese political marketing identity consisted of meeting the voters face to face, often in the form of a house visit. The arrival of modern technology has made it easier to meet the demand of the political interaction on a personal level for the political parties. The Maltese voter does not have a distant relationship with their political office. Rather they want to know them and feel a personal connection with them. The same cultural attachment to local politics has made the EP election an one in which local issues dominated.

46 36


The case of Malta shows some comparison with the rest of Europe. For the Maltese, there is also a form of apathy when it comes to their relationship with Brussels and the EU, where the voters believe that the issues of the continent are none of their concern, and local issues take precedence. Knowing this, the political actors are forced to change their approach to what the market (voters) demand. As a natural result of this, the general concern and interest for the EP election takes a back seat, thus creating a lower general voter turnout. With this, we can say that the situation in Malta proves P1, or at least gives enough reason to not discount it. To get a further view of the situation in Malta, it is important to again highlight the strong affiliation each voter feels towards a specific political party. The two main national parties47 have, since the Second World War, shared political power in the country. While there have been successful candidates from another political parties, this has often been a result of political diffraction from the main parties, the success of whom has been short-lived. In the EP election particularly this is a problem, since the country as a whole has one election district, with six available seats, and a confusing and complicated voting system (Malta Interview. 7 July 2014). The two parties got a proportional share of the seats after the election. Voter behaviour in Malta must be seen in accordance with the general political culture of the country. In national elections, the political strategy is mainly focused around the parties. The political differences are being shown and it is the party manifesto being broadcasted. It can be said that the twoparty system of the country has created a party loyalty so entrenched in the national psyche that is unlikely to be broken down between one election and the next. Lane (1998) speculated, however, that the loyalty of the voters was decreasing, and that the importance of political marketing would be more evident in the years to come. However true that may be, the latest election results show that the voters simply change between the two parties, upholding the political equilibrium of the country. It was the interview object belief that 80% of the voters are loyal to a particular party long before the election, creating a campaign aiming at securing the votes of the floating remaining 20%. This two-party state is a cultural tradition that we see in many parts of Mediterranean Europe49. Since the electoral districts change from several in the national election to one in the EP election, and therefore competition faced by each candidate increases, the candidates must naturally work harder to ensure they secure the votes. 47 49

The Nationalist Party (Christian democracy), and the Labour Party (Social Democracy) The exception being Italy, a multi-party state.


If the most successful way of securing votes is to appeal to the personable aspect of a voter’s decisionmaking, then each candidate must work harder on appearing more personable. The dominance of local issues in the EP election can be seen in the strategy of trying to connect with and reach out to the average voter on a local or personal level. As mentioned earlier, the electorate demands availability from the candidate. The candidate themselves often communicates with the voters to create a relationship with the electorate. It can be speculated that voter turnout is atypically high because the voter feels that a vote should make their candidate more available for them. The European issues themselves might not be seen as that important or interesting, or the political, cultural or geographical distance between the average voter and the issues being discussed in Brussels may be too great a stretch of the understanding or interest of a voter who is used to speaking personally with their local politician, thus creating higher levels of apathy in EP elections. Even though the interest in European concerns is at a mediocre level, it can be said that political attachment is based on a personal relationship more than a political agreement. This follows both the Homo Economicus theory from O’Shaughnessy (1991), and Riker & Ordeshook’s rational theory (1968)50. Both of these argue that personal incentives drive a person to vote and participate in an election. In a smaller country, where a vote counts way more than in France or Germany for example, the rational thought of the importance of the vote will, to a higher degree, drive them to the voting stations. However, the close relationship between voters and politicians is also a strong incentive to vote and be active. The lack of interest in European politics can all to easily fail to adequately answer the fundamental question of voting and vote maximisation, when the voters ask “what’s in it for me?”, and therefore stay at home. In any matter, it does not seem that the knowledge of the voters that is the problem. In Malta, the voter is knowledgeable, loyal and interested in politics. This again reflects in a high voter turnout and IDSCT score. However, in a direct comparison, this does not correlate with P3, which argues that there needs to be a stronger identification of voter behaviour. It does not seem that there is a lack of political knowledge, nor that there needs to be a more focused political marketing strategy. We can discuss that


See literature review section


there is a lack of general information about the influence the EP election on the average voter in Malta, but the political parties have strong attachment to the electorate. 7.1.2 Summary: Malta

P1 and P2 can be defended according to the literature review and the in-depth interview. P3 stands on weak ground if we look at Malta alone.

7.2 Slovakia and Latvia Slovakia was especially interesting to when comparing the proposition. Only 13 % of the voters found their way to the election booths, the lowest across the EU. In comparison, there was a 50.5% turnout for the presidential election in the same year51. This correlates with the IDSCT score, raising interest in further and more specified research of the country. The political identity of Slovakia has been a mystery that many have tried to explain. For many years, Slovakia’s political perspective was limited because of their lack of experience and knowledge about how to exercise genuine autonomy (Vantysyn 200). As experienced in almost all Eastern European countries, the last 20 years of democratic tradition is not a long time to create a democratic tradition that makes the voters care about participating in the election. This is a pattern we see throughout the IDSCT score, where every country in the same tier except Ireland and Finland are former Eastern Bloc countries. However, there are some extraordinary considerations to take into consideration when debating the proposition of this thesis. Firstly, Slovakia’s situation in the 2014 election was a unique one. In a timespan of seven months, there were four national elections52. A national fatigue in a country with a short democratic factor could have influenced the election’s voter turnout and therefore explained the abysmally low turnout. The Gallup polls before the election anticipated around 20 percent turnout, being on the same level as it was back in 2009. There was also reason to believe that a period of nice weather also did not positively contribute to the result. However, although it explains the unusually low turnout, it does not say anything about the democratic culture of Slovakia. Latvia, too, demonstrates similarities with Slovakia. The countries both joined the EU in 2004, both have since adopted the single European currency, and both have only had independence for a little

51 52

Data taken from Five, in some situations, since some regions had to have two rounds.


under a quarter of a decade. Naturally, the political culture in those countries has not yet been established to fully optimise the EP election. The special aspects about Latvia are the drop in their turnout from 2009 to 2014, during which time Latvia experienced a drop from 54% down to 30.2%. The main reason for this, according the interviews, was a perceived lack of visibility, appreciation or understanding of what the European Union did for Latvia, depending on how one saw Latvia’s relationship with the EU. We see the same pattern in Slovakia, but with some noticeable differences. Latvia went through a financial crisis not long before the election in 2009, while the 2014 election happened in a period of economic recovery for Latvia. The country is divided in an ethnical separation when it comes to political affiliation. This has a significant overall impact upon the political culture of the country. However, it cannot fully explain the low IDSCT score and the low turnout as a whole. We need, therefore, to look at the main patterns between Slovakia and Latvia. Both countries share an electorate that does not seems to care as much as their European neighbours about the EU because many believe that it has little or no impact on their daily life. This was visualised in the low voter turnout of both countries. All the interview objects shared a belief that the election was not important. This again led to a political campaign wherein the focus on the political party’s agenda was less important than the focus on the candidates themselves. This was more evident in Latvia than in Slovakia (Interview Slovakia 7 July 2014 & Interview Latvia 1.7 October 2014), however, this was because political loyalty was higher in Slovakia. It is important to clarify in this scenario that Latvians also display a high degree of party loyalty. Historically however, this is based on an ethnical division whereby the voters choose the party which best represents their particular ethical segment. In Latvia, there is a chance that voter turnout will be negatively affected based on the fact that cultural minorities rejects the idea of the EU as whole53. Even though there seems to be disagreement within the countries on the subject of integration into the EU, all the interview objects agreed that the question of their respective country’s involvement in the election is not about saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the Union as whole. Rather, it is about the direction in which they want the Union to go. In all questions there seems to be an agreement that their country’s future is with the Union. So how does that fit into the P1 of the research question? Firstly, there is a clear overall pattern of the countries in the third tier of the IDSCT scale sharing a cultural history with a short-lived democratic tradition. To promote and integrate the 53


aspects of democracy as a part of national identity is vital for countries like Slovakia and Latvia. Both countries have liberal procedures when it comes to political parties and how they market themselves in a EP election. The more liberal rules have somewhat encouraged biased media coverage when it comes to promoting the different political candidates. In both countries, there were concerns that the liberal, and for the most part un-regulated, media culture serves only to benefit the already-established parties without actually bringing the debate topics of the EP election to the average voter. The campaign marketing was primarily based on national issues. This again can be a reason for which both Latvia and Slovakia have national primaries in the near future, and therefore the EP election can be seen as an opportunity for the involved participants to promote themselves for the national election. With these arguments, there is reason to believe that P1 is confirmed for the third tier, or at least not discounted. If we take a look at the voter turnout in the lower tier, we see a pattern of low percentages in the lowertier countries.

Figure 22: IDSCT low-tier Several of the participants mentioned the lack of political culture in many of the low-tier countries. Every one of the mentioned countries has a short history of Western democracy, with the exception of Ireland and Finland. The correlation between a short democratic history and low social participation is nothing new. Almond and Verba (1963) argued that lower levels of political participation are somehow correlated to cultural heritage. Although this was argued on a general scale and not between Westernand Eastern-Europe, there have been further studies that Western-European countries have higher levels of political engagement and assessment of the significance that politics has in a citizen’s life (Van Deth 2008). From the in-depth interviews, we see the same tendencies. There seems to be a consensus that there is a lack of concern from the voters on what difference a vote either way, or at all, in the election can make for them. If we take a look at P3 we see that there are many elements that support that there needs to be a more specified political effort in the marketing strategy. In Latvia


especially, there is a noticeable cultural difference between the political segments within the country. This is visualised in the political choice that the voters make when going to the election. The sources utilised in the interviews point out that the main differentiation between the voters occurs in an ethnocultural direction, more than in a political choice. In one specification, the voters choose between political differentiations in an already ethnically-divided political segment. In this instance, we can argue that P3 is correct. The first thing that is noticed when interviewing is that there is a consensus that the turnout was disappointing and below the low realistic expectation. The restriction on campaigning in the actual segment was offered as a reason for this. However, it was also pointed out that the structure established for the purpose of measuring the actual turnout in the elections was missing, especially in Latvia. The country has a high rate of the electorate moving to other countries for reasons of either work or student programs like Erasmus, something further proven by statistics (Lopez, Gratschew & Sullivan, 2011). In relation to P2, we see a clear consensus that there is lack of information when it comes to the election. The high loyalty of voters when it comes to making a decision is not a reason for the low turnout. The reason lies instead in the general lack of trust and/or interest in the institution of the EU.54 The second aspect is that in the selected segments, there was a high density of elections in the surrounding months. This has an influence upon P1, and also constitutes deciding a factor of P2. There was a general agreement that the low turnout delegitimises the election. The general question among voters was of whether or not the EP election held any relevance for them whatever the outcome, since there was little belief that it matters to the ordinary voter.55 This is a pattern we see throughout the continent. As a reaction, the political parties turn to creating an individual-based political campaign. In this way, political issues get down-prioritised, and the politicians themselves become the focus of promotional material. In countries like Latvia, there is an already clear deviation within the votersegment, since loyalty itself is not a key issue for this segment. On that basis, we can say that P2 is proven.

54 Interview Denmark 1: 26.2014. Interview Denmark 2: 4. August 2014. Interview Denmark 4: 4. August 2014. Interview Latvia 2: 7. Oktober 2014. Interview Slovakia 14 July 2014. 55


7.2.2 Summary: Slovakia and Latvia

P1, P2 and P3 can all be defended based on the research conducted. This correlates with the lower results these countries have on both the IDSCT scale, and the turnout.

7.3 The middle-tier, with a focus on Denmark Although this segment has a particular focus on Denmark, the author included in-depth interviews from German and Swedish participants to check that the correlation was not limited to Denmark. As a result of this, the conclusions can be affiliated with the middle-tier segment as a whole, as seen in Figure 24.

Figure 23: Middle-tier The concept of the purpose of the election was brought up by several of the interview objects. The question of political identity of the election was boiled down to that of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ the Union as a whole. This is nothing new in the political landscape. Euroscepticism is clearly visible amongst the electorate’s choice in the middle-tier countries. The literature defines Euroscepticism as “the idea of contingent or qualified opposition, as well as incorporating outright and unqualified opposition to the process of European integration” (Taggart, 1998). Although it is mentioned earlier, the political views to the different political parties are not in focus here. However, it must be admitted that the influence and importance the Euro-sceptic parties had in the 2009 and 2014 elections is of importance for the questions asked in this thesis, and are therefore brought up here to conclude the P1 of the research question. The special reflection in the Danish election was that it was a one-man-race56. In particular, the focus on the one candidate created a political marketing segment where it was perceived as one vs everyone election. If we refer back to the theoretical literature about political marketing, we see both Maarek (1995) and Kovolos & Harris (2005) argued that the primary difference between political and 56

Morten Messerschmidt in particular was either directly or indirectly mentioned in all the interviews as a deciding factor on the election outcome.


commercial marketing was that the main product, in political marketing, is the political identity. It can be argued that in this scenario that it was the Dansk Folkeparti main candidate Morten Messerschmidt who promoted himself as the visualisation of the production sold to the voters (consumers). If we look at the results in the Danish election57, and compare those to the promotion value that Messerschmidt received from the media, it can be argued that it therein lie some elements of truth. This is supported by the consensus of the interview participants that Messerschmidt represented the only main opposition view. (Interviews: Denmark 1, 26 June.2014; Denmark 2, 26.June 2014; Denmark 3. 26.June 2014; Denmark 4. 4 August 2014). The second element that was shared among the interviewees, both in Denmark and the other countries represented in this segment, was the perception that the EP election was only a test run for the next local and/or58 national election. The approach that Messerschmidt used in marketing himself towards the election, combined with the statements from the other interview candidates and the election results, promotes the idea that a more specified effort of political marketing will indeed give better results. However, it does not directly answer whether this more specified effort will increase the voter turnout as whole. In that respect, the interview candidates agreed that the focus on the media’s polarised approach created a political atmosphere in which the voters could easily recognise themselves get involved in the election. As such, and in this case, P1 cannot be disregarded. P2 had some particular coincidences when it came to the election calendar in all segments of the IDSCT analyse, with this also the affecting the middle tier, in particular in Denmark, where a local election had taken place only six months prior to the EP election. The message from the interviews was of a casual approach to the election from the political parties. Some reasons given for this were: 

There were only a few seats up for election (13 in Denmark, 20 in Sweden).

There was a perceived lack of interest from the media.

There was only one electoral district.

In particular, it was mentioned that it is difficult from Brussels for those elected to promote their work and influence the Danish society according the voters’ wishes. Most of the candidates interviewed had a large degree of freedom when it came to designing and promoting the candidacy for the election, and, 57

The political party that Morten Messerschmidt represented won the election, doubled their seats and increased their result by 10%. 58 Sweden uses the same event for both national and local elections.


with the exception of the main candidate (spitskandidat), these were often young, talented politicians deemed with a potential to one day run for office in the national parliament. There was an emphasis on promoting these young candidates in a bid to make them seem more familiar and recognisable should they indeed run for office in the future. This is a combination that does not correlate with the IDSCT score, in which Denmark, Sweden and Germany score in the highest-tier. These countries59 have a long tradition of respecting the ideals, values and importance of democracy. However, from an outside point of view it seems that this does not apply where the EP election is concerned. This is again reflected in the in the noticeably lower turnout in the EP election when compared to national and local elections. This does not defend P2, since it raises the proposition about voter turnout influencing voter behaviour, and not the other way around. However, it does raise some valid points in that, as is evidenced by each country’s turnout figures (as no country reported a 100% turnout), in every one room for improvement when it comes to focusing on the goal of increasing EP election turnout of the election. If we compare it to other elections, there is no reason to believe that Denmark or Sweden is in a particularly bad position. The interviewees was divided over this issue. While the majority of those interviewed agreed with P2, the minority were unsure. However, there was an agreement that it does affect the how the voters look at the election and the candidates. O’Shaughnessy (1990) argued that a voter’s loyalty and responsibility was not just a result of the political parties and the culture, but one of trust and loyalty towards the election as whole. In the Danish case, this is particularly true since there is an agreement that the approach to the voters is not efficient enough from the political parties involved.(Interviews: Denmark 1, 26 June.2014; Denmark 2, 26. June 2014; Denmark 3. 26. June 2014; Denmark 4. 7 July 2014; Denmark 5, 4. August 2014). This again leads to a lower voter turnout which a low level of loyalty (or a high level of apathy) from the voters. Although O’Shaughnessy’s (1990) theory is based on a political theory that wants to promote political marketing, the author does find it applicable in this proposition. As a result of this, there is a solid reason to believe that P2 is true for the middle tier, with a special focus on Denmark. As attention now turns to P3 of the research question, some valid supporting points have already been stated. As mentioned as an argument for P2, there are theories supporting that the view on the election itself, and the legitimation of it, is a major influencing factor when defining the overall political 59

Germany in this case West Germany before 1990.


behaviour of the individual voter. There was a broad agreement between the people interviewed that the promotion of the election itself was not at its full potential when it came to informing voters, and driving them to the voting booths. James Fowler (2007) promoted the idea that the voters also wanted to believe that their vote would make a social change in their lives. In both the Danish and Swedish cases there was a consensus that the votes did not matter in comparison to the national elections. There was no government to be formed, no clear issues were at stake, and no political agenda was to be decided. (Interviews: Denmark 1, 26 June.2014; Denmark 2, 26. June 2014; Denmark 3. 26. June 2014; Denmark 4. 7 July 2014; Denmark 5, 4. August 2014). The vote for change was more a necessity than it was a wish. The promotion of the election was also based on easy issues and a black and white perspective. The Eurosceptic viewpoints were, according to the interviews, pushed forward in the public debate and created an atmosphere that it was only two sides in play. A special note here was that this was a recurring theme in many countries, especially among the Nordic members of EU, where the political parties considered more sceptical to the Union as whole had achieved noticeable success attracting the voters60. The main concern was still not on the election itself, but the five year cycle between the EP elections. There was an agreement that the elected politicians had no clear strategy on how to maintain their mandate to the Danish and Swedish people. (Interview: Denmark 1, 26 June.2014; Denmark 2, 26. June 2014; Denmark 3. 26. June 2014; Denmark 4. 7 July 2014; Denmark 5, 4. August 2014; Sweden 14.July 2014).This combined with a government effort that did not bring up many new narratives in the public debate. It seems that the long election cycle creates feelings of apathy and irrelevance towards the system and the election that again affects the entire voter base. It does not seem that there is either a full-term strategy for the whole election period after becoming elected. (Denmark 1, 26 June.2014; Denmark 2, 26. June 2014; Sweden 14.July 2014; Germany;14.July 2014) From an outside perspective, it seems that neither the political parties nor the electorate sees the election as way to promote their vision of the society in which they want to live, but rather winning the election as a goal itself. There is a definite need for understanding and creating a political marketing strategy that does not end when the voting booth closes. On that note I will conclude that P3 is true. 60

Sweden saw Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats) represented with two representatives, while Perussuomalais (Finns Party) in Finland doubled their mandate. In Denmark, Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People’s Party) became the biggest party in the election.


7.3.1 Summary: Denmark, Sweden and Germany (Middle tier)

All three side propositions still stand on strong ground. However, although P1 did not directly get tested in specification with the middle-tier, there is strong reason to believe that it stands on its own ground in this segment also. P1, P2 and P3 are true.

8.0 Main analysis The conclusion of this thesis will be based on analysis of the different tiers analysed in the former section. However, to provide a sustainable foundation for the main question, this section will compare the different segments. This will help in answering the main question that is raised:

Is there a clear political voting identity in the European Union? If we consider the results we see that there is a clear pattern in the segments. The following results have been concluded.

Figure 24: The proposition chart. While there is a clear pattern in the first proposition, the fact that there needs to be stronger identification of voter behaviour is evident. This is not unexpected in the high-tier countries. Voterturnout has a strong correlation with the IDSCT score, and the need to promote research in understanding the voters is unnecessary, especially when you take into consideration the fact that two of the three countries classed in this tier have mandatory voting. This again forces the voters to the voting booth and removes the demand of creating a political marketing structure for the involved actors in the election. In the case of Malta there was a clear pattern of a strong political culture combined with a low population. It is also worth mentioning that, from a national point of view, the latest results have actually been lower than usual, and slightly disappointing for the organization.61 62 Either way, it 61


cannot be said that P3 promotes a common voting identity in the EU and is therefore rejected at this level. This is, however, no reason to reject the question as a whole. It can only be said that the influence voter behaviour has on political marketing is not relevant in promoting political identity. If we look at P1 and P2, it can be argued that there is a direct pattern between the three segments, and therefore the EU as a whole. There is a large potential when it comes to coordinating resources and in promoting the election and the running candidates. The effort used for campaigning seems uncoordinated and largely independent.( Denmark 1, 26 June.2014; Denmark 3, 26. June 2014; Latvia 2, and 7.October 2014). There was an impression that the election in most countries is something with which people must learn to become accustomed to. A central side-question asked was in reference to the collaboration with the pan-European parties represented in the parliament for the national candidates. In every case, there was an attitude that the manner in which the election was promoted was more in keeping with that of a national election, and even then there was some challenges in actually commercialising the candidates and the political parties. Especially in the third tier where there was focus on individual candidates that was personal resourceful. (Interview: Latvia 1.7.October 2014; Latvia 2.7.October 2014; Malta: 7.July 2014). If we look at ordinary marketing, we know that one of the main principles is to clarify the business objectives (Kotler 1975). In the EP election of 2014, there was very little evidence of coordinated marketing, or of attempts to promote the objectives of competing in the election at all. (Interview: Denmark 1. 26 June.2014; Denmark 2. 26. June 2014; Denmark 3. 26. June 2014; Denmark 4. 7 July 2014; Denmark 5, 4. August 2014; Slovakia.14.July 2014; Latvia 1.7.October 2014; Sweden 14.July 2014). The candidates interviewed in this research wanted to remove themselves from any attachment they had to the political parties in the EP, and rather focus on their national brand (Parties). According to existing marketing strategy theories (Kotler, 1975; O’Shaughnessy, 1990) this seems counter-productive if the main objective of being a participant in an election is to gain influence. The election as a whole lacks motivation, interest or engagement from everyone that is involved and this seems to affect the voters in return (Malta 7.July 2014; Denmark 5, 4. August 2014; Slovakia; 14.July 2014; Sweden 14.July 2014). Furthermore, we see clear divisions when it comes to the democratic culture of the different countries in the Union. In Denmark the result itself was disappointing, and there was a clear consensus that the lower turnout was demoralising for the political 62

Interviews: Denmark 3. 26. June 2014; Slovakia; 14.July 2014; Malta 7.July 2014;


parties, who wanted to promote the election. This led to less enthusiasm to promote the election to the voters, and continued the negative cycle that gets worse at each election. This was different than in the low-tier segment, where the approach had a more positive note. The attitude there was that low turnout was more a result of difficult cultural aspects. The main problem was in efficiently transmitting the message to get the voters to realise the importance with which they held the EU. In similarity with the middle-tier, the marketing campaign of the lower-tier was mainly focused on promoting the candidate with the most charisma and chance of attracting voters. There is a consensus that there is potential in all segments to change the approach on how they market the election as a whole. However, a lack of desire to create brand recognition specific to the European market is creating an atmosphere in which the sole focus is on the seller (politician) and not the product (political program). That the result, therefore, is an apathetic voter-base who do not identify with the political parties, instead choosing to stay at home on election day. This gives grounds to prove P2 correct. If we follow the theory of Wring (1997) and Butler & Collins (1999), the definition of political marketing included mapping different opinions in large demographic groups to promote solutions that will satisfy this group. In all tiers that have been researched in this thesis there seems to be a lack of willingness to adjust the messages and visual identities to accommodate the EP election. As a means of saving resources it seems that it the national political identity of the different parties receives only minor adjustment at the elections. The debate whether it is the communication (Maarek 1995) or the political platform (Kovolos and Harris, 2005) that is for sale at an election can be used to point out the flaws of the political marketing identity. Even if an academic consensus can be arrived at on this matter, it will not fit the actual approach in how the election is handled by the different political parties running for election. There is, as this thesis has made clear, a noticeable exception to this. In the Danish election there was one political actor who marketed the communication as an object for sale in the election. This again encouraged the media to promote and engage this communication and rhetoric, and as a result defined the identity of the debate, and furthermore the election as a whole. As mentioned earlier, the success of Dansk Folkeparti in the Danish part of the election and the rise of the Eurosceptic political parties in several countries supports the argument that P1 is true. However, this political phenomenon was mostly evident in the middle-tier countries. The correlation with the higher voter-turnout in this segment shows support in accepting that the promotion of the message in the election was valuable.


9.0 Discussion Political marketing occupies a central place in the overall political identity. However, in the case of the EP election there seems to be no coherent message or strategy. There is a common political voting identity in Europe, and it consists of a clear lack of trust in the system and the election itself. Both the political parties and the voters seems to look at the election as practice for the more important national elections. The qualitative interview highlighted a common view that the participating parties are promoting themselves without a clear structure and strategy by which to appeal to the voter segment. In several cases the political parties seemed to actually be content with promoting a yes/no approach to the EU and the election without even promoting their more specific political agenda. The research did not find any reasons to believe that the different parties did not have the information with which to identify the voter’s behaviour, or in that case specify their political marketing according to the identity of the election. The problem shown is the lack of will to adapt the marketing to the EP election itself. A consequence of this is that the voters seem to lack any interest in the election and either vote as a tradition, or abstain entirely. What we see then is two different perspectives on the process of political marketing at the EU election.

The focus during non-election periods seems to have the perspective on the political identity. Both the voters and the political participants (politicians, political parties etc.) have the same assumption on the political situation. However, when we reach the time of nominations and campaigning there seems to


be a deviation between voter and politicians. While the former does not seem to understand the situation, benefits or why it matters to vote, the latter do not sufficiently adopt their brand according to the election. Rather, they follow with the brand image that already is established for the national election. There are several possible reasons for this. First of all, in the case of the zero-sum market, each vote counts more and more. There seemed to be some hesitation on redeveloping the brand, since the already loyal voters could be scared of a clear political identity in a field that they either disagree with, or lack sufficient knowledge to have an opinion. Lees-Marshment (2009) took up the issue that the political parties fear that a political marketing strategy will lead to an end of their specified ideology, where political stances will be sacrificed so that they can reach out to as many voters as possible. Savigny (2006) argued that the rise of political marketing has led parties to adopt political marketing as a part of their own identity. In the case of the EP election it seemed that political marketing of their brand was not deemed an essential part of the overall strategy. Rather, there seemed to be no coherent strategy adapted to the EP election, and as a result the default choice of a political party was to resurrect the same strategy used in the national election with which to promote themselves. While Lilleker and Lees-Marshment (2009) discussed that the effectiveness of a political marketing cannot just be adapted from one segment to another, the resources demanded to promote two different brands and marketing identity strategies was not defendable according to the political participants. The political identity of national political parties is based on years, if not decades, of shaping their identity according to national issues and cultural context. To start adopting the same principles in a European context is a risky and ineffective task for many of the political parties, particularly those who have positioned themselves as Eurosceptic, since the expertise and the experience will be divided. Lees-Marshment (2001) argues in that sense that the implementation of a new visual and political identity is difficult since the political parties only consider the reaction from their internal market as, after all, they are the only ones who can vote for them. The result can be that instead of consolidating power in one segment, you end up without political representation in two different segments, either by missing the point on two fronts or dividing resources too thinly. It is easier and more efficient, then, just to adopt a national political stance with some minor adjustment towards the European issues, as has been demonstrated by many of the political parties in the middle-tier countries.


Understandably, the voters mirror the sentiment, showing less enthusiasm for the election, and therefore boycotting it out of apathy or just voting in the same political direction that they would in a national election. As mentioned earlier, a side-effect is the protest voting, which will be discussed in more detail shortly.

Political neglection

Lower voter turnout

Voter apathy

Figure 26: The negative cycle of the EU election In accordance with the relevant models, the lack of knowledge on the personal gain encourages people not to vote. This argument is supported in the voter behaviour section of the literature review, where every one of the theories has a strong focus on personal gain achieved by evaluating and then choosing voting one way over another. The lack of necessary information required to actually make this decision makes people more inclined to stay at home than waste their vote on a political stance they do not know enough about, or do not feel will give them a sufficient sense of vote maximisation. In that case, we can argue that the marketing communication and campaigning has failed to create interest in the election as a whole. The other effect of this is the political protest election; whereby political parties that represent a sceptical view towards the EU as a whole get a boost in the polls in comparison to the national election. This effect can happen because of many different reasons, but the result is that it creates a sentiment that is negative and/or critical towards the EU.

Political party UKIP (UK)


Result national elections

Result EUelection


3.1 % (2010)

27.5 %

24.4 %

Dansk.Fol (DNK) Front National (FRA)

12.3 (2011)


14.3 %

13.6 % (2012)

24.86 %


Figure 27: Results, Eurosceptic parties63 To summarise the main question. Does the EU have a common political marketing identity? The answer is yes, albeit with a hesitation. The biggest trait of this identity was the general lack throughout the whole line to even approach the European market as a whole. All of those interviewed showed a hesitation to change their chosen brand to outside their national borders. In contrast to the rules of commercial marketing, there seems to be no desire to expand their marketing strategy and core goals beyond the voters that will only directly vote for them.

The focus on the pan-European political parties is non-existent, and there seems to be no initiative to engage in rebranding the national parties into also promoting pan-European brand awareness. In some aspects, this is understandable, since such a strategy can also promote or endorse direct competitors that also have allegiances under the same pan-European party. This was the case of Radikale Venstre and Venstre in Denmark, who both had ties to ALDE.(Interview: Denmark 1, 26 June.2014; Denmark 2, 26. June 2014) Both parties share a common general political ideology. They is not only competitors, but competition for the same voter segment of the Danish market. The internal challenge stops the promotion of calibrating a combined effort to the voters of Europe as a whole. The voting behaviour models described in this thesis cannot be directly implemented for the European market. While many of them are based on voting behaviour in the United States, so share, in principle, a common trait with a united Europe, it is the author’s belief that these models alone are insufficient as an explanatory tool in allowing us to understand the factors involved in European political marketing identity. Binzer Hobolt (2005) suggested that the main focus in the EP referendum was the political awareness of Europeans as a whole. According to the interviews conducted for this reseach, this was only true in some sense. While the majority of voters already do not identify with a particular political offering, or cannot see the importance of voting at all, the ones that go to the voting booth can be separated into


The graph does not represent or promote any political similarities beyond the self-identified Eurosceptic visual identity.


two different categories - those that “protest” European integration and those that solely vote for partisanship reasons. There seemed to be a consensus among the interviewees that of the ones who make a voting decision, only a tiny fragment make a decision according to the political ideology of the pan-European parties. This is further backed up by statistics concerned with the EP in 2009, where 24% of those who voted said they did it because of national partisanship64. In the last segment, the national political situation also has an impact on the decision the voters make for the EP election.

Attitudes towards European integration.

Salience of the campaign

Partisanship to national parties

Voting behaviour in election.

Government satisfaction Figure 28: Model of voting behaviour in EP elections. Adopted from Hobolt (2005)

10.0 Conclusion It is easy to promise certain things before the election that might not be possible to deliver as soon as political power is gained. In that aspect, political marketing is not just about promising to achieve what voters want, but also in ensuring that the product is achievable (Lees-Marshment, 2009). If these conditions are not met, the voters might not trust the political product the next time around. Although the national and European parliaments are different when it comes to the political product, it is easy to see that the voter does not make that distinction when going to the voting booths. The homogenous market of the EU is complex. In a contradictive statement, it can be said that the lack of promoting European values is the most common identity in the political marketing segment of Europe. With no co-operative use of resources and expertise amongst different national parties sharing the same fundamental ideology, there can be no place from which to start a theoretical framework 64


applicable to the market as a whole. As a result of different sporadic and un-coordinated campaigns in each nation, the overall message gets lost in diffuse and national sentiment. Currently, the only successful method in the war against declining voter turnout is to implement mandatory voting.

11.0 Further research The topic of political marketing in this context was limited and the analytical tools available by which to draw a solid analysis were almost non-existent. The author believes that there is room for improvement when it comes to the IDSCT model. The choosing of the specific categories within the model was based upon what the author believed was important to highlight and to get a full context. A more structured approach to choose these categories could potentially increase the efficiency of the results. The idea of using a model based on the PESTEL analysis comes with its own concerns, since it was not built for this exact purpose. It is suggested that discussing and trying to promote a more specific framework for analysing homogenous political segments would be beneficial for a more accurate research.

The scope of this thesis is too large for the author to get a full picture of and therefore some necessary limitations needed to be taken into account. The quality sample of this thesis provided a valuable input for testing the proposition. However, the author believes that providing a quantitative sample from the voter’s perspective by which to compare the results from the quantitative approach could give a bigger perspective on the results for this thesis, and a more accurate analysis. The proposition could be structured differently, as the political voter behaviour approach towards political marketing was theoretically weaker and more difficult to defend in relation to the whole question. The biggest problem, however, was the general lack of sources that acknowledge the EP election in its own right. Instead we see promotion of 27 different elections all sending the preferred candidate to the same location. Further and more extensive exploration of the voters’ views and behaviour towards the EP election, in conjunction with a comparison of the political participants’ exploration could provide subsequent research with valuable insight for promoting and increasing the turnout for the elections. Furthermore,


it might lay the groundwork for future theoretical marketing literature based on approaching the heterogeneous market that is the European market. Finally, the author also wants to bring attention to ethics as an integral part of the thesis. Arguably, it can be said that no other area can damage the results more than of lack of ethics and reliable data. The author felt it was necessary to promote and inform of the ethical concern in this topic, but it was not, however, a vital part of this thesis. The use of recommended political and marketing strategies should be done with a heavy emphasis on the use of ethical and moral concerns to mirror those expected in all democratic processes.


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13.0 Appendices Youth voter turnout (%)



18-24 37 91 90 79 28 65 59 28 20 36 21 46 53 28 25 39 54 46 35 43 41 44 45 40 60 37 59

Diff 39 92 88 77 23 59 53 21 13 28 12 36 41 15 12 25 39 31 20 27 25 27 27 21 39 14 31

2 1 -2 -2 -5 -6 -6 -7 -7 -8 -9 -10 -12 -13 -13 -14 -15 -15 -15 -16 -16 -17 -18 -19 -21 -23 -28

Numbers for the regression analyse figure 16: Regression Statistics Multiple R 0,720 R Square 0,518 Adjusted R Square 0,499 Standard Error 1,415 Observations 27

ANOVA Regression Residual


df 1,000 25,000

SS 53,782 50,069

MS 53,782 2,003

F 26,854

Sign.f 0,000




Intercept X Variable 1

Coec 5,5636 7,6052

Std.err 0,730 1,468

t Stat P-value 7,620 0,000 5,182 0,000

Lower 95%

4,060 4,583

Upper 95%

7,067 10,628

Lower 95,0%

4,060 4,583

Upper 95,0%

7,067 10,628

Numbers for the regression analyse, figure 19: SUMMARY OUTPUT Regression Statistics Multiple R R Square Adjusted R Square Standard Error Observations

0,720 0,518 0,499 1,415 27

ANOVA df Regression Residual Total

Intercept X Variable 1

1,000 25,000 26,000

SS 53,782 50,069 103,852

Coefficients Standard Error 5,5636 0,730 7,6052 1,468

MS 53,782 2,003

F Significance F 26,854 0,000

t Stat 7,620 5,182

P-value Lower 95% 0,000 4,060 0,000 4,583

Upper 95% Lower 95,0% Upper 95,0% 7,067 4,060 7,067 10,628 4,583 10,628

Interview Guide: Purpose: I am writing my master’s thesis and are currently conducting a qualitative study in the form of a focus group interview. Session: Approx. 1 hour Semi - structured Respondent: 4-5 persons (?) Main topics: 1. Political marketing in a European market. 2. Lower voter-turnout vs lover voter behaviour 3. The efficiency of reaching out the European voter.


Introduction: My thesis concerns factors that influences the political voter-behaviour in the European elections, and if these have any correlations to the different political marketing identity. In that matter I hope that you can participate in an in-depth interview. Opening question: Part 1: Can you define a political marketing identity in the European election? Do you believe that political marketing is important for elections? Has how to send the message become more important than the message? Part 2: Do you believe that the lower voter-turnout delegitimize the European election. What do you think is the reason that there is so huge difference between voter turnouts in different segment? Do you think if people understand more what the candidate stands for (voter-behaviour) it is more likely to vote? Part 3: Do the candidates do enough to reach out to the voter? Is there a general lack of information of the election and the candidates? Closing question: Is there any aspect that I neglected, when it comes to the general question if there is a clear political voting identity in the European Union?


14.0 Interview transcripts Every transcripts follow the pattern of the interviewer = A and the one being interviewed = I

Malta A: Thank you for meeting me. My thesis concerns factors that influence the political voter behaviour in the European elections and if these have any correlations to the different political marketing identity. The interview itself will not take more than 30-45 minutes and is divided into three segments. Feel free to stop at any time if you have any clarifying questions. This is an open interview so talk about what you feel is important.

My first question is can you define a political market identity in Malta. What is special about campaigning and going to election to Malta? I: I define political campaign in Malta from different fractions. There is the one-to-one connections between the candidates and the people. The fact that the people wants to meet the candidate, they want to know the person before they vote. Due to the very small size of the island, the candidates can meet people in the houses. That was the old style of campaigning in Malta. Now there is internet political campaigning in Malta. It is very important for candidates to have a very active facebook profile, or a twitter profile. a lot of political marketing is done through that part of media. Except the TV aspect, that is also important, but now considered old media. A: Do you feel there are any difference campaigning for the national parliament than the European parliament? Are there different rules you have to take into consideration? I: For both of them are physical appearance important and the use of social media. In the Malta parliament election, we have different districts, while for the European parliament election. The country is one district. That makes a huge difference. The efforts needed are much more than in the local elections. So there is a kind of difference. A: In what ways do you believe that political marketing has influenced European elections? What do you have to focus on the Europeans elections? What kind of topics? I: Unfortunately, I do not think believe political marketing in the European issues really matter. The people are only interested in the local issues. That I think is very sad. It was the first election to parliament where European issues. People where only interested in local issues, and I think is sad since I was hoped that they would discuss European issues. A: Too, follow that statement, did you have to change the marketing campaign accordance to what the voters wanted. Like they only wanted to know about local issues. I: Yes, I think in fact one of that changes was to made in the campaign was to try to inform the voters more about Europe and the union, however that was necessary to have a local profile.


(Hidden transcript. Anonymity) Ed: The transcript is changed to accodaminate e for the wishes of neutrality by the interviewee. A: Did you have any contact with the Pan-European coalition that your party belonged too? I: No, my candidate had discussion and dialogue with the Pan-European party, and attending congress and adopting the political manifesto. When discussed European issues there was the Pan-European party views that were promoted. A: So, it was not a solo-run, you did coordinate it with the pan-European party? I: Yes A: In what way do you believe political marketing was responsible for the voter-turnout in Malta? Was it campaigning or something else. I: Because in malta, people generally go to vote more. In the general election, the voter turnout would 95-96 % , where in the EUP its more than 20% less, its terrible for the EU. For us its small. So I believe that political campaigning for these elections does not really work. A: Malta have the biggest turnout if we remove the mandatory voting countries. I: I understand its difficult understand, but for us it’s a completely different scenario. A: So if I understand you correct, the EUP does not have such big importance as the national elections. I: Yes, because you have to compare it too other countries, but too the national election one year ago, and then it was 95%, it makes a difference A: I understand. We are starting to be done with the first part with political marketing. Is it anything more that you feel is important to mention? I: Yes, I think that paid adverts does not work anymore in Malta. The fact that you put an advert in newspaper, facebook and so on. I don’t think it works. Its more the message the candidate that tries to conveye that works. A: Do you feel that there is a use of political marketing in Malta? I: The advisement part, but it is important to have a visibility of the candidate.7 PART 2: A: (Standard mentioning of the difference between political voter-turnout and voter-behaviour)


A: Do you feel that the lower voter-turnout delegitimize the importance of the EUPE? Do you feel that Malta does not it take it seriously. I: Yes unfortunately. I believe it does. People are not informed sufficiently about EU. They just do not know certain things. That is why they do not go to vote. It is a problem because it means that the communication part. The message of EU is not reaching out to the voter. A: If I can ask, what do you think the average think about voting for the European election? Do they take it seriously? I: It is more they do not care. They feel it does concern or affect them. That is the kind of mentality. A: To what do you attribute this disparity for? I: The problem I think is the problem of distance. They feel that they have more connection with the local politicians. The distance is too far that they think. A: Do you believe this is true or just an opinion that the voters have. I: I think it is just an opinion. Because many important decision is taken in Brussel, and people need to get know more about it, so they do not feel its too far. A: Is the general debate around the European parliament election a Yes or no to EU, or its more about the more specific aspects of EU. I: As I said before, it was more about local issues. It was less talk about who should be President of the European commission and so on. I think it was only about local issues. A: In other countries, it could be interpreted that the election was more about yes or no in EU. Was that the case in Malta? (Ref UK) I: No, in Malta the debate was settled 10 years ago and it have not come back. The mentality is that were are in the EU. However, the person that got the most vote of all the candidates, was the person that campaigned against the EU 10 years ago. That is remarkable. However the mentality was that we were in EU to stay. I can’t understand or explain that. A: Do you believe that if you got the profilate to know more about EU as whole, would likely to increase the turnout in Malta? I: Yes definitely, that is what we should focus on, because more knowledge will get more people vote. A: Is money a strong factor for electoral success in Malta?


I: Look, I don’t know how it is other countries, but in Malta there is a limit. Candidates cant use more than 18.000 euros for their campaign. And that starts the day get nominated for the election. A: So its more about the message. Its not about the quanitity of the message? I: Its illegal to to use more than 18.000 euros, so that it would be impossible to dominate the advertising space. A: Do you believe that the government can do more to inform the voters about the elections? I: Yes definitely. A: Can you expand on that? I: I believe that more information about what EU does and more information on how the EU can infact influence your life and our country. They need to give more information the countries affect eachother. Even though the crisis have not affected Malta, it could have, so its important to have European interaction to lead the continent. A: Malta voter segment is about 300.000, is it anything special you have to into consideration when it so few people too fight for the votes for. I: That fact that there is so few people makes it harder, because they expect more of you. They expect too see and know you. They don’t see you as the President, they expect to talk to you and hear your problems. A: Anything more you want to add on voter-turnout. I: No, I don’t think so. PART 3. A: In Malta do you feel that the people are voting for the candidate or the party? I: That is a interesting question. Because contrary in general elections where people are more interested to vote the political party, in the EUPE it is the candidate that counts. They wants the right candidate that is knowledge about the EU. They are not interested in the party. A: Do you think that the political parties do enough to reach out the voter. I: Yes, as I mentioned before the whole country choose the same candidate. They do a lot to meet people and to be around everywhere. A: Do you feel that also inform about the European Union, and not only about their own party in the election.


I: Yes, the political parties do a lot to inform voters about the importance about the elections. Our voters wants to know communicate with the candidate to ask question. And the candidates are often answering to be connected with the voter. A: So the politicians and candidate are real connected with the voters? I: Yes. A: Do you feel there is lack of information about the election, and what the candidates stand for in the election? I: I think that people cant get to the candidate because they don’t want to. Its easy to get too candidate and get information. A: It’s a culture thing that they don’t want to know about the candidate? I: Its lot information about election in the media, in newspaper about the candidates and the election. A: So no lack of information then? I: Absolutely not? A: In accordance with the negative equilibrium with the national election, what can the parties do too make sure that the voters in informed enough to make an qualified decision? I: I think that the party has to inform more about the EU and more the system. I think they don’t vote because they do not more about EU and therefore have no interest. A: So there is a general lack of information about EU in the society? I: Yes? A: Is there anything more about that you want to say voter behaviour or anything else that you feel that can shed a light about voter turnout and European election. I: I think the example of Malta is very special because in other countries I do not believe that there are so much contact between candidate and voters. I think in a bigger degree that candidates should be more connected with the voters. Its also very difficult for the candidates themselves. Because it would be much more difficult to change the votes since the political attachment is based on personal relationship more than political agreement. A follow-up to that. Is Maltese voter loyal to the party? I: Yes I believe that 80% of the voters are loyal to the two main parties in Malta.


A: How easy is it for a new Maltese party to break through in Malta? I: O% The voting system and the cultural party history makes it all about impossible to get new parties. For example, it took few days to calculate our six candidates for EUPE since the voting-laws is so complex. A: So there is a choice between two parties? I: In the EUBE there is many parties, seven I think. But there is difficult for them to get elected, with high turnout and loyal partybase it makes it very difficult. (Practial non-relevant question) A: Then we starting to wrap up, anthying more that you feel Is important too say in relevance with this. I: No, I don’t think so. A: Then we are done. First of all. Thank you. I will start to analyse this. I you want I will be happy to send you a copy when its done. I: Yes please. A: Okay, then I am ending this recording. END OF TRANSCRIPT. Slovakia A: Thank you for meeting me. My thesis concern factors that influence political voter behaviour in the European election, and if they have any correlation to a different political marketing identity. First, can you define marketing identity in the European when it comes to Slovakia? Is there anything you have to different? I: Well, first, in terms for marketing in the European election in Slovakia, I must say you can see that the turnout and it have been same in the European election. It has been very low, because European Union itself has not been marketed well. That reflects in the election. Brussel for the most part of Slovakia is a very distant term. They do not see the EU as taking relevant decision for the country; therefore, they are not very interested. One the facts why I think it is this way is because the political parties not doing a very good job in promoting the work of the EU. The recent election have been the lowest out of all, more is being done promoting the work EU. For example, the elected politician will now have to report the national parliament to show the work they are doing. A: Do you have to approach in some different way? Like you don’t have to do the same things Is in the national election when it comes to promoting the national. I: I have not run in the national election before, so I can’t tell from a personal perspective.


A: If not from personal experience, can you tell a little bit from an outside experience. I: There is much emphasis put into the national and local government. The European election is much less marketed compared to the other election in the country. A: In what way do believe political marketing influences European elections? What do you have to do promote yourself in that kind of environment? I: Basically our party tries to show to our people how important European decisions are for the people, example we were trying to highlight the European investment that is going into the country. We want to show that we got money from Brussel, that our roads were repaired. We were trying to show what impact on the daily life of the Slovakian. We are trying to compare it to regional elections where politicans is much more personal and can show what they do for the people. The MEP are not that close. We are trying to show the possibilities that having a MEP with local attachments can do to for the neighbourhood. I: Does government try to support the election. Do they give resources to promote the political parties? A: The political party does not get resources from the government to promote themselves. There was a couple of initiatives from the European commission in Slovakia to promote the elections. There were working with NGO to promote it. A: Do you would felt it was difficult to campaigning in Slovakia, when it comes to resources and access to media and so on? I: From my perspective it gone be a little different. From a non-governmental party it’s difficult to get into the media. National media and debate have rules to let every party speak. Talking about parties that are governmental parties, they do get more media coverage. They started the campaign several weeks before. They have had more resources. Regarding finances, in Slovakia as a party, you get a certain amount of money based on the percent of votes in the national government elections. In the European election you get nothing. You are responsible from your own resources. Most parties raises from their own members. A: That made it more difficult for political party. I: Yes that makes it difficult from all non-government parties. A: How many of them was that. I: There was a record number for political parties. 29 political parties campaigned for the european parliament. Out of those 29, we had 27 non-governmental-parties. A: We are starting to end the political marketing part. Are there anything you want to add about political marketing aspects in Slovakia? I: Well, I must say there is one thing I would like to add. The European election are not very put forward by the government. There must be much more work put in by the government and more emphasis should be put


forward on the European election. It should by the government together with the MEP to highlight the union throughout the electoral, not just a couple months before the election. PART 2 A: Do you feel that the lower voter turnout in Slovakia delegitimizes the European election? I: On one side I am little bit surprised by the low turnout. If you look at how many pro-european parties how many people and we are pro-european people there are, the number says 50%. Therefore, it is strange that only 13% voted. The other fact are several. The weather was beatiful on the Election Day, many people wanted to enjoyt that. The second thing, the work as MEP are not very well marketed as we spoke before. A: Do you what do add disparity voter-turnout in neighbour countries and Slovakia? Is there something special that makes Slovakia the worst in the class? I: It is about I do not care about European Union and that Brussel does not concern me. That was the answer I got most of the time in the campaing. A: Do you feel that more political informed voter-base is more likely to vote in the election. I: That is one thing; the other thing is that in the past the election were in may. We had two rounds of presidential election in February, and we had regional elections in November. That means in the timespan of seven months you had to go the voting booths four of five, depending on the regional elections had to be in two rounds. Some regions had five elections in seven months. Some people just was tired of voting. If you take into consideration that we have another election, we are talking 6 elections in one year! A: The high density of the election was some of the reason for the low voter turnout? I: Yes, we called it the super-electorate year. That is just one of the biggest factors for the further decline. Partiality it was also lack of interest. The other thing we had national election in 2012, where the government did not succeed the vote of confidence, so we had another election there. Since that there have trend that people being disgusted by the completely political system. The second one is that people are feed up by the elections. The third one is that people does not see Brussel as important. These three factors are the most important of the low turnout. A: We are starting to end the voter-turnout segment. Are there anything more that you feel is important to mention that can shed a light about the current situation in Slovakia? I: Even though we expected a low turnout, it was surprising. We thought it would be 20% at the beginning. It was lower than everyone expected in the country was. It was surprising for everyone. A: In general, is there a high voter-loyalty in Slovakia? I: Yes, that is something that has being going in Slovakia ever since we became a republic twenty years ago. A leading party that had affiliation of voters too are going to booth and vote for the same party no matter what. It


have come to a point that some of the voters have quit since the established parties have a very strong support. These parties’ uses lots of work to get people to vote. A: How is the situation national? Is it a two-party state? I: Social democrats have been nr 1 for the past 18 years. They have been in government for the last four years. Wait a sec (Pause in recording) I: We have two parties that are the strongest, (Social democrats and Christian democrats) and then we have 5 parties that is in the second tier. Then we a couple of new parties that are a collection of people that often does not have party program, but are individuals that stick together to have more power. A: When we talk about loyalty to political parties, is that something that they take with them to the european election? I: Yes very much. Part 3: A: If we talk a little bit about voter behaviour, do they vote for the political party or the candidate? I: In 70% they vote for the party. A: How important is the front candidate for the poltical party. How important is he or she for the success in the election. I: As I said 70% vote for the party, out of the 13 MEP that we had, 11 were the number 1 or 2 on the list. In Slovakia, you first vote the party. You come to the election, take a list and the chosen party. Then you can vote for a personal candidate on that list. Moving forward up the list happened in only two parties. A: So it does not happen so much? I: It happens more in the national election, but not frequently. The Slovakian parliament have 150 seats, so every party can have 150 candidates on the list. One person was number 111, and jumped up to a safe seat. Only a few of them have charisma and personal support enough to jump high. A: Are there many celebrity and so on that tries to do that? I: One party put a celebrity on the list, but in this unsuccessful. A: Do you feel that the political debate in Slovakia was a yes or no debate, or more about the current issues in EU? I: It was neither, most of the question in the election that was issues that belonged in the national debate. The question was not related or distant related to the European parliament.


A: So there was no debate about staying or yes or no to EU. I: No, there was no question about the membership. It was never even asked. Its basically to do with Slovakia is one of the most pro-European parties. A: So I can conclude with that the voter turnout is not about EU itself but more apathy in the voter segment. I: Absolutely! A: Does the candidates inform the voters about the importance of the election? I: No they don’t, a few of them do, buts it’s very little. A: Do you believe there is a lack of information about election as whole. I: yes A: What can the political parties do to encourage more people start voting? I: If I can go back to the previous question first. Some of them does not reach out because they rely of the fundamental voter. The second question is what they can do? In Slovakia the campaign only starts a couple of months before the election. We need to start earlier. A: Does the government do enough to inform the election? I: Yes, they do inform on where and when you can vote. But they do not inform enough about what the political parties stand for and what EU does. A: Is media doing a good enough job to inform about the election and the political parties. I: About the election,. When it comes too bias and unbiased coverage in media it’s a sensitive topic. In general, media is biased. Media have political affiliation. Therefore its non-governmental parties to get into media. Its virtual impossible to get media coverage. A: I am starting to end voter behaviour, is there more that you wanted to say for the perspective as whole that we have not mentioned. I: No, at the moment I can’t think of anything else. If I think of anything else I will contact you. A: Super, thanks for the interview. I will be analysing this and send you a copy when I am done. I will be ending the recording here. Denmark 1 A: First of all, thank you for the time to meet with me. As I said, my thesis concerns political marketing in the European context. I am interviewing political candidates to see what they believe is important according to political marketing, voter behaviour and voter turnout. As a political candidate your perspective is important to get an understanding of the whole situation.


I: What’s the difference between voter turnout and voter behaviour. A: The difference is that voter turnout is more about why people go to vote and voter behaviour is who people are voting for. I: okay A: First question. Can you define a political marketing identity in the European Union. Where there something that could be done different in the European election? I: Because the constituency in the European election is much larger than the folketing election, you could be more specific on certain subjects. In a national election the only people that can vote for you is you nearby geographical area. Where as in the European election you have all of Denmark. A: Did you feel there was anything different when going into the election to the European election? I. I have never stood for election in the national parliament. But i have worked with European union things for many years. For me i was concentrating on stuff that the European parliament could do something with. I was expressing my opinion on things that are determined by the members states. Its important to have danish issues in European context. I was concentrating on stuff like trade with other countries, surveillance. Things where European parliament has not so much influence but have highlighted and had hearings about. This shows that the European parliament have a distinguished role in the European parliament. A: Did you believe political marketing was something that was universal for a Folketing election, or was it different election. I: I think it was a different election. It had the same politicians, the same parties and so on. But when i talked to Danes that lived in other countries, i felt that they were not represented in the issues since they were not allowed in the EU election. However immigrants had the right to vote for the EU election if they lived in Denmark. I was trying to set time for all them, but unfortunately i did not have enough time to address the European citizens that lived in Denmark. A: So you felt it was not the voter segment you were fighting for as in a national election. I: To some degree it’s the same. it’s the same kind of political flavor that we are marketing when we are at the European election as in the national ones. But since there are more people that can vote and there is a larger constituency you can be more specific on certain subjects. I could be more technical and more sort of expert role than i could on a national election. of course it’s only a guess. And i think alos i was able to say okay, i have a lot people on twitter to follow me. If i market myself on these subjects area that i know i have a captive audience on, they would be interested in this. My identity is as someone that is often online, so if i was for example a farmer i could say that i know all the people in the agriculture and local community and would focus my attention on this. A: When you say twitter and social media, was that a deliberate strategy or a own initiative to promote your campaign there?


I: That was my own initiative. Because i am very digital and i thought i would appeal to people like me easier than people that are different than me. So i thought, how would i engage people? I would do that online. A: The political marketing structure, you said that you did on own initiative. You feel that the structure and cultural political marketing from the political party had some responsibility for the lower voter turnout in Denmark? I: So the question if the lack of political marketing are responsible for a low voter-turnout? A: Yes, you said that social media was your own initiative, so i am asking if political marketing has some kind of responsibility for the voter-turnout in the election? I: Its not so much lack of political marketing, because it was a lot of ads on the street and in the papers. All of these traditional media, and it was quite alot on Television. European election is not seen as important as national election even though they are just as important or more important. You get a lower number of seats and therefore less people running. People does not know the people that running. If people know the person taht are running they will get more personal votes. You have the same tendency in the national election, but because you have smaller constituency you are forced to look further down the list. In the European election you can vote for the top candidate. If you take a look at the work from Simon Hix, he has talked about this. If you look at his theories he will say that Denmark is a little bit larger than what he would considered optimal size. 5,2 million is slightly larger than it should be and creates a political sphere where you have political celebrities and not focus on topics. This can also have an impact on the political marketing. A: In aspect of political marketing in the European Union, is there more you would like to share a light on? I: Well, people don't know what their votes will changes. If they are unhappy of the current situation they do not know what it would do to vote in the European election. Its more difficult for the voter to find a mainstream party to vote for and at the same time saying that they will have change. I think this have a influence on the low voter-turnout. If the voter feel that they cant change stuff, they will not vote. A lot of people that i talked with also said they would not vote, because it gave credibility to the EU, and therefore they will not vote. End of part 1 A: The lower voter-turnout. Do you think it delegitimize the importance of the European election? I: No, i do NOT actually think so. I think it is always a lot of talk about it. A lot of people saying that since people are not voting, Europe is not a democracy. If you look at the voter-turnout its different from member states and between the national and EU-election. We have a high voter-turnout in the Danish elections, but in a lot of the countries its actually the same between national and EU. I think it is also the proximity with participants in Denmark and the feeling that you can change things that makes the difference A: Do you feel that the difference between the different countries when it comes to voter-turnout have some particular reasons? I: I don't quite know the situation is in Slovenia, but in countries such as France, Germany where you have closed lists, it diminishes voter-turnout. It also diminishes the efforts done by the individual candidates from promoting themselves. The only thing that is matters in a closed list system is how much you can market


yourself internally in the party. In Denmark and other places where you have open lists, it gives a signal to the voters that their votes matters not just for the political party, but also for the candidates. In countries where you have binary political cultures. Red and blue two-parties where it is difficult for smaller parties to get influence you have less involvement in politics. In Denmark smaller parties can actually make a difference. A: Just a information question? Did you have any contact with your Pan-European sister party? I: They had emails they were sending out, but something went wrong so we did not get all of them. I was in touch with our Netherlands sister party. I was in touch with members of our Swedish sister party. A: Was that own initiative or was it coordinated by the Pan-European sister party. I: They had an election campaign. They had an app and was tweeting about the different national parties. They had info graphics and lots of different things. In Denmark we have to members of the Pan-European parties that are competitors. Therefore it was more difficult for us to use their material directly. Its easier for danish parties that does not have any competitors in the same umbrella. I participated in all the conferences and made some networking that i used during the campaign. I could probably used it more, but lack of time made it difficult. A: Do you think it would be better if it was the Pan-European and not the national parties that participated in the EU-election? I: I don't think it would be better, but i think more of us should be inspired by European colleges. I get more inspired by international colleagues than the ones in Denmark. Not so many people in Denmark is so active in the European politics in Denmark. A: Do you believe that a more political informed proletariat is more likely to increase the voter-turnout in the election? I: I think information wont help. You wont get people to vote if you inform them on how things work. People will vote if you say that you can go out and change things. And people will vote if you are passionate about what you are doing. Nobody goes out to vote for the municipality election because they know how it works. You vote because you wont to change stuff. A: Now we are almost done with the voter-turnout. Are there anything more you would like to say about this segment? I: If you have good candidates that people and that can get people fire up and vote, that can make a difference. The problem is that most people, and most candidates, they put more emphasis on the national election. Therefore you have the second division politicians that participate. You have much fewer seats in the European parliament than the national parliament. I find it difficult too see how this can change. One of the things that could change it, was it if you had more more European politics in national politics. Not having it as foreign policy but as national policy. Getting better politicians running and get more passion about the benefits of the election. End of part 2.


A: Then we go the last part that is voter behaviour. This is more about not just how to get them to vote, but how they are going to vote for you. Do you believe that the candidates do enough to reach out the voters? I: No, obviously they don't. You have low turnout and a low passion about this. We got a lower turnout than the national election, and we only got 6.5% at the election. We need to tell the voters what we want change. I dont think you can get to people to vote for you if you just promise them much of the same. I think you need show not only the things about but also what are unhappy about and how you can change that. You can show what makes you different from other parties. You need a clear vision for what you want for Europe, and you need to communicate it clearly for Europe. it must be personalized but with the identity of the party line. You need to speak clearly and knowledgeable. A: How important is it the candidates for the election? I: A lot of people did not know about the European election, so we put the posters up. Even then it was reaction that people believed there was national election. We could include date and short information on our campaign. I could have done more on my social media profile when it came to date and so on. Concerning the candidates themselves, people are voting for somebody they trust make the right decision. So therefore it is very important to show what you stand for and what you have done. And of course the personal integrity. A: Do you think the political parties have a responsibility too inform the voters and make sure the voter turnout increases? I: I think they do. If you look at the Danish government, there was alot of information to get people out and vote. The problem in Denmark is that it is difficult to do neutral information about EU, because is shown as biased from the anti-EU side. We had the patent-court that experienced this. There should be a lot more information about this. In Sweden there was a lot more information. They have a European minister. They have a lot of talk about getting out and vote. Of course this can be seen as a test run for the national election, but still they have a lot more focus on the election. I think in Denmark no one felt it was their responsibility to make people to get out to vote. EU did some stuff, but not nearly enough. The municipality and the regions did not do much, mostly because of the local election some months. I think there should be a lot more information to get to people to vote. Having one video with Voteman is not nearly enough. A: Thank you, then we is starting with the third part of this section, anything you want to add at all for this section or as whole? I: No thanks. A: Then i will thank you for your time.

Denmark 2 A: Can you define what you believe what was the political marketing identity in the European election? I: In the Danish context, the debate around the European parliament is often a question if you are going to be in the EU or not. Either how much integrating you are going to do into the union, rather than a discussion around the political topics that the actually affects Denmark today. I think that's a shame. I had a mission for my campaign to try and frame the topics, with the difference around the left and right wings in the politics, rather


than a question as project in general. Unfortunately both the media and lot of the topics we discussed were in the other direction were it was about yes or no to the EU, and not the political difference within EU. That’s different from Danish election campaign. There we don't discuss we should if should be Denmark or not, but the political issues that we have to deal with. A: If you understand correctly, it was more a generalization on the topics? I: Yes it was discussion about yes or no to EU, instead a discussion of how to regulate the financial structure or environment issues for example. Actually those questions Parliament have an effect on. A: If we go a little bit further there. Did you ever feel a connection with your Pan-European party? I: Well, we had some common topics like youth unemployment that were issues that we focused on. We got some notes and some numbers and background material from the pan-European group. But no, there was not much contact. A: Was any part of the political campaigning influenced by the European topics, or was it based on Danish political culture. I: Yes, it was basically a Danish campaign. I used some of the election posters, but the rest was made by my Danish party. A: Do you believe that the political marketing strategy had an effect on the result of the election? I: Yes, it had a lot of influence on the result. We see right now that the euro-skeptic group of the parliament are the third biggest. A: Do you think political marketing had an effect on the voter-turnout? I: I have my own theory that because the political question in EU, it is more a discussion on institutions and processes in the EU. Bureaucracy and things that only political scientist will think is interesting, and boring for everyone else. When political discussion is not about ideology or difference but about institutions, its to boring. That`s why people does not have interest for EU, and that`s why they stay home at election day. Part 2: A: Do you think a lower voter turnout illegitimate the election? I: Of course it does, it is a very big problem. For the legitimization of the European parliament. Its kinda of what comes first? Its hard to answer to answer that the question. Of course it is a problem for the EU-parliament that there is a low voter-turnout. But it is also a problem that we do not talk about in the public forum. The issue is that people don't know about how the parliament works, how the votes affect you. We need to focus on these issues, and the voters will follow. I don't think its easy too have it the other way around. A: You believe that there are other factors involved?


I: I think it a problem. I think the turnout is an symptom of other democratic problems. The other problem is that there no public debate about issues, and all the media campaign is about EU in general and not about the issues. A: If you take a look at the voter turnout in the different countries, you see that Denmark has one of the highest percentages. What do you believe is the reason Denmark has a stable turnout? Is there something special with Denmark? I: I think there is better political culture in Denmark than in other countries. Its lower than the national election though. I think there is a lot of a reason. We have one the best public service systems and platforms. The Danish broadcasting is interested in the topic. We have in the schools education about the importance of vote. We have a very active civil society that makes a better political culture in Denmark than in some other countries in Europe. That’s why i think that i general have a higher turnout than rest of Europe. For it’s a shame that the European election is much lower than national elections in Denmark. A: Do you believe that there should be a change in how you communicate with the voters. Do you think that will increase voter-turnout? Where is the fault? I: Of course, we candidates have our responsibility. I could hope that social media, Facebook and Twitter would get us closer too the people. It’s still kinda new for political marketing. In old days there were town-hall meeting with the different candidates. Today no one will come to this meetings, especially the ones that does not belongs to one party. Today the voters have contact through media and social media to connect with the candidates and the political parties. The social media is much more used than 10 years ago, but we have not really seen effective in the political marketing yet. A: There is a huge difference between the national and parliament election. Do you think it is something special when it comes to political campaigning that affects the voter-turnout. I: I think the difference is that people, they don't see how EU influences their life, everyday life. They lose interest in the EU-election. The media know that people are not interested, so they do not write so much about it. Otherwise they wont sell their papers. Its kinda of a bad deal where there is only a few politicians and media fights to increase awareness of EU. I think of course the candidates have a huge responsibility to get out on the streets and where people work to talk to them. And in social media. The media has a even bigger responsibility to inform about the election and cover it. On the election day in Denmark, the two biggest newspapers frontpages was about the liberal party-leader and the alleged scandal that happened. Even on the election day they did not use front-page for the election. In the end the people also have a responsibility to take care of the society. The society of today is also the EU, not just your own local area. People does also have that responsibility to educate themselves. A: Okay, we are ending the segment on voter-turnout now. Are there anything more that you would like to add about the subject? I: I think there was a problem. Half a year ago, we had a local election where we struggled with the turnout that is lower in the local election. Not as bad as in the EU-election, but still lower than expected. The government used a lot of money to increase the knowledge about the local election. Lot of campaigns in municipality area in the country. They also had some mobile poll stations that they took out too the high-schools and the colleges.


They had the chance to vote early and easy access to the voting polls. It helped the turnout. Half a year later, the only money government spend was on a YouTube video. What they did was peanuts in the EU-election compared to the local election. Part 3: A: Okay, we now go into the part of voter-behaviour where we focus on candidates, and i just want to specify on how they marked themselves. In that aspect, did the candidates do enough to market themselves and the election as whole. I: I think that the European parliament campaign is a special one. It is not political but informative. I think both my own campaign and the social democratic campaign in Denmark had the goal to make EU-politics was everyday politics. So it was just like to inform them on the consequences that EU decision had on their everyday life. A: Was there some candidates in the election that was more profiled or market themselves better? I: It was only candidate that promoted himself in such degree, and that was Morten Messerschmidt and he was in a league of his own. He is also one of the biggest profiles of the political party, and the rest for political parties lacked a candidate so visible as him. Actually you could expect that from the beginning since the front candidates was not as influential as him. A: Do you feel that the political parties take the election seriously? I: No, i don't think they take it seriously enough. One of the biggest problem is that the next five years between the elections, the parties in danish politics will use EU as an excuse for problems that they do not want to be responsible for. They will send the problems to Brussel and hope people will not blame them. The only reason the political parties is interested in European election is that they use it for a testing ground for the upcoming European election. The party leader debate in-front of the EU-election there was not a debate about EU, but rather a debate about issues for the national election. A: If i can follow that statement, do you think there is a direct correlation between the low voter-turnout and the less priority of the election. I: As i have said, its a combination of a lot of things, and one of them is that they do not prioritize it. The other is that media is not covering it. A: Do you believe that there is a general lack of information about the election. I: Yes, but it has been an improvement from the election from five years ago. The media is covering it to a bigger degree and it have become more important than before. A: What can the political parties do to inform the voters to make a qualified decision


I: Yes, this is a kind of wish-thinking. But we should be better to hold the elections about EU before the month before the election. We should spread information about the benefits and what political consensus has achieved in the EU-parliament. The EU debate should be a part of the daily debate in the danish society. A: Is there anything more that you would like to add as whole? I: No, that's all i think.

Denmark 3 A: Thank you for taking the time to meet with me. (Procedure explaining) First of all, as you has been a candidate for the EU-parliament. Can you tell me a little bit of the identity of the election? What separated it from the Danish election? What did you have to take into consideration? I: A number of facts. We can start with the ones that it was not a European election, it was a mid-term election for the government. Just as the municipality election was last fall. So there was in a middle of period of elections on the national scene. So naturally people expected that the voters to be reacting the current government that is unpopular. We knew that general dissatisfaction with the government would be a factor. Second of all, the identity was of the election was that it was far less interesting and to the media. Those things are connected of course. It was also not of such importance for the political parties. What the EU does is very important and we noticed the huge gap between the importance and the interest. So that was perhaps defining part of the election. The fact that it was essential to bridge the gap between relevance and interest. Especially because our party for example is a pro-European party. That means that our parties’ message was more complicated than other parties that just were campaigning on the slogans "give us more Denmark and less EU." Whatever that meant. So it was a great challenge. That was pretty much what defined the election. Like all European election it was about bridging the importance and interest. A: Did that interfere with the political marketing? i: It did. Our party occupied a special place in this election. First of all we are a opposition party. Especially on the right wing there has been growing dissatisfaction with the EU. Our party as the largest party on our wing, had the responsibility to look at what voters was really saying, while maintaining our general favorable opinion with EU. That gave us a massive challenge. Essentially contrasting messages into something coherent. To be frank, we did not achieve that. A: Just to expand on that. Do you think you would be better off with political marketing as a part of the PanEuropean party instead of the national party? I: Not at all. First of all, the European parties are in generally pretty much unknown. And the Pan-European party that we belong to is pretty much diverse to our national political stance. First of all, it is a party that stressed extreme environmental regulation, and have really different gender politics than us. Our party also supported other candidates for Commission president than the elected one. We were obviously in minority. So no, i think it will completely eradicate our chances if we ran on the Pan-European party platform. A: Do you think it was political marketing that made the results?


I: That would be an easy explanation. Political marketing is also to shape the climate of ideas in the country. And it helps the voters to orientate themselves. If you have bad ideas, its very hard to sell them, while good ideas almost sells themselves. The results in Denmark were disappointing, and it was sad to see who won the election. They managed to turn their simple ideas into slogans that resonated very well with voters. You have to combine an idea that is efficient with political marketing. And they had efficient and effective political marketing. It was what seemed to resonate with voters. A: To what extent, or lack of, do you believe political marketing was responsible for the lower voter-turnout? I: In a large degree. I believe that the only party to have realized how to get voters to the polls and vote for them is the DF. In the old days the old people’s movement against EU was running on the same issues. I think the proEuropean parties have yet to make a coherent European political strategy in the election. I think that is a large of the results and the answer. A: Is there anything else with political marketing that you would like to add when it comes to political marketing. I: It is all about to have coherent message. Very few parties managed to make a cohorent message that had consistency. PART 2: A: First of all, do you believe legitimatize the importance of the European election? I: It is a potential danger of the future that we will have a negative spiral of delegimitzation because of the low voter turnout. For the first in decades i think there was a voter increase in the EU. It does not stop the EU machine from moving. So its our job to make sure that voters are aware of the benefits of voting and shaping EU. So yes, there is clear issue that less voter turnout is dangerous for the legitimization for EU. A: Did your party had any coordination with your sisters parties around Europe? I: Not at all that i know about. But our youth party had a pair of guys from the Faroe Islands and Netherlands here and we sent someone too the Netherlands to see how they did it there. We did have a friendly co-operation but not when it came to campaigning. A: To what do you attribute different political voter-turnout in different countries? I: First of all i think it is about political culture. The political culture is different in many countries with historical experience that contained an undemocratic legacy that ended only 20 years ago. The difference between the old and new EU countries. I don't think we can get any nearer than political culture. The danish pro party have struggled with their sisters parties all over Europe to create a united political platform. While the anti-euro parties have a strong success articulating their stance. So there is political culture and a skeptic too the European project. A: Do you believe that a more informed proletariat is more likely to vote in the election?


I: Yes indeed. Usually when it gets clear how important the election is, and that you can change it i think it will massively increase the chance for people to vote. It is generally about the direction where you want to take the society you live in. It’s easy too think EU as this alien body where you have very little relation to it. To put in a national context gives people an idea that it is a battle of ideologies, just like in the Danish parliament. A: What do you believe is the most important the voter-turnout? I: Having a coherent message. Telling it to people with enthusiasm and telling it in a way that interesting to listen to. i can’t run for the European parliament and promise a bridge, like you can promise in the national parliament. It’s much harder to do that with the EU, because you cant promise anyone in special will gets some benefits. You can only guarantee that you will work in that direction. Having a clear message and giving it directly will help. A: Anything more you would like to add for voter-turnout? I: I think the success for DF is that they engaged people that is in the lower categories in the social ladder, and made a message that was made clear for them. They did not see the election as something only the political elite was interested in. If you can go out and specify the message to the voter-segment it will give success. PART 3: A: We are now moving a little bit to voter-behaviour. Do you believe that the candidates do enough to reach out to the voter when it comes to make a decision? I: Thats an interesting question. In some way not. When we were campaign out on the road many people did not know when to vote for or who too vote for. So there is a information gap, and of course we as the political class have the obligation to fill that gap. So we have a responsibility, and i think its easy in the European election to forget that not everyone knows as much about EU as we do. Its easy to get lost in talking about directives and all those legal stuffs. People looses attention immediately. The important thing to do is to inform voters of their choices. A: When it comes the election, is there a general lack of information concerning the election and the candidates? I: Yes there is. Indeed there is. A personal experience is that people could not 3, and more less 5 candidates for the European parliament. And especially the candidates besides the top candidates. It was easy to remember my name for my friends and social area. But it would hard to know my name if we went a little bit further down. A: When it came to social media, was it own initiative or political party that coordinated that? I: The candidates were offered attention in the political party social identity, but it was more reserved for the older candidates. As the youth wings representative it was important to market myself for the young voters. There was no overall direction from our party on how to do it, but they gave us some guidance but it was own initiative. Personally it was generally condition for myself that i campaigned for myself and showing my identity for the voters. A: Did you feel that the candidates had to expose themselves to much too be a viable candidate?


I: Sometimes, i think it is generally tendency that they have to expose themselves more and more. It is somehow required that they show more of themselves to be a good candidate. It is an important part of political marketing. The strongest social media campaigns is the ones that manages to balance political messaging with personality. I think you can be to personal in the campaign and that will not be a good side. You can make it to personal. A: Do you think its more important for the candidates to show themselves and to try to show what they stand for? I: Yes in some ways. I think those two things are connected. I had my campaign and everything, but the general message was in fact that i was a young candidate that wanted to take Europe in a specific direction. Personal traits like knowledge, determination and my ability to be able to work with other people is important. Candidates must show that they can also go trough with the promises and the political vision that you stand for. A: What do you think the political parties can do to be in better position to make a qualified decision. I: My central audience was young people. What we attempted to do, was sort of convey to people that there was a reason that we wanted to do this. That there was a reason why we stood up in the early morning to campaign. It is important. Even if you disagree with us it is important that you vote to show your stance. It is also important to be entertaining. To show people that it does not have to be boring or distant. A: What do you think can be done in a more general perspective. I: I think the most important thing that we can do in the election, is to convey to people how important it is. And the only man to capable to do that was Morten Messerchmidt. He was able to convey to his base voters, because reaching out to our base is important, to realize that it actually made a difference to actually vote for him in the election. He managed to convey to his voters that the election was important. That was what we utterly failed to give to our voters. It is important that you have candidates that can be seen as important and that can give the message. A: There has been some claim that the European election is often not prioritized by the politicians. Is that a view you agree with? And does that have a factor on the voter behaviour? I: Yes. It has a extremely strong affect. Morten is one of the best politicians that DF had. No other parties had that star power with the candidates. You need to have candidates that are perceived as the parties actually care about the election. People do not see EU as glamorous as folketinget. If more important candidates saw the election in a more serious it will signalized how important this election is. A: You talked about how people don't want to participate the election. Can you see any reason why? I: Every politicians lives of attention. If you don't get attention, you don't get votes. They also feel more at home campaigning on local issues. They feel more comfortable on debating things that more affected at home since it gives more attention. If you are at the European parliament you have very microphones to speak into. To most politicians, they will die without the sunshine on them. A: Does that also affect voter turnout?


I: Yes, but we can not control the press. Thank god for that. However we can control the messages that we send out. And if start focus on EU, media will follow and then people will know about it. It rests on us candidates. A: We are starting to end this segment. Are there anything more about voter-behaviour that you would like to add? I: I think its important to have a team that is interesting is best to increase the votes you get? A: Are there anything more you would like to add at all? I: Even though a party can run a campaign to the letter, it can be destroyed if media starts to focus on the wrong things. That can destroy anyone. The national affairs will always affect the European parliament election. A: Super, then we are done.

Denmark 4

A: First of all i want to thank you for the time for meeting with me. . My thesis concerns factors that influence the political voter behaviour in the European elections and if these have any correlations to the different political marketing identity. The interview itself will not take more than 30-45 minutes and is divided into three segments. Feel free to stop at any time if you have any clarifying questions. This is an open interview so talk about what you feel is important. Can you define the political marketing in the EU? For national election to EU parlament election, did you feel there was any difference? I: Actually not, just the fact not that many voters knew there was an election. The elections for the European parliament are not that popular. It was kinda of a struggle to get them interested. Some people asked "why are you standing here?". Thats the big difference from the national election and the EU parliament. The voters have not understand the difference. A: When it comes to political aspect. Was there something you could do in the EU election that you cannot do in the national election? I: No, i don’t think so. It was all about getting noticed. I would do the same in national election? A: Did you feel that you had to do something different when it comes to EU election to promote yourself or the party that is different? I: Maybe in some of our statement. I focused lot on my ordinary job and wanted more of my segment to vote for me. The debate about East-european workers and health-care problems in the same subject. A: Did you feel that the political climate was different? How you debated and so on?


I: Actually it was a long struggle for the agenda. I think that was the big difference that we had our agenda we wanted to talk about, and the other party had different agenda. It was big struggle to get to talk about want we wanted to talk about. The EU is massive; they work with lot of different thing. You could talk about climate change, the different democracies in the EU. You can talk labor. A lot of things, if we have folketing elections, the agenda is more smaller i think. A: Basically, you feel that you had more playing-field in this election? I: Yeah A: If you can define your political party marketing structure. Was it centralized or more every man for themselves campaign? I: It was specialized, but we also own different things that we did. Because we had the most popular candidate, he had the agenda and we followed what he brought up. It was all about to get the different people to vote for you, so we tried to be different with the voters? A: did you have contact with other european parties to discuss European topics? i: We had a national campaign. Our front-candidate talked with a british party. A: To what extent do you believe the political marketing aspect was important for the result? I: I think that is very important for us. If we did not have the chance to talk about our agenda, the result for us will be so good. The media and everything worked fine us too promote our subjects. A: So you feel the promotion you did with your topics was central for the results? I: Yes, indeed. A: How important was it to discuss European topics, and not only aspects that concern Denmark? I: It did to some extent. The euro crisis and the Ukraine-Russia were also debated a lot. To what terms EU can do was also debated. That was also subjects that we talked about. It was chosen so we put our flag on the debate. The Russia-Ukraine crisis, we said that the EU is not doing it very well and promoted our view on how to solve it. We put our own identity on these EU topics. A: Did you felt that the debate in Denmark was more about yes or no to EU, or more about issues? I: I think that they were equal. It was in both ways important. For some people it was yes or no question. For other people it was how can we shape the EU into something else? A: When you started the election-campaigning, did you have the goal of getting the result that you ended up with?


I: No one thought it would got that well that it did with us. We saw the poll and hear the opinions. We did not believe them, because we got a massive increase from our latest parliament election, so no one thought we would up with over a quarter of the votes. A: Is there anything more when it comes to political marketing that you wanted to take up? I: Was i noticed was that some other political parties was all about what EU could do. They were not cleared enough when they answered the media. It was very good that we was very clear when we talked. A: Did you feel that is something that is just in the EU election, or is it also in the national election? i: Its more when it comes too the EU election. It is more num ansvers. part 2. A: Do you believe a low voter turnout delegitimize the election? I: I think alot of people think that is not important. Other people say that it does not matter what they vote. I think thats the reason why people is not interested in talking about the EU election. A: To what the disparity between voter-turnouts in different countries? i: I think that is very hard to say. A: If you any opinions on that... I: I just think that the danish voters feel like they have been cheated on a lot of times when it comes to some kinds of aspects in the EU. I just someone had enough in Denmark, alot of people had enough. A: Do you think it is protest election attitude? I: Could be, i do not know. We will see in the parliament election. I think you will see if this was just an protest vote. Someone was at least protesting about it. A: When your party started the strategy, did you take in the possibility the low voter-turnout. I: Yes, we know that there was a low voter turnout in the former elections. We knew that would happen. A: Do you believe that the government and the state did enough to inform the voters of the political difference about the whole system so the voters could take a informed decision? I: I think that the voters responsibility to vote, and to get the knowledge. And we have a lot of information website so you can know about the EU and system around it. I think it might be a little problem that it was held on a Sunday. A sunny Sunday in May is a time where people are in their summerhouse. That could be a problem. I think we did a lot to inform. A: Do you have and idea why there is a low voter-turnout in different countries?


I: I don't know, but i think many countries just do not have enough information. Many countries just do not know about the election and political attitude. For me it was just a danish election. The subjects was European of course, but it was with a danish flag on it. It could been a election for folketing. A: Is there any other aspects that you feel that is important to take into consideration to get the full picture? I: No, i dont think so. Part 3. A: Do you believe that the candidates do enough to reach out and inform the voters? I: I saw a lot of good campaigning. What i missed was the thing between the election there is a lot members of the European parliament that we haven't seen in five years, before the three weeks before the election. That is also one the problems for the voters that they do that. A: Is that the politician’s problem, or is media at fault? I: I think its both actually. The danish media have only 12 reporters that stays in Brussel and Strasbourg. That is not alot if you take into consideration if you see that NATO, EU council, the court and everything is placed there. I would like that more journalist going down there. I think that the politicans can do more to make these agenda at home between the elections. I think thats one of the reasons that Morten Messerschmidt is popular. He is using a lot of time in Denmark and is often at media. A: A follow-up question. Do you think that the danish voters is loyal to the parties in the EU election? I: No, actually not. I do not think so. We see a big difference in how the voters vote in the local councils, and the regional councils, and in the EU elections. A: Do you believe that in Denmark, that is the political culture or the political candidate that is important? I: I think its both. The candidates are very important. I have heard people say that they will vote for our chairman or another party chairman. They are very different. I think the person matters alot. A: You had a very successful campaign with your front-candidate. Did you believe that the focus on that candidate contributed to that success? I: I do not know if the focus was the primary reason, but he was the primary reason for our success. There is no doubt about that. He was just better than the others, and it does not have to be so many circuses around it. The people like him and he is popular. A: In that aspect, do you believe that political parties in general take the EU election seriously? I: I think we do. I also think that others parties front candidates was not that known. It was someone from the back the party. Some people that was never minister or anything like that. Someone could do it better from their respective parties.


A: Do you believe that there is general lack information concerning the candidates and their political views? I: Yes definitely. That’s because they are not in media, and they are not in Denmark between the elections. A: A little bit back on that case. Do you believe that the medias role in election can be more effective? I: They did quite good job actually. There was a lot of debates and that stuff so. The problem is that the are no European stuff between elections. There is no discussion, no political European debate about the continent. A: Do you feel that it influenced the debate? I: Yes. A: What do you think is the best way to inform the voters to let them make them make a qualified voting decision? I: I think it is all about information. The media and the elected politicans should be better to tell them what’s happening. To tell them why the elections is important and what it can change? A: Do you think that the one voting list is a good way to promote the danish election into the EU? I: Thats quite interesting. I think that it might be better if it was divided into smaller areas. Maybe local candidates would be more known. A: We talked about Morten Messerschmidt and political voter behaviour. Did you felt that you did much more different than the political parties, or was it just the front candidate? I: It was mostly the front candidate. We chased around where he was and focused on the importance of f.ex the debate that he participating in. But it was he that did it. A: We are starting to round up the voter behaviour now, are there any more aspects that you would like too add? I: Maybe one thing. I think you need too define what kind of voters you would like to reach out too. That was what i tried to do. It was overlooked i think. A: Are there anything more in general you would like to add? I: No. A: Then i will thank for your time.

Denmark 5


A: I want to thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. My name is Tommy Alexander Lund (Procedure explaining) First of all, as you have been a candidate for the EU-parliament, and your experience would be helpful for the analysis of my thesis. First question, can you identify an political marketing identity in the European parliament? I: Well, i guess the first question prior to the election was if the people were going to show up and vote. The biggest difference between the national and parliament election is that last European election on 1/3 of the young people voted. Our biggest challenge was to make young people interested in the European parliament. You need to be aware of the fact that European does not interest young in Denmark, so you need make it interesting and relevant every contest, debate and article you publish. A: Did you feel that there was some difference from the Danish parliament election? I: Not at all, it was truly a Danish election, with a main emphasis on the Danish topics that concerns the Danish population. We as candidate, we knew that the there was a larger perspective, and that Europe need to take one direction. Red or blue. But you needed to explain every time that you were in a debate, and that was a major issue. We talked a lot about social union and welfare beyond borders and things like that. This concerns danish population, but maybe the larger Europe perspective is not a big deal for them you know. A lot of focus from the Danish population on the Danish themes, and not the overall European perspective. A: Did you party have any celebration with the Pan-European Party or was it just voting for the national party? I: Well, first of all, the candidates from our party participated on a trip to Brussel, where we got all the presentation on the overall European policy, and how the EPP would cover the election. So we had some kind of knowledge about the inside-plan overall. The main focus for us was despise that not to focus on that we was a EPP party, but a party that could influence EPP. A: So no focus on what EPP stood for? I: Of course we did, of course we tried to put in the main points on EPP, and it was not a focus for me personally or the party to promote EPP. We did not want to put EPP in the campaign. A: When it comes to the election and the results, do you believe political marketing that influenced the results in a larger degree? I: Yeah, definitely. In Denmark, in the polls it said that our party was expected to receive much less than what we actually got. The campaign definitely worked and it worked because we emphasized that influence in the European parliament is vital, and that we are in the largest in the parliament. We could actually change something. I think that was a major turning points for us. A: Was there anything different you had to when it came to the political procedures of the election and the political campaign?


I: Definitely. It was way harder as candidate since there was campaigning all over the country. Its hard to keep it relevant for everyone all around the nation. Its a bit easier if you had a lesser geographical area. On the other hand its fun travel around. A: If we go a little away from Denmark, did you get any impression there when it come to political marketing, did you have any contact or any inspiration from the rest of the continent? I: Yes of course. I think you need to do that as a candidate, as you need to be aware of all the things around Europe. I do not know if it affected my campaign, but i followed the EU-parliaments top candidates like Martin Schulz. I had a lot of campaigning on Twitter and had a dialogue with Juncker. Furthermore the results in France, where it was won by Le-Pen, and the opposite in Netherlands gained lots of attention that i needed to follow. Also it was important to follow the debate in UK. A: On a general note, do you think the strategy of the political marketing in this election was optimized or was there potential? I: There was defiantly room for improvement. In some European countries there was an abysmal voter-turnout. There is room for improvement. I do not know the recipe, but for me personally i think its important to focus what concern the average voter. When it comes to political communication, i did not know what happened in the other countries. I think it was a lot of focus on the election in Denmark the last three weeks, but not the last three years. That could be a major issue. A: Do you think the politicians and parties takes the election seriously? I: I do not know. Yeah, i think that the interpretation overall is that lots of old guys just go down there and signs some papers and stuff like that. I know its not the case, but a lot of people feel that Brussel and Strasbourg is far and does not concern about it. A: We start to run up the first topic of the political marketing, but are there more of this category that you feel is important mention? I: The important thing for the European parliament election is to make it relevant and try to communicate too people in everyday terms, and not make the parliament looks so far away. Tried to tell people that the decision made in Brussels are important for the people in Denmark. Part 2. A: Do you think a lower voter turnout delegitimize the European election? I: I dont know. I think a lot of politicians and candidates tries to emphasizes the importance, but is seems so far away for people, and like every other democracies it needs to be developing and maybe then people will get some interest for the election. In Denmark, the low voter turnout needs to be seen in connection with the former election where there were was a vote to change the monarchical constitution in the country. That interested, therefore they showed up. This time we only voted on the patent-court. A: Do you think the voter-turnout its artificial low?


I: I think that political marketing could be one the solution to increase voter-turnout. I also think that if you should a higher turnout you also need to emphasis the fact its important to marketing themselves. A lot of other things influence the turnout. For example if people wants to vote of course. Just the general idea of how the EU works is very complicated for people and its hard to see the perspective in voting. So perhaps education is the answer. Perhaps the marketing is the answer. It could be both. A: So you do not feel that there is no clear answer to it? I: Maybe it is, but i don’t know what is it. A: When you see the difference between voter-turnout in countries. Did you see any disparity between the voter turnouts in the different countries? I: I do not know the stats from all the countries, but in general there are many different traditions for voting in different countries. In Denmark we have traditions for voting and we have a very high turnout for the national elections.And therefore we are a bit above the average in the EU. A: You are actually pretty much in the middle. I:Okay, i think you have to be aware of different cultures in different European countries. I think that is vital for every decision you make in the EU, and thats another point of view. But why people dont vote i do not know. A: As you said in the media, a low voter-turnout was expected. Did this influence your marketing campaign? I: Yeah, well, not mine but for my party. This is perhaps a bit controversial, but for us it was pretty good that the turnout is not very high. This is because our voters are very loyal and always vote. Thereby if the turnout is not that high, its pretty good for us. I always encourage people to go and vote. I of course hope also that they vote for me. But different parties have different interest on people vote. A: Do you think a more informed proletariat is more likely to vote? I: I dont know if it is EU task to enlighten people about the union. I think it is the sovereign states and the national states all around europe task to inform people. We have choosen to be in the EU, perhaps we should contribute to educating people. Perhaps we should make it mandatory to have a educational week in school, or something like that. I dont think it is a task to sort of commercial the election. A: We are starting to round up with the voter-turnout now. Is there anything more in general that you feel is important to get the full picture. I: A important thing to know is that in Denmark, lot of focus was put on universities and high-schools. And not in other aspects of the society. CBS invited people to debate here, but schools that educates electricians did not want us to come because the students was not interested. This is something i believe that we can change. We can make people interested in participating in the election. Part 3:


A: We are starting to round up voter turnout and going into voter behaviour aspect. First of all, do you believe that Denmark is a country where the candidate or the political party is the most important if you look at the focus aspect of it. I: This election shows that lots of focus was on the candidates. You can see that the results did not reflect the polls for the national elections. They differentiated a bit. Especially for my party. Of course people still vote for parties, but in this case the candidates was important. A: Do you think candidates did enough to reach out and inform the voters? I: I think actually the campaign was pretty good for all the parties. But i understand why its difficult to difference between the different parties. You need to pay attention too the debates and study the stuff. But in general i think it was pretty good. A: Is there a general lack of information concerning the election and the candidates. Like when to vote and what are you voting for and so on? I: I dont know. I am a person that believes in a personal responsibility and actually i think it was plenty of opportunities for the voters to find the party best suited for what they believe in. The information was out there, but of course you can not reach out to everybody. So i dont think there was a lack. A: Do you think the media did enough to promote the election? I: Thats perhaps the main issue. I think media put a lot of attention on the election in the last month. Until the end of april until may. Before that i was a candidate for almost two years. It was very hard to get things published and get in contact with journalists. They were really concerned with EU stuff. Its kind of funny to think that you have 8 journalists in Brussels, and in folkemøde at Bornholm there was 130 of them. Thats a bit odd. I think the media has a major responsibility to keep the debate going. The politicians must also realize to emphasis the importance of EU the five years they are elected, and not only the last year. A: Did you feel that the debate was about yes or no to the EU, or was it more about the details? I: For many people there was a yes or no question. Unfortunately the candidates tried to tell that it was not a yes or no, but what way they wanted EU to go in. Again, due to the lack of interest and general conception that EU is overruling monster that changes everything, i think it ended up in a debate about yes or no. That was something DF won a lot on. A: You said that you were a candidate for almost two years, did you feel the whole election gave much freedom when it came to marketing yourself for the election? I: I had a lot of freedom and support. Being the young candidate i was very free in the form of doing political communication. That was also the expectation from the party that i did things that the party did not think of. The party supported me alot and used social media to promote me. A: You said that you was a youth candidate. In general is that something of cultural aspects that political parties have youth candidates?


I: Yes for the European parties it is. All the national parties did it. That also works as an advantage for us since we have the lead debate in the youth segment. I do however think that the media should put an debate between us to promote the youth voter segment. A: As you said, do you felt there was potential to promote yourself and your views too the voter segment? I: I was actually very suprised with the media coverage and how much media-time i got. I think i was able to communicate my message during the three last weeks. It was a lot harder to do that before that. The last three weeks i got a lot of media coverage and was quite suprised by that actually. A: Did you feel that you had sacrifice something in ordinary life when you became youth candidate two years before the election? I: Definately. On the personal level i had to retake some exams, but by of course choosing this path you sacrifice a lot on other politics. In the end when i weighed the pros and cons i was happy of running. A: Did you feel it was different it was to promote your ideas in the EU election than in the folketing election? I: Yes definately. Its easier because you do not have that much candidate, and the topics is much more generalized than the national. It is also difficult because you need to make it interesting and relevant. In a folketing election you have these geographical areas and issues that concerns people that you know is not relevant when you talk about EU. A: As you said, there are many undecided voters that would vote blank and does not show up at polls station. What do you believe the political parties can do to make voters better qualified to make a decision? I: I think the main issue and the main problem is that appear to be invincible for voters and general population for three or four years. They do not mention what they are doing in EU and things like that. We need to tell the voters what we are doing in a bigger degree. I do not think people that are sitting down there right now (red. before election.) That’s one of the reason I think Messerschmidt did a good election, because he told his voters what he was doing in Brussels. A: Do you feel that the media was not good enough to balance the coverage between some candidates? I: Definately, but Messerschmidt was very good at using every coverage to promote himself. Every question was turned into an opportunity to promote himself, and the media followed after. He was for the media the most interesting person to follow. They have this one sided yes/no agenda, and its easier to put Messerschmidt on the screen and someone random to disagree with him. A: Did this influence the end results? I: Its easy to make excuses for not being the largest party, but i think it definitely had some kind of results of the end results. A: Okay, we are starting the closing this segment. Are there anything more you feel is important to mention in general?


I: No, i think it we got it all. It was funny to campaigning for the EU-parliament. Thats all. A: Then i will thank you for your time.

Sweden A: Thank you for taking the time for meeting with me today. (Explaining the process). Can you define a political marketing in the EU when campaigning for the parliament? I: When it comes to Sweden, you should have a bit of a skeptical attitude to the Eu and the European cooperation. You should distance yourself and talk about how you want to as a Swedish party wants to change the EU, and how you as a Swedish party have to do it. Only if you have one MEP you need to show the voters that you can change the European parliament. A: What more do you feel is different when you started campaigning for the EU? What else did you have to take into consideration when aiming for Brussels? I: The main difference is that the whole country is one constituency. We are one of the biggest countries in the union, so living in south and campaigning in north is difficult. The travel alone is difficult. My party, we were in the big cities, because there is where our voter-base is. But some opponents has to be in rural areas to gain the votes needed. It is much work. A: Did you feel that you needed more resources in the EU campaign than in the Swedish election? I: Both yes and no. Because the campaign was mainly based in Stockholm and the central areas in Sweden. Low voter-turnout and less seats makes it more efficient to campaign in the big cities. All the materials are in the cities. But, and we have the tv commercials that are much more used in this election. So mainly no. A: When you mentioned that it was based in Stockholm, do you mean that it was a more centralized campaign than the riksdag election? I: Yes it was. The material, everything was produced by the central committee in Stockholm. Thats not the case in national parliament elections. Because it was one constituency election, it was easier also to handle media and have the expertise to make the best commercials. The local candidates did not have to do much in the campaign. Just getting the flyers out and if you wanted you could produce your own material. A: I can understand from this that the campaign was very much based on what the party wanted, and not necessarily what the candidates wanted? I: We had three seats in the last term, so we had three top candidates. So it was based on these three top candidates. The strategical aspect was to put all the light on the top candidate and to get them as much voted as possible. They tried to do strategical thinking so that the votes would not be split. A: Is there often the top candidates that gets the seat, or does the personal candidates down on the list having valid ambition to climb the list?


I: Its more different in the EU-election, because its more of a relation where the personality is important. Its the top candidates that usually gets the seat, however it have happened that someone have climbed the list and taken a seat. Usually it is the top candidate that gets the seat though. Even though we are ticking the boxes for personal names more often in the EU-elections than in the national elections, it does not affect that much. A: In what ways do you believe that political marketing has influenced the results of the elections? I: We see huge difference in the EU-election and how they voted in the national elections. Smaller parties have grown rapidly, but they were down again the national polls. The main campaigning of this elections was tvcommercials and flyers. We did not have this broad organization that we have in the national elections when we are out on the street every day. We tried to do some tests with our own campaign to see if the elections results changed were did not put out any material. We got basically the same results between the areas where we did hand out our material, as where we did not do it. What we can see is that in districts were we stood outside the polling stations and handed out materials, we got a higher result. That is problably due to the many people deciding in the both what they are going to vote for. A: So i can take you on that the voters do not have such a high loyality for the political parties in the EU elections as they have in the national elections? I: Exactly. There is no government that is going to be formed. A: If you can expand a little bit on that. Does that mean the voters does not see the EU-parliament as not that important? If not, what makes it that they do not have that loyality in the EU-election? I: As you know, we have a 50% voter turnout. It have increased. As you said, it is that people vote differently in the elections. The fact that there is no majority to be formed in the parliament affects the voters. They do not feel they have influence in the elections. The questions formed in the EU-parliament is quite different from the question that is tackled in the national parliament. In the national elections, jobs is the biggest issues. In the European parliament the cases are more vague. My party always gets better results in EU-elections than the national elections. Thats maybe because we have a more stronger identity concerning how the EU should be. A: If i can follow that question a little bit. It seems that Sweden had a culture of letting the smaller parties break trough in the European elections. Does that have something do to with the political marketing in the country? I: I do not know if it is a Swedish thing. I never thought about it. It have become a tradition, we had many smaller parties being represented in the parliament. It could be that people do not feel in the same degree that they are throwing away the vote or that it does not matter. When it comes to the EU-election, there is no government to formed. You do not have to worry about government change and things directly influencing your life. One other reason could be if that only half of the population is voting, your vote gets twice the value. A: To what extent do you think political marketing is responsible for the voter turnout? I: The parties is trying very hard to increase the turnouts. Government is neutrally trying very hard to get people to vote. Its working in small piece, and we get a little bigger turnout. I think it is about attitude. People prioritize social activities instead of going to the voting-booths.


A: So i can take it is a lack of concern for the european cause? I: Yes basically. A: Then we are starting to wrap up the political marketing aspects of the European parliament. Is there anything else you would like to add? I: You should not be to cocky when campaigning. You have to be very correct with what you say. You should avoid certain terms etc, and certain lines of thought because it can backfire very quickly? A: Is the Swedish political marketing culture identified by these aspects? I: Well, the media is following that tightly and records everything. You really have too think how to express yourself. Our debate clima is of such a character that you need to think about what you are saying when talking about certain topics. Part 2: A: Sweden has in the third time in a row a increase in the voter-turnout. Do you believe that a lower voterturnout delegitimize the importance of the european election in Sweden? I: First it did not, but now the EU-parliament have gained more powers since the Lisbon treaty and people are seeing what Brussels can do. Still i meet people that says that they will not vote because i dont like the EU. Sadly for them that makes that other peoples vote more worth. I think that people have started to realize the importance for the parliament and the union. How it affects their daily lives. However we are not there yet. We still have to explain in the debates how this are affecting small cities. A: Do you feel that the debate in the swedish EU-election is about yes or no to the EU? I: Two parties are trying to make the debate about that. But usually it is about certain issues that national parties wants to change in the union. Many parties picks issues within the union that we want to focus on and to show the importance of making a decision. F.ex we have the Euro debate. That is causing a problem in the debate. If you are a opponent you have to try describe in detail why this is a problem. It would be better if we could have debate that would be effective for both parties. The media should also be informed about the structure. A: When it comes too media, does they have a focus on the european issues? I: We certainly need to inform about the case. I think there is one newspaper that has a correspondent in Brussels. The media attention starts to grow just some week before. The media could do much to explain how the EU works during the five year terms. We need to explain before we tell what we think, and that is taking resources that could be used to inform the voters. We rarely have to explain how the swedish system is working and can discuss the real policy. A: When you talk about EU and the election. Did your party have any collaboration with your Pan-European sister party during the election?


I: The top candidates for the EU-parliament visited us and helped us with the media attention. But we used our own logo and material. It was a campaign for the local party and not the national party. A: Sweden had a higher voter-turnout than most of the European countries. To what do you attribute these differences? I: First of all, Sweden have a very high trust in the government. We have this tradition. We trust the government more than any other institutions in the society. I think we take pride in voting. And this is quite important, we do not have that many elections. We have the communal and national elections and the same time, every four years. You do not get tired of voting. A: Do you believe that a more political informed voter-base is more likely to vote in the election? I: I would like too think so, but i dont know actually. A: Are there anything more that you would like to add when it comes to voter-turnout? I: I do not think so. Part 3: A: We have discussed a little bit about if Sweden vote for the political party or the candidates. Can you expand a little bit on that? I: If you vote for a party. You usually do it because you have cultural or political attachment to them. This is often the case in national elections. In EU-elections you vote more for the candidates. You look at the personality of the person and a little bit what they have done before. Usually you start with picking your party and then the candidates. A: Do you believe that a candidate would vote for candidate even though they do agree with the candidates political party? I: No, i don't think so actually. I could happen, but it is not that likely. A: Do you think the candidates do enough to reach out the voters? I: No, they try their best, but do not succeed. A: Is that something you feel is a duty of the government or state to inform the voters? I: That is a hard question. The candidates is trying to engage the voters, but does not reach out to the voters through all available candidates. We also have offices of the European Union in Stockholm that tries to inform as hard as they can. A: Is there a general lack of information when it comes to the candidate or the election in general?


I: No i don't think so. You get a voting card in the mail, you have media that tells about it and makes test and so on. We have fliers and tv-campaign around all the time also. So it should not be that difficult to get knowledge about the election. A: What can the political parties do to ensure that the voters are in a better position to make a qualified voting decision? I: They should show what their opinions are. They should engage the voters and promote local issues that can be solved through the EU. A: Do you think that the state or the media can do something to increase the voter-turnout and to make voters make a qualified decision? I: I think media should start reporting in a bigger degree from Brussels again. They are getting better but is not all that good. We need to have a bigger understanding what the commission, council and the parliament does. The media now is all about what happens. Not how it works. A: Do you think that voter-turnout can increase in the next election, if so how? I: I think there will be some percent increase but nothing big. in the next election we will have a young population that is eligible to vote. They have been born into the European membership. That create a familiarity with the union. I think that the voters will start more to see what the EU can do. A: Is there anything more that you would like to add when it comes voter-behaviour? I: If you are a candidate, it is all about being specific, carismatic and be local. You need to do your mikrotargeting. Its really hard work. A: So the main candidates have to profile themselves? If you are lower on the list you can hide behind the party lines. But the top-candidates have to be out there like the PM-candidates and the party-leaders at the national elections. A: Are there anything more in general you would like to add? I: I dont think so A: Then i will thank you for your time.

Germany I: Well, there was of course European candidates that visited Germany. There was no cooperation with the EUparliament party, we campaigned as a German party. A: In what ways did you believe that political marketing influenced the election and its results?


I: I think it matter. If you look for example at Martin Schulz. He was pretty anonymous before the election. Since he was German he had lot of media coverage, with lots of good pictures with young people. I think that the influence that he had on the media made a difference. If you look at people that decided who they were going to vote for in the last minute, i think many of them choose Schulz because of the media attention he got. Thanks too good marketing you can push your results quite a lot since there are many undecided voters. A: If we take a look at Martin Schulz a little bit. Did the fact that a German person was a major candidate for the election in general changed some rules for the election? I: Yeah, i think so. There was a positive effect for the election as whole. The debate between Juncker and Schulz gave lots of media attention for German voters that did not know much about the election. The fact that Juncker is a German speaker made it easier for the Germans to get interested when they did interview with him in German media. When he did the interview with the German media you could not see that he was not a German. He talked like German, behaved like a German and so on. A: Germany had a 47,9% voter turnout. Just in general, was that a bad or good election for Germany? I: No, people wont like that, its not so positive for legimization of the election. A: I was just asking since it was a 4% increase from the last election. I: The end vote is not so high. It should be higher of course, but we take a look on another countries, i am pretty shocked on how low the turnout was in for example in Poland. I think there 23% or so. People from other countries. Its a good political system and culture we have. So according to other countries we have above average result. I would be happier if it was higher though. A: We starting to finish up on political marketing now. Are there anything in general you would like to add? I: Well, what i really did not like, was that many of the messages for the political parties was not understandable for the people. The themes was too complex and to far away from the voters. The voters do not care about the details as long the get their income and their money. People need to know more about what kind of influence the EU have on the local finances. In the local areas we assume to much that general advertising is enough to convince the voter to make a decision about the election. We for example missed on our themes in the election, that it became irrelevant for most people. Unfortunately. I think it became almost counter-productive in some degree since the generalization made it difficult to make any differentiation between the political parties. When it comes too the political behaviour there was a little difference from the national election. Part 2: A: Did you feel that the debate in Germany was about yes or no to the EU, or was it more about issues? I: Mostly, with some exception there was a debate on how Europe should be instead if Germany should say yes or no to the Union. I think that the common idea about the EU is that the Germans have accepted it. Especially on the view on the economic picture.


A: If we can a little bit further into the voter turnout. What do you believe is the reason people does not go and vote as often in Bundestag election? I: Europe and Brussels is further away for them. People don't get how important the EU is for them. A few years ago there was something about 75% of all the laws implemented in Germany was made in Brussels. Most people have no idea about that. Especially the national politics also have more status in the media. 90% of the politics debate in media are national. A: Do you believe that if the population was more informed, it would increase the voter-turnout? I: Well, if we stop talking about how bureaucratic EU are, but how important and good the EU does i think that people will vote more. A: Is there anything more that you feel is special to mention when it comes to voter-turnout? I: We had a political satire show that actually had an influence on the election. It is popular because it shows where the problem are. I believe that a good message have a result on the general result of the election. This show was so popular that it changed the debate on social media. Part 3: A: In Germany, is the focus on the political candidates or on the political party? I: The topics depends on the candidate and the party. For example had Mr Schulz clearly the focus on the candidate. Our candidates was not so know as the main candidates, so he was not so visible in the media. I think that the candidates that do more promotion than the party, gets more important than the political candidate. Break in interview A: In largest number of seats reserved for Germany, does that force the candidate to do something special to get noticed in the election? I: The local European candidate from my area was not visible. It was always the party or the main candidate that was promoted. It was difficult to know who my local candidate for the election was. There was almost no marketing from any else than the main candidature. Candidates that was most likely to get into the parliament was almost not profiled except for the political party itself. A: Do you think there is a general lack of information of the political parties and the candidates? I: You can separate the candidates into two categories. 1: The ones that had good rating and the ones that have bad ratings. If you have a good rating then it means that you can take it easily since people will know about you anyways. The lower ones needs to be effective and they might have a problem to promote themselves. A: What do you believe that the party and the system can do to make sure that the voters are in a better position to make a qualified voting decision?


I: Well, you need to get people to vote on alternative communication area. I think Denmark did a good job on promoting it with their video (ref: Voteman) that my Romanian friend discovered and sent me. I do not have the answers but the focus is to get the young voters to vote and put in their political culture. A: Is there anything more you would like to add when it comes to voter behaviour? I: There more local election are, the more easiest there is to motivate people. People do not care if they need to vote for something that does not concern them. The EU is not so much in the media and the youth does not care so much about the EU-election. It would be nice to see a increase in interest of the EU-election, however for that too happen, EU needs to be taken to the local level. A: Is there anything else you would like the mention at all? I: no, i think that's it. A: Then i thank you for your time.

Latvia 1 A: Thanks for meeting me. My thesis concerns factors that influences political voter behaviour in the European election, and if these have any correlation to the different marketing identity. As you have participated in the European election as a candidate, your experience will be valuable to understand it. In that regard, can you define a political marketing identity in the European Union? Was there something special that you did in the European election that would not happen in the national election? I: I think the main difference in the European parliament election is that people do not vote for the political party, but for the politicians they know and their trust. And they hope that they will do something good for them in Europe. The main difference is that the EU elections, people vote for the politicians, and not for the political party. A: Are there anything else that is different when it comes to commercial value and how they marketing themselves. I: In our party there was one politician that was a member of the European parliament, so we used his face and his name as the main focus, so people vote for our party. Our slogan was that our politicians name was the Latvia’s voice in EU. This was the same in the other political parties. One party got half the votes, and that was mainly because the main politicians who was the ex-prime minister. Since he was so popular, he and three other got into the parliament. I think the people for the politicians, for the name brand. A In what aspect did you feel was different when it came to the election. Were you influenced in another way when it comes to marketing and how are you were affected by the commercial value? I: In national election, each party have a strategy what they would do with the taxes and politics, but in EUelections I think it mostly was of the face and the name, and that’s it. There was no “Lower taxes” but just the


face, and focus on the main political candidate. I think all parties in the EU parliament had this focus. In national elections we have political ideas and so on, but not in the European election. A: Did you feel more marketing in the European election, more campaigning and so on than in the national election? I: I think the political parties in the EU-election, it depends of some parties. This election is not so important for some parties, It is important for some politicians to get a place in an new parliament and get benefits and influence. A: From your personal perspective, was the election promoted in the society? I: No, I think in national levels, I think there are more posters, more ads on TV and radio, but in EU election was less. A: Did you feel political marketing was contributing to the voter turnout? Did you feel the political marketing influenced how many people that voted? I: The results were very low. A: Yeah, it was around 30%. I: I think that people does not feel that politicians in the European parliament cant do anything for them. In the national election they feel that the politics can do more for them. People doesn’t concern so much for the EU election. They focus more on local election. A: Do you think it would be higher or a lower turnout if it was marketing and commercial campaigning in the election? I: In the EU elections it would not matter, there was always worse turnout in EU-election. More marketing would not change that. People do not understand why they would vote in the European election. They don’t see the point of voting. A: When it comes campaigning in Latvia, are there any rules or kutymes that you need to follow in the election? I: In Latvia you can’t spend more than a specified amount, and one day before election they can’t be any ads or campaigning in the public speech. One week before elections, there are no ads on TV. A: As you mentioned earlier, you said that you don’t think that campaigning does not affect voters. Do you believe that it’s easy to influence a voter based on the marketing campaign. I: In this election there was an interesting case. There was one party of political farmers65. In previous election they never get any of the politicians into the EU-parliament. They have good success in local levels, in the EUelections they cannot get any people into parliament. One woman did a very aggressive marketing campaign. 65

Union of Greens and Farmers (Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība)


She lied about her political achievements, and she did not participate in any debates. She got enough votes to get in the parliament. So basically she bought the place into parliament. The campaign was really aggressive and there was poster everywhere. That tells that if you have the Euros you can buy place in the parliament. A: The debate topics in the election, was it about national or European issues. I: In debates they talked about European issues, but that’s why the turnout was so low. Because there are not so many EU-things that influences our lives. In the national level of elections there are lot of things they can discuss that can influence the voter. But in this election I don’t know what they could promise the voter. It’s about 30% of the voters that always go to the election, and the rest goes when they care about the elections. A: We are starting to round up the political marketing aspects, but are there anything else that you feels that is important to mention? I: In European election they vote for the person and not the party. The focus was on the person and not the idea. PART 2: A: Now we go over to voter turnout, this is important for Latvia because of the big drop from the 2009 elections. Do you believe that the lower turnout delegitimize the importance of the European election? I: Yeah, people do not know how the election influences their life. As a result they don’t care about who gets to the European parliament. A: Do you have any ideas why there was so big change in the turnout between 2009 and 2014? I: Many people don’t see the change. The economic crisis also made the people not so optimistic about the European Parliament. A: Do you mean that the people lost trust in the EU? I: Yeah, in 2009 the economy was booming, but now there was huge crisis. So people became apathy. People think they could get many benefits from EU in 2009. Now I don’t think they care. In national level of election in October I don’t think it will be so good also. A: All the Baltic countries have a similar level of voter-turnout. Do you think there are some common reason between these countries for this? I: I think there is low turnout in all European countries. The big difference is between west and east. People are not so optimistic anymore. Estonia have always been more optimistic when it comes the EU. A: Latvia have cultural divided population. Do you believe that have some reasons for the lower voter-turnout and the lack of interest. I: The political difference in Latvia is that there are Russian political parties and Latvian political parties. The voters are ethnic segregated in selection. The Latvian voters are more interested in European elections, but still are Russian political parties participating. They got two candidates in the parliament.


A: Do you think more political informed voters will be more likely to vote in the election? I: Yeah, I might agree with that statement. If you know more than I think people will be more motivated to vote. People will care more when they know what the candidates stand for. There are lots of people that don’t understand what the European parliament stands for. A: How much information about EU is available under the election. I: The European Parliament does a lot to inform the voters. But to be honest, there is not much information about what Latvian politicians can change when they are in the parliament. The divide between Russia and Latvia makes it difficult to co-operate for Latvia. They have more interest in going east than west. This stops progress. A: When it comes to the behaviour of the voters, did you feel the election was a yes or no, or more about what kind of EU people want. I: There are none EU-sceptical parties in Latvia; there are no real sceptics, so I think it was more about what we can do in EU to make it better. A: We are starting to round about voter-turnout in Latvia; are there anything more you would like add? I: The turnout was low, and the next election might be even lower. But it is a trend that follows the other EUcountries. If there are not done any changes in the system it will continue. PART 3: A: Now we go a little bit into the voter behaviour. As you mentioned earlier you talked about the candidates and not the political parties. From that view can you elaborate on how it works? I: Each party have the main character, the main candidate that was on all posters. Each party was promoting that special candidate. There was no slogan, just the face of the politicians. A: Do you believe that candidates do enough to reach out and inform the voters? I: That was what we were trying to do. We had our main candidate that together with the other main candidates to go around our country and inform the voters. But we meet the hesitation and the “what can you do for me.” A: Do you feel there was a general lack of information when it comes to the election and the candidates. I: No, there was enough information about the election. That was not the problem. A: When it comes to the voter behaviour, do you think there is a high voter-loyalty when it comes to choosing the political party? I: In the EU election there is a little bit of difference. Because in the European Election he is voting for a different party because it has the politician that he likes, and he does not care about the agenda. It’s not like its low, but there are many similar parties and so the difference are small. So that’s why the national candidate is so important in the EU election.


A: When it comes to party culture in Latvia, is there a two-party system in the country? I: I don’t think that’s the case in Latvia. There is a divination between Russian and Latvian parties. Russian parties are often left wings while the Latvian parties are right-wings. Russian has one big political party that usually gets 30% but never gets into the parliament. So there is a kind of two party states. A: If we can a little bit back. The government itself, do you feel there was enough information from them when it came to the elections and what the European Union could do for Latvia? I: There was a lot of information about the election. But the specification came from the political parties. Government said it was important to participate and so on. A: What do believe that the political parties and government can do to make sure that the voters make a qualified voting decision? I: I don’t think there are so much more they can do. The political parties are depended on having a charismatic candidate. If the new members of parliament will do something good, it will be noticeable but until that it is difficult to see what can be done. A: The election is it important for the Latvian voters. In general? I: We can see from the turnout that the election is not that important. We had around 50% in the last election so there are room for improvement. A: When it comes to national election, do you feel that it took focus and resources from the European election. I: Yeah, we have campaigning from March to May, and now we need to run again. I think the political parties spended a little less money, their pritorize the election. However the candidates that knew they would not get a seat in the European parliament used the election to promote themselves for the national election. A: We are starting to round this off, but are there anything more about political voter behaviour you will add. I: The low number of seats makes it difficult to promote interest. Only the biggest candidate will get a seat and the political diversity is hindered. What our politicians can do is limited since we are only eight. We can do nothing. A: We are starting to be done now, but are there anything more that you would like too add? I: No, I thanks that’s good. A: I will thank you for your time. I will write the transcript and uses it to analyse the proposition. I will gladly send you a copy when I am done. I will stop the recording now. Latvia 2: A: As I explained earlier, my thesis concerns factors that influence political voter behaviour in the European election and if they have any correlation to the European marketing identity. (Explains the difference between the segments.)


For the opening question: Can you define a political marketing identity in the country when it comes the European Union. Was there any consideration you had to take as a candidate for the European election that you would not do for the national election? I: Well, the EU political landscape is very diverse. You have the west that has all the experience on the political marketing. Then you have the north that is Scandinavia, it has long democratic history. Then you have the south. Portugal and Spain. Then you have the new union countries, that includes my. The difference between these regions and the region that I represented is that my one has short democratic history. Less than 20 years with democracy, the voters are not so experienced about the processes. Especially the older generation is used to the one party system and many are not used to the democratic system itself. You have the different view between young people, and some people do not know the difference between the European and national election. In that perspective, many of the promises from the political parties are not possible to do anything about in European parliament are made, these are the question of the national government. My view is that European parliament and national in Latvia is at the same year, so the political parties are using the campaign as a trampoline. They did not talk so much about how they are going to represent the country in the EU, it was more about pensions and welfare. The biggest problem in my view is that the people don’t know what the European parliament stands for, and what impact they have. I can only speak for my region, and the biggest problem was the lack of the democratic experience people have. A: When it comes to marketing in the election. Does the candidate take the European parliament as seriously as national parliament election in your country? I: In my country you only have 8 seats. All the major parties focus on the national elections. That’s why they was giving promises and talking about local issues. They did not discuss European issues. In small countries like Latvia they do not focus so much on European Parliament election. They focus more on the national election and the national electorate, and that’s why they focus on national issues. A: When it comes to European elections and political marketing, to what extent, or lack thereof is responsible for the voter-turnout in Latvia I: I think it is, well oh, this year was really good example on how the lack of political marketing influences the results. We have some laws that restrict media coverage. Commercials on TV and so on. The attendance was record low, all time low. People did not think about it so much as they usual do and they did not hear about it so much about it. They were not so motivated to go and vote, they had not political stance and did not what they were voting for. They said that they did not know what they was voting for and that their vote did not matter. The people more interested to see the situation in black and white, and not in the grey area that the election was about. The grey area is the dangerous are because that’s the area when they have not decided about the case. A: Did you feel the government support the election. Do they give resources and financial support to promote the elections? I: The government gives money to the political parties to promote the election and decrease the influence of lobbyist. But I do think the government should invest more to educate people on how important it is to vote. The government as institution should educate people on how, when why they should they vote.


A: Do you feel it was difficult to campaign in Latvia when it comes to access in media and so on? I: I don’t think it was difficult. It was challenging. It was my first elections. There was some restrictions on TV. There are also restrictions on national elections. So it was a little bit more challenging to find new way to reach people. I saw opportunity in social media, a fairly new concept in Latvia. So we campaigned through those channels. A: Do you feel that political marketing culture have changed in Latvia, did you have adapt to European parliament when it came to the message? I: I think it was different, since we are a new democracy, so it was more about educating people and know the importance of the European election. We needed to adapt to the new platforms to reach out the people. If you set out a poster on streets, they will only see it. On Facebook you can promote your ideas and change your perception based on it. A: We are starting to end the political marketing aspect about it. Is it anything more you want too add about it? I: Well, the political marketing is a new democracy, and unfortunately the thing is that people are more worried about local issues and what they can eat tomorrow. They are not so worried about Brussels. You have to into the account the lack of democratic experiences. Some people still believe in one strong voice and not many weak voices. They don’t like so many voices. We are a country where the aging people are the most active voters. PART 2: A: Okay, we are now going over the voter-turnout segment. In Latvia the voter-turnout in 2009 was 54%, while in 2014 it was on 30%. I: 30 something yeah… (SHORT BREAK) A: How do you feel about that turnout? I: We considered this low, Latvia is divided between Russian and western part of the union. We have a still a Russian influence with the different people voting. So motivation for many people to go vote is for the party that is either a part of Latvian or Russian minority. It’s not really tension, but it is an ethnical division that is affecting what people vote. For example many Latvian feel that if they don’t vote, they vote for Kremlin and Moscow and vice-versa. A: Do you feel that cultural deviation is the main impact for the low turnout? I: No, that is why people go to vote. I think the main reason for the lower turnout was the restriction on the campaigning and advertising. People still go to vote, the young generation were more active than the people that is the biggest electorate that is the pensions. A: Is that something that you believe can explain the gap between 2009 and 2014


I: You have to take into consideration I don’t think the statistic is that accurate in Latvia. I think the turnout would be higher but no actually knows because of the Schengen and free movement. Many young people in Erasmus and people that goes too study comes back to vote, or don’t go the embassy to vote. It makes it difficult to give an exact statistic number. The major gap was the restriction in marketing and public information about the election. Which government acknowledged after the election. A: You talked about the generation gap, where the old people were much likely to vote. The youth segment in Latvia, do you feel they are connected to the European election? I: They are very interesting in Europe, many goes into Erasmus and exchange program, but they are not so much involved in European politics, and not so interested in politics. I think that they became engaged when they are done with school and start to search for jobs. Then they see the possibilities and starts to involve themselves in the progress. A: There is low voter turnout in almost every eastern European country. Do you believe that the same reason is valid there as in Latvia. I: I can only speak for my neighbours, and that I believe is yes. Baltic countries have a big movement of young voters. The free movement makes it difficult to make a estimate since there are no control of where people are. A: Do you believe that a more informed electorate is more likely to vote in the European elections+ I: Definitely yes. If people get informed about European institutions do. How their vote impact their everyday lives the turnout will be much higher. It’s the same for farmers. They get much money from EU, if they know about their benefits and knew more on how to challenge the European parliament to get more subsidies they will be more involved in the election. The same for young people when they see them benefits they can get when studying and traveling they will be more involved. They would see their interest represented in the parliament and be more active in the election. If the people know how thing works and see their effiency of their vote they will be more likely to vote. A: Is there more that you feel is important to mention about voter turnout. I: I think it is important to inform young people to inform young people about how the European parliament works and how it impacts their life’s. PART 3 A: Then we go over the political voter-behaviour. When you were candidate for the EU-parliament, did you have relation with the Pan-European party? I: We did have visit from our sisters’ party in Estonia. We were exchanging some experiences, which platform to attend to. Estonia showed us the Internet solutions for voting, and helped us with the social media since their political identity was more based on the internet. This is something we are taking with us in the national elections. The European parliament elections were also affected by it. We did not coordinate so much with any other countries. I would say that for the next election it would be more coordination for the European election.


A: Does the political candidates do enough to reach out to the voters? I: In my country they do not enough. They are too busy to pressuring their own agenda and promoting their issues, while they should try to motivate people to get to vote. I have seen the old generation of politicians think that people will vote for ideas. They do not think that people will not vote if they have no idea because of habit? A: Is it he candidate or the political party that is the focus of the election? I: It depends from party to party. Our party was more focused on the party in general, but we had one locomotive that was on every poster and merchandise. Mostly parties uses front candidate for the most part. A: Is there high party loyalty among Latvian voters? I: I will say that the loyalty lies in the national election and between the ethnic split. The Russian voters are very loyal to their parties and the nationalists that is loyal, the rest many people jump from election to election. We see difference between political parties that are in centric area. Those have big split. A: When it comes to the different political loyalty. Is that something visualised in European election? I: The main difference between the elections is that the European parties are more focused on the faces on the posters. In the national elections you see it is more about the parties. There are more faces on the posters and more about what the parties represented. A: When it comes to what the political party stands for, is there a lack of information when it comes to things that makes it easier for the voters to make decision. I: The lack of democratic culture makes it easier for politicians to be to populist. Huge lack of knowledge of lobbyism and what it does makes a bad cultural identity. The companies that donate to the parties should be known by the public and what it does with the political agenda. For example a wood-cutting company donates to a political party; people should know that there will be a business-friendly focus on ecological questions. Its bad but also dangerous that they don’t know that. A: Does the government does enough to inform and reach out to voter. I: They do much, but not enough. The government does some commercial on TV and newspaper and tell about the sceptic on how to vote and so on. They should reach out to young people that is on internet and that used tablets and so on. A: We talked a little bit about it. But what do you think the government should do to inform the proletariat. I: They should inform more about what impact the voting have on the society. The government should also inform especially young people on how the system works. Especially when it comes to the connection with the European parliament. A: We are starting to close off, is there anything more about voter you would like to add? I: I think we covered all?


A: Is there anything else that you feel is important to add to the whole perspective. I: Annoying as it can be, commercial is important, and advertisement to for the parties and the people to inform that election is coming. How they are going to vote and how it will impact their life is important to educate. Restricting commercial is important but can be a reason for the lower voter-turnout. A: Then we are finished. I will thank you for your time. I will end the recording now.