Feeling Europe: Political emotion, knowledge, and support for the European Union
Monika Verbalyte, Christian von Scheve – 2017
Theories of political emotion suggest that feelings towards an issue or candidate are often better predictors for support than attitudes or preferences. We investigate whether this conjecture also holds for more abstract political entities, such as the European Union (EU), and test whether EU citizens’ feelings toward the EU are significant predictors of their EU support. We first review existing research and provide theory-driven propositions of how positive and negative emotion may influence EU-related attitudes. Second, using multilevel regression models fitted to Eurobarometer data, we estimate how feelings toward the EU are associated with support for the EU. In line with our hypotheses, analyses show that positive emotions are positively associated with EU-support, while negative affect is negatively associated with it. Contrary to some theoretical predictions, however, these effects are not mediated by individuals’ use of EU-related information.