The MAXCAP Working Paper No. 6 “Contextual Policy Reading of Public Opinion Data and Recent Trends in Attitudes towards European Integration” by Georgi Dimitrov, Kaloyan Haralampiev and Stoycho P. Stoychev has been published. You can download the Working Paper here.
In cooperation with Leiden University, the authors developed a framework for the contextual policy reading of public opinion data and recent trends in attitudes towards European integration. The paper presents a logically integrated series of empirical micro-studies resolving problems in an inductive manner. Using mainly Eurobarometer data and heuristics of the classification tree analysis, the authors argue that:
a) Pro/contra EU enlargement attitudes are a construct of diverse, multifaceted relationships. It is mainly a projection of an extremely complex set of other values and specific premises upon the EU’s future, which, as a system, establish the structure of what seems to be an ‘attitude towards the EU and its enlargement’;
b) Citizens’ attitudes are clearly polarized in most countries and there is a steady, increasing trend for negative attitudes to prevail;
c) The structural causes for these polarizations are, most significantly, nationally specific and go down to 13 levels of factor influences. The strongest among these factors are based on the most pragmatic aspects of social life, depending on the respective country’s membership status and domestic policy-making. These factors exert influence in different proportions — in line with the diversity of multiple national and regional contexts. The polarization is a result of varying sets of factors, which themselves vary in every single case in strength and significance.
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