PIREDEU Providing an Infrastructure for Research on Electoral Democracy in the European Union


EES — 2009 European Election Study


For the first time, a centrally coordinated research project covering all relevant aspects of the electoral process was conducted for all 27 member-countries at the 2009 European Parliament Elections. In investigating the feasibility of an infrastructure for the study of democracy in the EU, data were gathered on:

  • The attitudes and behaviour of over 27,000 citizens in 27 countries.
  • Information on campaign strategies and issue agendas for 1,350 candidates from 200 political parties across 27 countries.
  • The party manifestos of 200 political parties contesting the European Parliament Elections.
  • Campaign news coverage in the three weeks prior to the elections from 140 media outlets and almost 50,000 news stories.
  • Attributes from 27 different political party, economic and media systems.

We bring this information together for the first time in an integrated database that is available for use by researchers, policymakers, the media, citizens and anyone interested in democracy in the EU. These data would be lost if not captured at the time of an election.

The unique contribution of the data project is linking data across all electoral actors: political parties, candidates, citizens, political and economic conditions and the news media. The data are linked conceptually and technically. Conceptually data can be linked by issue agendas, representation, ideology and position on European integration and other core concepts. For example, the mass survey as well as the elite survey includes items asking for the most important problem in the respondent's country. Hence, researchers are able to compare these perspectives directly.

Technically the data are linked by establishing coding categories that are standard and common across the different types of data. For example, political parties share common codes for party manifestos, political candidates and voter partisan preferences. This enables a comprehensive research that addresses the relevance of a named problem in the media as well as in the party's written documents.