The preference for Europe: public opinion about European integration since 1952

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Series Details Volume 19, Number 4, Pages 617-638
Publication Date December 2018
ISSN 1465-1165 (print) | 1741-2757 (online)
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To determine how public opinion matters for the politics of European integration, we need to know what Europeans say about Europe. Yet, despite a proliferation of analyses of public support for Europe, fundamental questions remain.

First, does aggregate opinion reflect a single preference for Europe? Second, is the content of opinions similar across countries? Third, have opinions about Europe become more structured over time? Finally, what are the long-term dynamics in opinions about Europe?

To answer these questions, we construct a new dataset of historical public opinion since 1952 in France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Over the long run, aggregate opinion toward Europe reflects one dominant underlying dimension and its content is similar across countries. We examine the trends in support for Europe.

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