Since the introduction of “Spitzenkandidaten” for the presidency of the European Commission, elections to the European Parliament have been characterised by the dynamic between an increasingly transnational election campaign and a national electoral process. However, the implementation of a European election campaign focusing on transnational top candidates remains controversial because it is still unclear to what extent nationally formed political predispositions such as party identification can serve as heuristics for assessing a transnational election campaign. Though TV duels as miniature campaigns directly open up this antagonism, research at the European level remains limited. Drawing on data from a field study consisting of virtualised real-time-response measurement and survey data of 157 participants, we show that expressive party identification as a heuristic is considerably constrained in transnational debates’ reception, while being complemented by instrumental aspects such as candidate orientations and ideological attitudes.
Real-Time-Response Measurement, European Election 2019, Party Identification, Multi-dimensional Scaling, Structural Equation Model, Televised Debates.
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