One of the most interesting features of the 2003 Polish referendum on European Union (EU) membership was the strong link between voting behaviour in the 2003 referendum and voting behaviour in the 2001 Polish parliamentary election. In this article, we test two competing mechanisms that could account for this finding: a responsible party model, whereby citizens' attitudes towards EU membership would have been driven by their preferred party's position on the issue, and a more Downsian model, whereby the existence of an unrepresented Polish Eurosceptic electorate could have driven the success of two new Eurosceptic parties in the 2001 parliamentary elections. Drawing upon data from the 1997, 2001 and 2005 Polish National Election Studies, we find much stronger empirical support for the Downsian approach. Far from being led to their Euroscepticism by party leaders as the 2003 referendum on Polish EU membership approached, voters for Poland's Eurosceptic parties in 2001 already possessed healthy degrees of Euroscepticism, especially when compared to supporters of other parties and even to non-voters.
- European Union
- Political parties
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science