Public opinion, european union, political economy, eu, membership, political parties, attitudes, electoral behavior, european, post communism, transition


This thesis examines public opinion towards membership in the EU, before and after the 2008 global economic crisis, in the newest member states to join the institution in 2004 (the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia) and 2007 (Bulgaria and Romania). Prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1989, socialist economies and communism maintained a citizenry that never experienced unemployment and that did not have a political voice. Because free-market economic policies and democratic values are new to these countries, public opinion regarding membership in a supranational organization that promotes and fosters these ideals is important to study. Data from the Eurobarometer Public Opinion Survey spring waves 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the World Bank, and Eurostat are used to measure multiple indicators of support for membership in the EU. Ordered logistic regression and means comparison analyses are employed to measure the effect of national-level economic prospects, economic winner/loser status, political party power, age, national identity, gender, and individual-level political ideology on public opinion toward membership. The results demonstrate that multiple indicators affect attitudes toward membership and that a negative shift in public opinion is apparent following the 2008 global economic crisis. At the individual-level of analysis, economic winner/loser status and national identity are significant in the predicted direction in all five models. Age is a significant indicator of support only in 2008, 2009, and 2010. At the aggregate-level, means comparison analyses and t-test statistics indicate that GDP annual growth rates have a positive effect on attitudes toward membership in the EU. As GDP annual growth increases, approval of membership in the EU increases. Eurozone membership and unemployment rates indicate varied support for membership in the EU, and the results of means comparison analyses of political party power at the national-level are inconclusive and exploratory in nature. With all findings considered, future studies can further examine the implications and long-term effects of global financial crises on public opinion towards membership in various international economic organizations.


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Graduation Date





Kim, Myunghee


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Sciences


Political Science

Degree Program

Political Science; American and Comparative Politics








Release Date

August 2014

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic