Home > 2. politics > Considered opinions about the European Union

Considered opinions about the European Union

October 18th, 2007

I am finally back in the US. After three back-to-back sleepless nights as a global data cruncher, I have the final results of the first-ever European-wide deliberative poll. I’ll have more to say about deliberative polls and this project, but for now, here is a short summary of what we did and what the results are.

What we did:

For the first time ever, a scientific microcosm of Europe was gathered to a single place, the European Parliament building in Brussels, to deliberate in 22 languages about key issues facing the future of the EU and its member states. The participants became dramatically more informed about key issues and changed their views. Participants from the 12 new member countries had different starting points in their opinions but generally changed their opinions more, growing closer in their views to those from the older member states. Over a long weekend, the participants deliberated about economic, social and foreign policy, reflecting on “Europe in the World.”

The results:
* Participants were more likely to support for sacrifices for pensions after deliberation than before
* They were less likely to support for enlargement, mostly coming from new member states learning the reasons against enlargement old member states
* In general, participants from new member states changed more and changed towards old member states
* Very significant knowledge gains
* Participants were more educated than non-participants and in general had small but statistically significant difference in attitude and other measures

Here’s a great press release that has a lot of juicy details:
http://www.tomorrowseurope.eu/spip.php?article169

On that site, you can also find video and other details.

There has also been a fair amount of press too. Here are two examples:
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,2193515,00.html#article_continue

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21351249/

2. politics , ,

  1. October 19th, 2007 at 15:24 | #1

    This sounds somewhat similar to the European Citizens’ Consulation (ECC), which occured in 2006/2007: http://www.european-citizens-consultations.eu/

    Their agenda-setting event took place in Brussels in October 2006. They used a random sample of 200 participants from the (then) 25 member states.

    Three main topics were selected for the subsequent national consultations:

    1. Environment and Energy
    2. Social Welfare and Family
    3. Global Role, Outside Borders and Immigration

    Can you say anything about the costs involved with running this deliberative poll? From what I can gather, the EEC project had a budget of about EUR 3,000,000. Across the entire program (about 30 events, about 1,700 participants) this comes out to a little under EUR 1,750 per participant — at least as far as my math goes.

    Would be interesting to see how the numbers compare.

  2. October 19th, 2007 at 17:02 | #2

    Hi Tim,

    Our event had 359 participants, and the telephone survey reached 3,500. I don’t know the cost, but I think it was less (perhaps half?) than the event that you link to.

    The biggest difference is that we had actual random sampling, whereas they (despite the claim to the contrary) really used quota sampling. You can see in the video a participant wearing a business suit: i think they had a bigger self-selection problem than we did.

    also, they were asking participants to work towards consensus. that increases the role of social pressure rather than reasoned debate in swaying the outcomes. our event did not ask for public votes but only private surveys, so the opinion presumably is closer to what participants truly believe.

    It’s kind of like comparing America Speaks to Deliberative Polling, here in the states.

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. October 19th, 2007 at 19:55 | #3

    Hi Mike, you’re definitely somebody I want to talk to. As I’ve written elsewhere, I am a firm believer in deliberative processes–it is my academic pursuit. But I worry about processes that overstate their representativeness. You write that there was “less of a problem with self-selection”, but I think that ANY self-selection is going to skew the results, perhaps significantly. Can you provide a definitive explanation about how the 359 were selected? One more thing: do the results compare the pre-polling of all 3500 against the post-poll of the 359? Or did they use pre-poll counts of the 359? How does the poll represent those of a “pluralist” mindset, who simply don’t believe in the process? I am not asking this because I want to knock the DP down, far from it. As contradictory as it sounds, I want to see is a process that somehow includes the voices of those who set themselves apart. No idea how, of course, but I don’t think the problem should just be swept aside.

  4. October 20th, 2007 at 09:59 | #4

    Hi Ron,

    The issue of representativeness is a critical one. We have a full analysis of the differences between the phone survey and participants in this pdf file.

    In short, the participants were slightly more likely to be single and higher educated. But take a look at the numbers and let me know if you have any specific questions or concerns.

    I also look forward to reading what you have to say about deliberative polling on your site. Thanks for you comment!

  5. June 4th, 2016 at 11:33 | #5

    I nee? tto to thank you for this fantastic read!! I cerainly lov?d every little bit of it.
    I’?e got you book-marked too check out new things you post…

  1. No trackbacks yet.
Olark Livehelp