European Public Sphere| Online News, Social Media and European Union Attitudes: A Multidimensional Analysis

Rachel R. Mourao, Joseph Yoo, Stephanie Geise, Jose Andres Araiza, Danielle K. Kilgo, Victoria Y. Chen, Thomas Johnson


How do online news and social media use relate to public support for the European Union? To answer this question, this study compares the effect of institutional websites, news websites, online social networks, blogs, and video hosting websites on five important dimensions of public attitudes toward the EU: strengthening, performance, fear, efficacy, and utilitarianism. Cases were selected by choosing the samples from the largest country in each stage of EU enlargement: Germany, the United Kingdom, Greece, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Romania. After controlling for demographic and political factors, results show that getting European news from blogs fosters negative attitudes toward the EU, whereas social network sites contribute to a positive view of the EU’s performance and support for further strengthening. In addition, the use of YouTube and news websites interacts with off-line discussion to enhance political effects.


online news, social media, blogs, public opinion, European Union

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