Blessing or Curse for Congruence? How Interest Mobilization Affects Congruence between Citizens and Elected Representatives
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Common Market Studies. 2021, 59 (4), 909-928. 10.1111/jcms.13146
This article examines the role of interest mobilization in strengthening or weakening congruence between elected representatives and citizens on EU policy issues. It argues that the relationship between public opinion, interest groups and elected politicians can be theorized as a selective transmission process. We expect interest groups to strengthen congruence between citizens and elected representatives who share their ideological views. To test our hypotheses we conducted a content analysis of statements made in eight European news outlets on a sample of 13 policy issues and combined this with Eurobarometer polls. Our results indicate that elected representatives from leftist parties are more congruent with left-wing voters when civil society mobilizes, while the prevalence of corporate lobby groups strengthens congruence between rightist politicians and their constituents. These findings contribute to our understanding of the role of interest groups in political representation and democratic governance.