The Changing Dynamics of Euroscepticism: The Case of Poland

Simona Guerra

Recent crises have affected citizens' attitudes towards the EU, and trust towards both the EU and domestic institutions have been dipping all across the EU member states. This paper examines levels of public support for the EU and opposition to it in Poland and seeks to analyse the impact of the recent crises at recent elections in order to provide a first indication on whether and how the EU was framed by political parties. In Poland, despite an overall positive macro-economic outlook and persistent high levels of support for the EU, Poles still threw out the incumbent Civic Platform party president in favour of the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) candidate at the 2015 May presidential election. PiS doubled down on its success in October's legislative polls, when it won in almost all regions and across different demographics. Young people' disillusionment brought votes to PiS, Kukiz'15, and KORWiN, advocating social national conservative (PiS), sometimes populist (Kukiz'15), and radical right and hard Eurosceptic (KORWiN) programmes. Low turnout (51%), although in line with the Polish average (47.54%), and young people's protest were determinant in these elections. This paper uses the Polish National Elections Studies and examines issue salience across Polish voters. The position of Poland towards the EU is important to the average voter, despite high levels of support towards EU integration, and the paper shows how the EU may be framed in different ways depending on the changing dynamics of the domestic politics of EU integration.

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