Public (Youth) Opinion Analysis

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“If the European Union is serious about taking a greater role in the world affairs it will require a public diplomacy capability to match.  … For the Union to prosper it must project a positive image of itself to opinion formers and to the ‘man in the street’ both within and beyond its borders.” [8]

After the public lecture by the Ambassador of Ukraine in Leuven. April, 2017.
The Ambassador of Ukraine in Leuven, April, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though foreign policy execution is usually a prerogative of national elites,[9] in the formation of the EU’s nascent public diplomacy, an understanding of external public opinion is important.[10] Account for the international public opinion on the EU in this project is argued to be an overlooked, yet a valid contribution to the debate on the EU’s growing foreign actorness and its emergent public policy. Respectively, the project design includes national surveys of public opinion over the course of the project in each location, providing a unique longitudinal perspective to the public opinion on the EU outside the Union. C3EU q-sort survey targets youth, because:

  • young people generate change through ‘generational replacement’ and allow a glimpse into the future of politics.
  • young people are more open to change and are more easily influenced by external factors because they are not yet set in their political ways.
  • a shift from traditional forms of civic and political engagement (voting, party membership, trade unions, churches) towards new forms of civic and political engagement (petitions, boycotts, protests) is more rapid among youth.

The C3EU targets youth who are students of social science and humanities: political science, international relations, journalism, philology, history — future elites, leaders, diplomats. The study took place in Ukraine, Israel and Palestine, as well as Germany and Lithuania. This design allowed to compare between internal and external perceptions, as well as between Western (old) and Eastern (new) EU members states.

Studying youth opinion
Focus-group session

 

 

 

 

 

 

C3EU adopts a Q-sort method in order to study narratives about the EU (not attitudes or sentiments). Q-sort method is a mixed research method (with a substantial qualitative element to it) that allows to trace personal opinion and reconstruct the narrative statements that reveal individuals’ values, beliefs and understandings of a particular issue area on systemic, identity and policy levels. The Q-Sort also allows to observe inter-group dynamic during the survey and gathers immediate feedback from the participants.

Following the Q-Sort method specifications, the C3EU sampled youth in the following way:

  • Ukraine: 231 respondents across three locations (75 Kyiv, 77 Cherkasy, 79 Kharkiv)
  • Israel: 75 respondents
  • Palestine: 17 respondents
  • Germany on Ukraine: 78 respondents
  • Germany on Israel and Palestine: 80 respondents
  • Lithuania on Ukraine: 18 respondents
  • Lithuania on Israel and Palestine: 17 respondents

 


[8] Twigg as cited in P. de Gouiveia and H. Plumridge European Infopolitik: Developing EU Pubic Strategy (London: Foreign Policy Centre, 2005). VI.

[9] C. Moisy, ‘Myths of the global information village’ (1997) 107, Foreign Policy

[10] P. de Gouiveia and H. Plumridge European Infopolitik: Developing EU Pubic Strategy (London: Foreign Policy Centre, 2005).