Jocelyn Levin – Boston University, International Relations & Communications
Jocelyn Levin is a graduate student of international relations and international communications at Boston University and a graduate of Northwestern University. She has most recently worked in the field of international immigration law in Chicago and in Belgium and plans to continue to pursue her focus on Europe and the European Union once she has completed her master’s degree program at BU.
The Eurobarometer: Reporting and shaping European public opinion
Tapping in to the opinion of the general public has long been the goal of elected officials, political elites and industry leaders. Any government seeking to prove its legitimacy in times of crisis or doubt seeks first to procure public opinion data demonstrating that it has the support of its constituents. The European Union has been no exception. Since 1973, the European Commission has been conducting public opinion surveys in its member states using the Eurobarometer tools developed under the Directorate General of Communication, and it is evident that the Eurobarometer serves a
significant purpose in the Commission’s communication strategy. Yet, the academic community has paid little attention to the ways in which the EU employs this tool. In the first section of this paper, I discuss some of the issues that cause public opinion polling itself to be a somewhat controversial practice. Subsequent sections provide background information regarding the Eurobarometer and a review of several of the materials it produces. I conclude with some informal observations regarding the Eurobarometer and related materials and recommendations for further study of the Eurobarometer as a strategic component of EU communication strategy.