Learning from the Danish case: A comment on Palle Svensson's critique of the Franklin thesis



Abstract. Palle Svensson in this issue of EJPR has objected to the characterisation of Danish voters made by Franklin and others who, in various publications, expounded the thesis that on issues of low salience, referendum votes tend to follow party lines. Svensson finds evidence that the Maastricht Treaty was not an issue of low salience to Danish voters in the ratification referendums conducted there, and gives other details of the evolution of public opinion regarding Europe that clarify the circumstances in which our thesis should apply. In the light of his arguments, this Comment presents a more nuanced version of the thesis that learns from the Danish case, and should be of greater utility than our earlier version in helping to interpret the role of government standing in referendum outcomes.