Understanding ‘utilitarian’ support for European integration in Scotland and Wales: the role of economic interests, national identity and party support

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

June 1, 2011


While the changing positions of ethnic and regionalist parties towards European integration have been studied in detail recently, there has been comparatively little attention given to the attitudes of sub-state electorates. This paper assesses the impact of socio-economic status, partisanship, national identity and other explanatory factors on attitudes towards European Union membership in two distinct regions of the UK. It uses binary logistic regression estimation to assess which factors influence ‘utilitarian’ support for the European Union in Scotland and Wales with data from the British Household Panel Survey which allows for robust subgroup analysis. Socio-economic status, in particular educational attainment, gender, age grouping, religious commitment, partisanship and political interest, have an impact, while national identity—contrary to expectation—has surprisingly little effect. This paper makes a contribution to the study of public opinion towards the EU at the sub-state level and the attitudes of the Scottish and Welsh electorates since devolution.

Published in

Regional and Federal Studies

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 21 , p.1 -21








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