This paper tackles the problem of comparison between proximity and directional voting in 27 European multi-party systems. This is a previously unaddressed aspect of European spatial issue voting. We focus on the spatial voting theories as predictors of vote intention, evaluating the extent of proximity and directional voting. We describe the influence of identical predictions on the comparison of these theories. Our multilevel analysis of the 2009 European Election Study data shows more empirical support for proximity voting than directional voting in the countries analyzed. It does this by clearly differentiating between those cases where it is possible to compare proximity and directional voting and where this is impossible. Nevertheless, the prevalence of proximity theory decreases in more polarized party-systems.