Political Choice Matters: Explaining the Strength of Class and Religious Cleavages in Cross…

Hardcover | June 28, 2013

EditorGeoffrey Evans, Nan Dirk de Graaf

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Political Choice Matters investigates the extent to which class and religion influence party choice in contemporary democracies. Rather than the commonly-assumed process in which a weakening of social boundaries leads to declining social divisions in political preferences, this book'sprimary message is that the supply of choices by parties influences the extent of such divisions: hence, political choice matters. Combining overtime, cross-national data, and multi-level research designs the authors show how policy and programmatic positions adopted by parties provide voters withchoice sets that accentuate or diminish the strength of political cleavages. The book gives central place to the positions of political parties on left-right, economically redistributive and morally conservative versus social liberal dimensions. Evidence on these positions is obtained primarily from the Comparative Manifesto Project, with a chapter dedicated to elaboratingand validating the various implementations of this uniquely valuable source of evidence on party positions. The primary empirical focus includes case studies of 11 Western, Southern, and Central European societies as well as 'anglo-democracies' including Britain, USA, Canada, and Australia. These detailed analyses of election studies ranging in some cases from the post-war period until the early part of the 21st century are augmented by a pooled cross-national and overtime analysis of 15 Western democracies using a unique, combined dataset of 188 national surveys. The authors show thatalthough there has been some overtime decline in the strength of association between social class and party choice, this is far smaller than the amount of change in the relationship occurring as a result of party movements on questions of inequality and redistribution. The strength of thereligiosity cleavage is also influenced by changes in party positions on moral issues - changes that can be understood as a strategic response to a process of secularization that has weakened the electoral viability of parties deriving support from appeals to religious values.

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Political Choice Matters investigates the extent to which class and religion influence party choice in contemporary democracies. Rather than the commonly-assumed process in which a weakening of social boundaries leads to declining social divisions in political preferences, this book'sprimary message is that the supply of choices by p...

Geoffrey Evans' research interests include social divisions, inequality, and politics in Britain, models of voting behaviour, the evolution of class and ethno-religious cleavages, and democratic consolidation in postcommunist societies. In addition to many journal articles covering these topics he has produced several books including T...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:416 pagesPublished:June 28, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199663998

ISBN - 13:9780199663996

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Table of Contents

Part I: Models, Measurement and Comparative Analysis1. Geoffrey Evans and Nan Dirk De Graaf: Explaining Cleavage Strength: The Role of Party Positions2. Ryan Bakker and Sara Binzer Hobolt: Measuring Party Positions3. Giedo Jansen, Geoffrey Evans and Nan Dirk De Graaf: Examining The Impact of Party Positions and Class Voting in 15 Western Democracies: A Pooled AnalysisPart II: The Case StudiesAnglo-Saxon Democracies4. Geoffrey Evans and James Tilley: Ideological Convergence and the Decline of Class Voting in Britain5. David L. Weakliem: The United States: Still the Politics of Diversity6. Gary Marks: The Declining Impact of Class on the Vote in Australia: Testing Competing Explanations7. Robert Andersen: The Class-Party Relationship in Canada, 1965- 2004Mainland Europe8. Sara Binzer Hobolt: Enduring Divisions and New Dimensions: Class Voting in Denmark9. Nan Dirk De Graaf, Giedo Jansen, and Ariana Need: The Political Evolution of Class and Religion: An Interpretation for the Netherlands 1971-200610. Florent Gougou and Guillaume Roux: Political Change and Cleavage Voting in France: Class, Religion, Political Appeals, and Voter Alignments (1962-2007)11. Martin Elff: Social Divisions and Political Choices in Germany, East and West, 1980-200612. Oliver Heath and Paulo Bellucci: Class and Religious Voting in Italy: The Rise of PolicyResponsivenessRecent Democracies13. Natalia Letki: Do Social Divisions Explain Political Choices? The Case of Poland14. Lluis Orriols: Social Class, Religiosity, and Vote Choice in Spain, 1979-2008Part III: Concluding observations15. Geoffrey Evans and Nan Dirk De Graaf: The Importance of Political Choice and Other Lessons LearnedBibliographyIndex