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Political Choice MattersExplaining the Strength of Class and Religious Cleavages in Cross-National Perspective$
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Geoffrey Evans and Nan Dirk de Graaf

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199663996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199663996.001.0001

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Class Voting and Left-Right Party Positions

Class Voting and Left-Right Party Positions

A Comparative Study of Fifteen Western Democracies, 1960–2005

(p.46) 3 Class Voting and Left-Right Party Positions
Political Choice Matters

Giedo Jansen

Geoffrey Evans

Nan Dirk de Graaf

Oxford University Press

Studies that explain class voting have often focused on ‘bottom-up” social factors, but paid little attention to ‘top-down’ political factors. In this chapter, we argue that party positions on left-right ideology affect the strength of class voting. We test this thesis by estimating the impact of Left-Right party positions on the class-vote association through a Two-Step Hierarchical analysis of pooled data from Australia, the United States and 13 countries in Western-Europe (1960-2005) supplemented with data from the Comparative Manifesto Project. Although there is a general trend for class voting to decline over time, partially accounted for by the impact of education, we find that most variation in class voting does not take the form of a linear decline. The ideological positions of left-wing parties alone do not have any effect, but the polarization of parties along the left-right dimension is associated with substantially higher levels of class voting.

Keywords:   social class, class voting, party manifestos, party positions, voting behaviour, electoral change, comparative analysis, western democracies

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