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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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Accounting for the Declining Impact of Class on the Vote in Australia

Accounting for the Declining Impact of Class on the Vote in Australia

(p.137) 6 Accounting for the Declining Impact of Class on the Vote in Australia
Political Choice Matters

Gary N. Marks

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses the relationship between class and the vote in the Australia over forty years from the mid-1960s until 2007 using a six category EGP measure of class. It finds substantial declines especially during the 1970s but also during the late 1980s and 1990s. Two types of explanations are examined to account for the decline: socio-structural, that is, the changing social composition of the electorate; and party position where class voting changes in response to the parties’ ideological positions. There is evidence for both explanations. Part of the decline can be attributed to declines in trade union membership and working class identification, and increases in ‘no religion’ and education. There were also changes in the political allegiances of educational groups and working class identifiers. In addition, however, there is evidence that when the ideological positions of the major parties converge, class voting decreases.

Keywords:   social class, voting, australia, changes over-time, social change, party ideology

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