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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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The Political Evolution of Class and Religion

The Political Evolution of Class and Religion

An Interpretation for the Netherlands, 1971–2006

Chapter:
(p.205) 9 The Political Evolution of Class and Religion
Source:
Political Choice Matters
Author(s):

Nan Dirk de Graaf

Giedo Jansen

Ariana Need

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199663996.003.0009

This chapter investigates whether changes in religious and class voting in the Netherlands can be interpreted by social and political factors. From the social perspective we focus on compositional changes, education, changes in the class structure, and religious integration. From the political perspective we examine the impact of merging political parties and changes in party positions. Employing Election Surveys (1971–2006) and Manifesto-data, reveals that the rise of the class of social-cultural specialists is important for understanding changes in the class–vote relationship. Although party positions are relevant they do little to explain the decline in class-based voting. Weakening religious integration largely explains the decline of political boundaries between non-religious voters and Catholics and Calvinists. After taking party positions into account the effect of the CDA-merger no longer reduced religious based voting, suggesting that the merger resulted in a revised ideological choice set facing voters. Furthermore, religious voting increases when traditional moral issues in manifestos are emphasized.

Keywords:   religious voting, secularization, class voting, social change, political change, party positions, voting behaviour, electoral change, netherlands

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