Social Structure and Voting

One of my research area is the relation between politics and social structure. In particular, I am interested in how party competition affects this relation. The core idea behind this is that, as parties move to the center of the space of political competition, they become more similar thereby giving different voters less reason to choose differently. I have been working on this topic from the beginning of my doctoral studies.

Social class, church-attendance and vote intention in the Eurobarometer

In a paper written a spin-off from my doctoral dissertation and pubished in Perspectives on Politics I examine stability and change in the relation between social class and church attendance on the one hand, and vote intention on the other, based on data from the Eurobarometer series of surveys. Furthermore, I check whether changes in intended class voting (the degree to which vote intentions are related to people’s social class) can be explained to a rise in post-materialist value orientations and with cogntive mobilisation (the spread of education and political interest). To this purpose I employ some non-nested hypothesis tests, which show that the change in class voting cannot be attributed to value change or cognitive mobilisation.

Some of the core results of the papar are shown in Figures 1 through 3. Figure 1 shows how the percentage difference between members of the manual working class and the self-employed have chaned from the 1970s to the early 2000s.

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Figure 1: The diagram shows the trend in the percentage difference between members of the manual working class and the self-employed with respect to the intention to vote for “left” party, i.e. a social democrat, socialist, or communist party

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Figure 2: The diagram shows the trend in the percentage difference between members of the manual working class and the salariat with respect to the intention to vote for “left” party, i.e. a social democrat, socialist, or communist party

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Figure 3: The diagram shows the trend in the percentage difference between regular churchgoers (those who attend church about once a week) and non-churchgoers with respect to the intention to vote for a christian democratic or conservative party.

Social structure, parties’ political positions and vote intention

More to follow …