Class voting and Left–Right party positions: A comparative study of 15 Western democracies, 1960–2005

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38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Studies that explain the class voting have often focused on “bottom-up” social factors, but paid little attention to ‘top-down’ political factors. We argue that party positions on left–right ideology have an effect on the strength of class voting. This argument is tested by estimating the impact of the Left–Right party positions on the class-vote association through a Two-Step Hierarchical analysis of integrated data from 15 countries in Western-Europe, the United States and Australia (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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-400
JournalSocial science research
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Social class
  • Class voting
  • Party manifestos
  • Party positions
  • Voting behavior
  • Electoral change

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