The political evolution of class and religion: an interpretation for the Netherlands, 1971-2006

Nan Dirk de Graaf, Giedo Jansen, Ariana Need

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolitical choice matters
Subtitle of host publicationexplaining the strength of class and religious cleavages in cross-national perspective
EditorsGeoffrey Evans, Nan Dirk de Graaf
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199663996
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

PublisherOxford University Press
ISSN (Print)0049-089X
ISSN (Electronic)1096-0317


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