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Most studies of the influence of class and religion on politics in post-industrial democracies point to their gradual decline as a result of social change: the withering of class differences and increasing secularization. This book's argument, backed up by extensive evidence from 11 case studies and a 15-country pooled analysis, is that the supply of choices by parties influences the extent of such divisions: political choice matters. Class divisions in politicalchoices are influenced by choices offered by parties on questions of inequality and redistribution, and religious divisions by strategic changes in party positions on moral issues. Although there has been some overtime decline in the links between social class, religiosity, and party choice this isless than that occurring as a result of party movements on dimensions of ideology.
Table of Contents
Part I: Models, Measurement and Comparative Analysis 1. Explaining Cleavage Strength: The Role of Party Positions, Geoffrey Evans and Nan Dirk De Graaf 2. Measuring Party Positions, Ryan Bakker and Sara Binzer Hobolt 3. Examining The Impact of Party Positions and Class Voting in 15 Western Democracies: A Pooled Analysis, Giedo Jansen, Geoffrey Evans and Nan Dirk De Graaf Part II: The Case Studies Anglo-Saxon Democracies 4. Ideological Convergence and the Decline of Class Voting in Britain, Geoffrey Evans and James Tilley 5. The United States: Still the Politics of Diversity, David L. Weakliem 6. The Declining Impact of Class on the Vote in Australia: Testing Competing Explanations, Gary Marks 7. The Class-Party Relationship in Canada, 1965- 2004, Robert Andersen Mainland Europe 8. Enduring Divisions and New Dimensions: Class Voting in Denmark, Sara Binzer Hobolt 9. The Political Evolution of Class and Religion: An Interpretation for the Netherlands 1971-2006, Nan Dirk De Graaf, Giedo Jansen, and Ariana Need 10. Political Change and Cleavage Voting in France: Class, Religion, Political Appeals, and Voter Alignments (1962-2007), Florent Gougou and Guillaume Roux 11. Social Divisions and Political Choices in Germany, East and West, 1980-2006, Martin Elff 12. Class and Religious Voting in Italy: The Rise of PolicyResponsiveness, Oliver Heath and Paulo Bellucci Recent Democracies 13. Do Social Divisions Explain Political Choices? The Case of Poland, Natalia Letki 14. Social Class, Religiosity, and Vote Choice in Spain, 1979-2008, Lluis Orriols Part III: Concluding observations 15. The Importance of Political Choice and Other Lessons Learned, Geoffrey Evans and Nan Dirk De Graaf Bibliography Index