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The evolution of cleavage voting – Structural, behavioural or political dealignment?

TitleThe evolution of cleavage voting – Structural, behavioural or political dealignment?
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsGoldberg, Andreas C.
Conference Name3rd European Conference on Comparative Electoral Research
Abstract

Since the heyday of cleavage voting in the 1960s/70s developments such as societal modernisation and the resulting individualisation of politics have been said to weaken cleavage voting. This weakening might be due to structural dealignment (shrinking group size) or behavioural dealignment (change in partisan alignment). A rather modern phenomenon is collective voting abstention by certain social groups (e.g. lower classes), here referred to political dealignment, opening a new type of cleavage in terms of voting vs. abstention. The purpose of this paper is to examine first the evolution of cleavage voting and subsequently check which of the underlying mechanisms are responsible for that. Regarding longitudinal data from Switzerland the statistical results show an overall declining influence of cleavages. However, contrary to the expectations, in most cases this decreasing impact is due to behavioural changes only, leaving little influence to structural developments. Evidence for a new type of cleavage in terms of voting vs. abstention is equally presented.

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TEV2014_Goldberg.pdf542 KB