Class and Religious Voting in Italy

Oliver Heath and Paolo Bellucci

in Political Choice Matters

Published in print March 2013 | ISBN: 9780199663996
Published online May 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745140 | DOI:
Class and Religious Voting in Italy

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We examine the conditions under which cleavage voting responds to top-down political choice factors. By comparing the responsiveness of class voting and religious voting to policy platforms we show that class voting in Italy has become increasingly responsive to policy variation. We suggest that this is for three main reasons. Firstly, elections have become more competitive, and there is now less certainty over who will win the election and form a government. This encourages voters to pay more attention to what policy parties seek to implement. Secondly, the transformation of a polarized multi-party system into two more or less stable party blocs has increased the identifiability of policy platforms, making the choice between policy platforms clearer. Thirdly, the implosion of the Christian Democrats in 1993 and the decline of the religious cleavage has removed a cross-cutting cleavage, which acted as a barrier to class policy responsiveness.

Keywords: class voting; religious voting; policy responsiveness; political competition

Chapter.  8995 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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