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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 28, 2017

Three Decades of Religious Vote in Europe

Guillermo Cordero
From the journal World Political Science

Abstract

The social sciences have often claimed the end of religiosity as one explanation for electoral behaviour in Europe. Nevertheless, left and right parties still incorporate religious and moral issues on the agenda in order to distance themselves from their opponents. This article undertakes a comparative study of 34 European democracies and examines the extent to which religious voting has diminished since the eighties. Results point to a sharp decline in the levels of religious vote until the nineties, followed by a revitalization since that time in a third of the countries included in the sample. The analysis also highlights the important role played by the political elite in activating the religious vote.

Acknowledgments

Asociacion Espanola de Ciencia Politica y de la Administracion (AECPA).

Appendix

Table A.1:

Country-Level Characteristics.

Economic polarizationaMoral polarizationaMain religious denominationb
Austria0.99.1Catholic
Belgium12.911.4Catholic
Bulgaria13.69.6Orthodox
Croatia7.68.4Catholic
Czech Republic19.45.9Catholic
Denmark14.49.6Protestant
Estonia3.97.6Mixed
Finland18.57.3Protestant
France14.88.1Catholic
East GermanyProtestant
West Germany12.110.8Mixed
Great Britain9.84.1Mixed
Greece12.97.5Orthodox
Hungary9.15.3Catholic
Iceland17.11.7Protestant
Ireland11.79.9Catholic
Italy31.39.4Catholic
Latvia5.68.6Mixed
Lithuania6.69Catholic
Macedonia8.110Orthodox
Malta16.210Catholic
Moldova8.14.5Orthodox
Montenegro3.610Orthodox
Netherlands109.3Mixed
Northern IrelandMixed
Norway26.48.5Protestant
Poland6.511.8Catholic
Portugal8.517.4Catholic
Romania8.86Orthodox
Russia4.48.3Orthodox
Serbia99.9Orthodox
Slovak Republic21.210.4Catholic
Slovenia914Catholic
Spain13.910.4Catholic
Sweden20.98Protestant
Switzerland33.316.2Mixed
Ukraine8.14.6Orthodox

  1. aSource: Party Manifestos Project. See Laver and Budge (1992) for more details.

  2. bSource: EVS (2008).

Table A.2:

Linear Regression on the Ideology of the Party Voted (with Control Variables), by Country, 2008.

West GermanyEast GermanyAustriaBelgiumBulgariaCroatiaDenmarkSlovak RepublicSloveniaSpainEstoniaFinland
Sociodemographic variables
 Gender (ref: man)0.150.40*0.49**0.35**0.220.38**0.65**−0.130.030.37**0.060.21
 Age0.01**−0.01**0.01**0.01−0.02**−0.01*0.00−0.01**0.00**0.000.000.00
 Education0.00−0.03*−0.03*−0.010.03−0.10*−0.04**0.030.000.03**0.04*0.08**
Religious practice
 Weekly church attendance−0.350.300.12−0.010.490.37*0.450.200.37**0.160.32−0.14
 Praying frequency0.090.24−0.32−0.30*−0.45*−0.08−0.060.49*−0.1−0.27*0.48**−0.01
Religious denomination
 Catholic0.63**0.920.380.36*0.75**0.45*−0.20−0.070.28**0.100.73−1.64
 Orthodox0.23−0.641.47−0.850.03−1.47**0.46
 Protestant0.340.440.46−0.72−0.28−2.550.63**0.060.102.650.380.56**
 Others0.270.180.340.45−1.46*−0.080.43−0.770.03−0.19−0.261.13
Believing
 God0.37*−0.04−0.47*0.01−0.030.380.43*0.470.070.48**−0.120.28
 Life after death0.070.54−0.250.120.370.080.09−0.030.010.11−0.12−0.01
 Hell−0.06−0.240.81**0.020.14−0.010.26−0.010.14−0.020.09−0.05
 Heaven0.221.25**−0.10−0.02−0.500.20−0.040.000.050.080.130.26
Individual religiosity
 Importance of God in life0.020.030.11**−0.10**0.010.06−0.02−0.060.01−0.02−0.020.00
 Importance of religion in life0.020.150.56**−0.280.370.47**−0.020.040.170.270.040.02
West GermanyEast GermanyAustriaBelgiumBulgariaCroatiaDenmarkSlovak RepublicSloveniaSpainEstoniaFinland
Trust in religious institutions0.170.39−0.270.270.010.58**0.24*0.060.47**0.81**−0.02−0.02
Constant3.83**5.22**4.89**5.12**5.51**3.86**5.24**5.25**4.35**3.34**4.46**2.90**
R20.150.170.100.050.100.210.050.060.240.220.140.06
n6305407901.1966528051.224641695739746634
FranceGreeceHungaryIrelandIcelandItalyLatviaLithuaniaMacedoniaMaltaMoldovaMontenegro
Sociodemographic variables
 Gender (ref: man)0.100.56**−0.04−0.150.66**0.31**−0.04−0.090.55*0.07−0.20−0.14
 Age0.000.01−0.02**0.02**−0.010.000.010.01−0.0*−0.01**−0.02**−0.01
 Education0.00−0.01−0.04*0.02−0.020.000.030.03*−0.0−0.07**0.06**0.00
Religious practice
 Weekly church attendance0.50*0.39*0.220.29*0.540.02−0.050.330.09−0.12−0.130.46*
 Praying frequency−0.09−0.320.13−0.33−0.26−0.01−0.48**0.12−0.20.010.23−0.04
Religious denomination
 Catholic0.86**−0.030.52*0.180.09−0.01−0.300.240.520.44−0.30
 Orthodox0.68−0.27−1.28**−0.36−1.4**−0.44−0.52−0.18
 Protestant0.42−0.130.740.84−0.200.63**−1.050.90−2.64
 Others0.350.42−1.48*0.200.61−1.45*0.71−1.20−0.0−1.250.27
Believing
 God0.190.70−0.020.32−0.440.23−0.130.081.41**0.140.18−0.17
 Life after death0.020.23−0.110.36*−0.070.12−0.160.15−0.0−0.190.71**−0.11
FranceGreeceHungaryIrelandIcelandItalyLatviaLithuaniaMacedoniaMaltaMoldovaMontenegro
 Hell0.49*0.160.59**−0.34*0.260.19−0.03−0.560.310.150.12−0.08
 Heaven−0.10−0.17−0.53*−0.200.15−0.170.020.530.08−0.17−0.250.34
Individual religiosity
 Importance of God in life−0.040.080.020.08−0.01−0.07*0.050.050.02−0.010.07−0.01
 Importance of religion in life0.000.230.01−0.14−0.230.40*0.02−0.200.350.18−0.410.10
Trust in religious institutions0.200.78**0.27*0.130.340.140.26−0.22−0.2−0.67**−0.390.04
Constant4.37**3.64**7.53**3.47**4.98**3.74**4.97**4.91**6.56**6.52**3.65**6.36**
R20.090.130.060.170.060.080.180.040.120.150.090.03
n1011768763496459684554577437744675635
NorwayNetherl.PolandPortugalCzech RepublicGreat BritainRomaniaRussiaSerbiaSwedenSwitzerl.Ukraine
Sociodemographic variables
 Gender (ref: man)0.95**0.33**−0.090.04−0.170.15−0.04−0.56**0.360.42*0.80**0.01
 Age0.01−0.01−0.01**0.00**−0.02**0.00−0.01−0.03**0.010.000.01−0.02**
 Education−0.04−0.04*0.000.020.29**−0.03*0.02−0.01−0.00.020.00−0.03
Religious practice
 Weekly church attendance−0.220.010.170.380.31−0.120.01−0.050.03−0.14−0.060.23
 Praying frequency−0.46−0.45**−0.200.33−0.06−0.140.420.00−0.2−0.180.01−0.16
Religious denomination
 Catholic1.610.60**0.640.92*−0.16−0.050.110.28−0.81.050.450.00
NorwayNetherl.PolandPortugalCzech RepublicGreat BritainRomaniaRussiaSerbiaSwedenSwitzerl.Ukraine
 Orthodox0.13−3.24**−2.49−0.45−0.030.35−0.050.01−0.23
 Protestant0.68*1.10**0.940.30−0.310.51**0.041.04−1.70.130.74**−0.37
 Others1.100.79**1.19−0.64−0.48−0.071.911.74**0.51−0.34
Believing
 God−0.570.16−0.440.160.14−0.19−0.75−0.01−0.5−0.030.220.16
 Life after death0.56*−0.090.310.090.120.11−0.19−0.36−0.1−0.20−0.17−0.17
 Hell0.490.320.200.290.230.23−0.17−0.010.050.110.43−0.65*
 Heaven0.000.150.20−0.17−0.70*−0.110.090.22−0.60.310.100.94**
Individual religiosity
 Importance of God in life0.07−0.020.090.13**−0.03−0.09**−0.020.060.09−0.060.03−0.03
 Importance of religion in life−0.57−0.20−0.25−0.370.300.140.24−0.190.41−0.43−0.11−0.22
Trust in religious institutions0.280.210.53**0.54*0.04−0.100.03−0.080.47*0.45*−0.160.11
Constant5.72**6.01**6.14**2.11**4.98**5.59**6.71**7.78**4.23**4.63**3.95**6.43**
R20.060.070.120.110.090.070.040.090.060.050.110.06
n8271200587546807791615804774652554728

  1. Source: EVS (2008).

  2. *Statistically Significant at 0.05. **Statistically Significant at 0.05.

  3. Standard Errors Not Included for the Lack of Simplicity. Results Upon Request.

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Published Online: 2017-4-28
Published in Print: 2017-4-25

©2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston