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Political Choice MattersExplaining the Strength of Class and Religious Cleavages in Cross-National Perspective$
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Geoffrey Evans and Nan Dirk de Graaf

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199663996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199663996.001.0001

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Social Divisions and Political Choices in Germany, 1980–2006

Social Divisions and Political Choices in Germany, 1980–2006

(p.277) 11 Social Divisions and Political Choices in Germany, 1980–2006
Political Choice Matters

Martin Elff

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the development of the relation between social divisions and party preferences and provides some background information about the political development in Germany and the impact of German Unification. It is shown that the German party system has been remarkably stable with exception of the emergence of the Greens and the PDS, and that the increase in volatility of electoral results is a relatively recent phenomenon. Further, the relation between social divisions and party preferences differs considerably between the eastern and the western part of Germany. In the west, the impact of social divisions has declined only modestly. The changes in the relation between class and party preferences observable in West Germany can mainly be attributed to the changes in the left-right position of the SPD. In the east, class does not have an impact on party preferences, unlike church attendance and denomination.

Keywords:   germany, class, religious denomination, church-attendance, spd, pds/linke, east-west differences in germany, german general social survey, parties’ political positions

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