Look where you’re going: the cultural and economic explanations of class voting decline

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Davide Vittori & Davide Angelucci
West European Politics


Scholars have shown a consistent decline in class voting over time, arguing that social class no longer structures political competition. Yet, the loss of the explanatory power of social class should be attributed to the shift of left-wing parties towards less friendly issue positions for their class-based electorate and not entirely to demand-side explanations. This article focuses on the explanatory factors underpinning the decline of class voting, in particular economic and cultural ones. It does so by relying on a longitudinal dataset including survey data from the EES and party manifesto data from the CMP over the last 25 years in 12 European countries. Results show that when class-based parties adopt pro-labour positions, class voting is reinforced. By contrast, when class-bloc parties stand out for their pro-multiculturalism positions, class voting weakens significantly.

Supplemental data for this article can be accessed online at: https://doi.org/10.1080/01402382.2021.1987108 .