Religion and Nineteenth-Century Voting Behavior: A New Look at Some Old Data

Authors

  • Samuel DeCanio

    Corresponding author
    1. University of California, Santa Cruz
      Samuel DeCanio is lecturer of politics, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064.
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Samuel DeCanio is lecturer of politics, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064.

Abstract

Recent studies of nineteenth-century voting behavior have focused on how economic variables influenced elections during this period. Employing underutilized individual-level data from the 1870s, this paper argues that such studies overstate the influence of economic variables upon electoral behavior. Specifically, Democratic voters principally cast ballots on the basis of economic issues and divisions, while Republicans were primarily concerned with religious and cultural issues. These results suggest that the Democratic and Republican parties attracted voters on the basis of different policy dimensions, indicating that both ethnocultural and economic considerations affected both political parties, albeit in divergent ways.

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