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The Link Between Voter Choice and Religious Identity in Contemporary Society: Bringing Classical Theory Back In

Authors


  • *Direct correspondence to Professor Thomas A. Hirschl, Department of Development Sociology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 〈tah4cornell.edu〉. For anyone interested in replicating the study, the study data plus additional statistical treatments can be obtained from the World Wide Web site authored by Professor James Booth 〈http://www.bscb.cornell.edu/~edu/~booth/index.html〉. We thank Lisa Dundon and Richard Swedberg for providing comments on earlier drafts of this article.

Abstract

Objectives. In this article, we analyze voter choice data from six U.S. presidential elections for evidence of religious identity and sociodemographic effects on voter choice.

Methods. Voter choice is analyzed over the period 1980 to 2000 with multivariate statistical models.

Results. A link is found between voter choice and religious identity, where the effect of religious identity on voter choice is contingent on location within the stratification order defined by race, class, and gender. The article proposes a theory to explain the contingent link between voter choice and religious identity; the theory is derived from classical sociology.

Conclusion. In the United States, political behavior related to religious identity is contingent on the individual's location within the stratification order.

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