The loyalty of the Christian democratic voter
How is it possible that Christian democratic parties have been able to stay relevant in Europe, while societies became increasingly secular? Further investigation into the electorate of parties could give an indication of what is important when it comes to people’s voting behavior. This thesis concerns itself with the question to what extent the CDA voter has changed ideologically between 1980 and 2012. In order to address that question, two opposing theories are postulated. The first theory is the ‘cleavage theory’, which implies that Christian people still vote CDA because their religion is important to them and they want to express that politically. The second theory is the ‘secularization theory’. The empirical implications of this theory would be that people are becoming increasingly secular and would therefore be less inclined to vote CDA for religious reasons. This thesis has found support for the cleavage theory. This indicates that the relevance of the party to a large extent can be explained by the loyalty of the Christian voters.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen