EPSA Konferenz 2022 in Prag | Drei Vorträge von und mit Martin Elff

Auf der EPSA Konferenz in Prag 2022 hat Martin Elff zwei Vorträge gehalten und war an einem weiteren Vortrag beteiligt:

Much About Ado Not Very Much? Clarifying the Confusion about Models, for Categorical Dependent Variables

Vortrag von Martin Elff

Models for categorical dependent variables, such as turnout, party choice, or partisanship have eluded scholars for decades. Their parameters are often difficult to interpret and do not lend themselves easily to an intuitive understanding. Yet, the concepts and patterns of inference that work will within the framework of linear regression cannot easily transferred to models for categorical dependent variables. The paper discusses two instances where attempts to do this leads to misleading methodological recommendations.

It should be noted that in its current state the paper is quite incomplete. Its argumentation is currently rather formal-mathematical, while its practical and empirical implications need to be further fleshed out.

Education as a new cleavage? The relevance of class, education, and income in a long-term perspective

Vortrag von Martin Elff

Ko-Autorin: Sigrid Roßteutscher, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

It has often been claimed in recent literature that class voting is in decline due to the increasing salience of cultural issues, which leads to a re-alignment of the working classes with right-wing populism. Stubager (2010; 2013) goes even further and claims that education has become the new structural cleavage. Others (e.g. van der Waal et al. 2007) argue in favour of an analytical decomposition of class: while both income and education are related to class, they show different relations to value orientations and voting. Income continues to be related to the traditional economic left-right dimension (pitting socialist orientations against preferences for free-market capitalism), while education increasingly is related to the social/cultural value dimension (pitting highly educated social liberals against low educated social conservatives and authoritarians). However both strands of the literature agree that these are rather new developments.

(West) Germany is a case that is unique in allowing to test the validity of these notions, in so far as both the social/cultural liberal-conservative dimension as well as the economic socialist/free-market dimension find a sufficiently strong expression in the party system and as a relatively long time series of election study data is available. We make use of these opportunities by analysing a long-term compilation of German electoral studies from 1949 to 2021 and examining the dynamics of change in “socio-economic” voting and “educational voting”, i.e. whether the latter displace the former and whether these changes are relatively new or the reflection of a
long-term process. For the long-term study we focus on the socio-structural characteristics’ impact on SPD- and non-voting and add two shorter trend analyses for Green party vote (1982 to present) and AfD vote (2013 to
2021). For all four trends we compare the relative weight of class compared to education and income.

Social Democracy, Christian Democracy, and the rise of right-wing populism in Germany

Vortrag von Sigrid Roßteutscher, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

Ko-Autor: Martin Elff

In the literature on class voting, the rise of right-wing populism is often explained by working-class defection from Social Democracy. Faced with the numeric decline of the working-class, Social Democracy has been targeting voter segments from the middle classes over the mobilization of traditional working-class constituencies, emphasizing cultural over economic issues, which has resulted in a de-politicization of conflicts around distribution
and inequality. Hence, the increasing salience of the authoritarian-libertarian divide increased the attractiveness of right-wing populist parties for working class voters, who were always rather conservative on cultural issues. In short, the decline of Social Democracy and the rise of right-wing populism appear as two sides of the same coin.

Focussing on the German case, we challenge this literature in two ways: first, we show that the working-class support of right-wing populist parties is rather modest. Second, we show that the rise of right-wing populist parties is more related to the support for the Christian Democrats and patterns of religious voting. Beside the German-Longitudinal Election
Study (GLES) cross-section samples from 2009 to 2021 we rely on the cumulated GLES online tracking studies conducted three to four times between 2013 and 2017. Our contribution resonates with the concern that political science tends too often to overlook the potential role of the Centre-Right and Christian Democracy for explanations of contemporary political trends and phenomena.

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