The Activation of the Religious Vote in Spain (1979-2011)

Spanish religious indicators have experienced one of the most drastic declines in Europe. The low levels of church attendance and religious denomination contributed to reject the perception of religiosity as a relevant explanatory factor of electoral behavior. However, leaders continued introducing debates related to secular education, divorce and abortion not only during the eighties, but also more recently from 2004 to 2011. The facts encourage us to reconsider the strength of the religious vote. Is the political elite able to mobilize religious voting through the inclusion of such issues in the electoral debate? In this paper I demonstrate that religiosity has been and still is a key element to understand Spanish electoral behavior, especially in those elections in which the political elite has focused the debate on issues related to moral issues.


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