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A New Working Class? Political Preferences and Behavior of Production and Service Workers in Post-Industrial Societies

Elections
Electoral Behaviour
Mobilisation
Macarena Ares
University of Zurich
Macarena Ares
University of Zurich

Abstract

Recent research has extensively documented the partisan realignment of industrial production workers and socio-cultural professionals in Europe. Yet, we know substantially less about the political behavior and attitudes of low-skilled service workers. This paper analyzes whether service workers will join the ranks of industrial production workers (in political terms) or whether they will instead display distinct political preferences, hence further undermining the potential of a working-class coalition. A comparison of production and service workers based on European Social Survey data indicates that, in spite of strong differences in their socio-demographic composition, these two classes constitute a homogeneous electoral constituency. These two groups display similar preferences on cultural and economic issues, as well as similar patterns of electoral behavior. In this paper, I also analyze whether the politicization of these issues by political parties moderates the differences in preferences between these two classes across political contexts. The hierarchical models incorporating information on the electoral supply indicate that production and service workers remain a viable and homogenous electoral coalition even in countries where economic and cultural issues are highly politicized.