The Corrosion Of An Ideological Identity? Differences Between The Christian-Democratic Discourse And The Attitude Of The Faithful Electorate
Electoral manifestos represent tools of political communication which do not only inform the electorate upon the fundamental values of a party, but which also legitimize future actions that the party might undertake once in power. The electoral manifesto of the European People's Party, drafted before the 2009 European elections brings together the main elements which define the action plan of the party. Religious values lie at the core of the Christian-democratic ideology. But given the dynamic of politics and the sometimes sudden shifts in the preferences of the electorate, manifestos can rapidly become out of touch with the needs of the voters. The current paper will analyze how much of what the EPP Manifesto contains on issues related to religiosity is truly in line with the general opinion of the Christian-democratic electorate in four European countries:Austria,Bulgaria, The Netherlands andPortugal. Moreover, using data collected through the Vote Advice Application data, the paper will also tap into the differences which still persist (or which are fading away) in the attitude of the right-wing versus the left-wing electorate on the issues related to religion. Communicating with the electorate is the main key in attracting those who share the ideas and values of a party. But what if the core ideas of a party are slowly becoming unappealing for its own electorate?
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