Scientific article
Open access

Union members at the polls in diverse trade union landscapes

Published inEuropean Journal of Political Research, vol. 55, no. 4, p. 702-722
Publication date2016

This article investigates to what extent social democratic parties still benefit from the support of union members at the polls. Not only are social democratic parties confronted with new competitors in the party systems, but also the union confederations of the socialist labour movement are in some countries losing their dominant position due to the rise of separate professional confederations. We argue that the effect of union membership on voting choice is conditioned by the structure of the trade union movement. The support of union members for social democracy is fostered by the strength of the confederations historically close to this party family, while it is hampered when strong separate (or politically unaffiliated) white-collar confederations exist. Using European Social Survey and Swedish Public Opinion data, we show that social democratic parties still enjoy an important support from trade union members, but at the same time are under fierce competition from bourgeois and green parties among members of white-collar confederations. This reinforces the challenges for social democracy to build new voters' coalitions in post-industrial societies.

  • Trade unions
  • Voting behaviour
  • Social democratic parties
  • White-collar unions
  • Professional confederations
Citation (ISO format)
ARNDT, Christoph, RENNWALD, Line. Union members at the polls in diverse trade union landscapes. In: European Journal of Political Research, 2016, vol. 55, n° 4, p. 702–722. doi: 10.1111/1475-6765.12157
Main files (1)
Article (Accepted version)
ISSN of the journal0304-4130

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