Conservative Voting and the Church: The Religious Dimension in the Electoral Geography of the Conservative (Moderate) Party in Sweden 1921-1998
Conservative Voting and the Church: The Religious Dimension in the Electoral Geography of the Conservative (Moderate) Party in Sweden 1921-1998. The geographic patterns of the electoral support for the Conservative (Moderate) party have undergone a profound transformation during the 1921—1998 period studied in this article. Formerly, the party was supported by religious voters to a much higher extent than non-religious voters, a pattern that was very pronounced as late as in the 1950s and 1960s. This individual level pattern of voting corresponded with a geographic pattern of electoral support with the strongholds of the party highly concentrated to the counties of Västerbotten and Norrbotten in the northernmost part of Sweden, and the counties of Gothenburg and Bohus, Halland, Skaraborg, Älvsborg (especially the southern part of this county), Kronoberg, Kalmar and some southern parts of Östergötland. This geographic pattern completely overlaps the geographic areas with the traditionally highest proportions of the population going to morning service on Sundays in the Swedish Lutheran State Church. This geographic pattern of support for the party was gradually eroded during the twentieth century. In the 1980s and 1990s, no individual level association remained between religious practise and conservative voting. Correspondingly, the geographic strongholds of the party are now concentrated to the highly urbanised areas in the Stockholm region, in Scania and in Gothenburg.