Social Structure and Voting in the United States

Social Structure and Voting in the United States

by Robert B. Smith

Paperback(Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 2016)

View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


This book analyzes practical and moral influences on voting decisions. Undermining the widespread assumption that economic self-interest is the key determinant of voting choices,
it discovers that moral considerations rooted in religious traditions are often the more decisive. This finding is confirmed through a close analysis of tangible problems, such as child neglect and crime, problems which one would expect to trouble practical voters. Further, this book suggests that political ideologies influence party affiliation, rather than the other way around. It defines four categories of states in terms of human development and income equality—South,
Heartland, postindustrial, and “balanced.”
It then explains why political color (red, purple, or blue) and societal problems vary across these categories. Voters’ moral ideologies, it shows, combine with a state’s measure of income equality and human development to shape a state’s readiness to pursue practical solutions to societal problems. Finally, it shows that moral ideologies of the religious right and authoritarianism, two very different concepts, are in fact intertwined empirically. This book thus suggests that education—a key driver of human development, anti-authoritarianism, and deliberative voting—should begin in preschools that are both nurturant and instructive.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789402413588
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Publication date: 04/26/2018
Edition description: Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 2016
Pages: 399
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Robert B. Smith (Ph.D. Columbia University, 1971) taught political sociology, research methods, and theory development at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research there focused on war, public opinion, and dissent; generalizations of path analysis; and theoretical modeling. Subsequently, he has worked extensively in applied research. His publications include articles on political and social processes, and on multilevel models bearing on human development. He is the primary editor of the three volumes of the A Handbook of Social Science Methods, which link qualitative and quantitative methods. He is the author of Cumulative Social Inquiry: Transforming Novelty into Innovation (2008) and Multilevel Modeling of Social Problems: A Causal Perspective (2011). Smith was a Fulbright lecturer in structural sociology at Ghent University, Belgium, and he has served as president of the Boston Chapter of the American Statistical Association. His email address is

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction.- PART I. INDIVIDUAL VOTERS.- Chapter 2. Voters for Obama.- Chapter 3. Variables of Practical Voting.- Chapter 4. Models of Practical Voting.- PART II. TANGIBLE PROBLEMS.- Chapter 5. Post-Industrial Indicators, Human Development, and Red-Purple-Blue States.- Chapter 6. Gauging Income Inequality.- Chapter 7. Validity of a Typology of States.- Chapter 8. Consequences of Four Types of States.- PART III. MORAL VOTING.- Chapter 9. Gauging Moral Conservatism.- Chapter 10. Determinants of Social Conservatism.- Chapter 11. Determinants of a State's Political Color.- Chapter 12. Moral Conservatism and Voting.- Chapter 13. Moral Conservatism, Distractors, and Authoritarianism.- Chapter 14.Evidence-Based Insights.

Customer Reviews