The effects of language and economic restructuring on electoral support for sovereignty in Quebec, 1976-1995
Allen, David J. (David James), 1965-
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The concepts of place, nationalism and economic restructuring caused by globalization are applied to the study of sovereigntist voting in the Canadian province of Quebec from 1976 to 1995. Nationalism and identity are described as social constructions that must be mobilized by local elites before they have political impact.Federal, provincial and referendum elections held in this period are studied using these three concepts. A unique dataset made up of constant units over the study period is used in a series of stepwise multiple regression analyses. This technique is used to compare the strength of linguistic and economic factors in predicting voting behavior. A variety of independent variables are used to build regression models of each party's support, including information on home language, income, occupations and home ownership. Also, to test whether an area's economic trajectory affects sovereigntist voting, changes in the economic variables from election to election were included. Finally, dummy variables representing regional differences in Quebec were entered into the analysis.The results of these stepwise regressions suggest that language is a much more important contributor to support for sovereigntist policies and candidates than either current economic conditions or measures of economic change. Language was always the most important variable in the sovereigntist equations. However, in the regressions for the Liberal party, the provincial wing of the party was more sensitive to language than the federal wing. Also, the regional dummy variables were found to have a pronounced effect on voting, and reflect the core areas of a party's support pattern. Also, at least in the case of the referendum votes, the regional dummies have increased in importance, as measured by their beta coefficients.
- Geography