Voting Behavior Religion Has Continued Term Paper

Length: 10 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Mythology - Religion Type: Term Paper Paper: #19099569 Related Topics: Eastern Religion, Conformity, Persuasion, Theoretical Orientation
Excerpt from Term Paper :

It is also said that Islam is against democracy due to the sovereignty it vest on God, the sole source of political authority and whose divine law provides regulations that govern the community of believers. Some scholars view this as Islam becomes embodied in a totalitarian state.

In Democracy and Arab Political Culture, the late Elie Kedourie wrote that in Muslim political tradition, popular sovereignty being a foundation of governmental sovereignty, the idea of representation, elections of popular suffrage, political institutions that are regulated by laws laid by a parliamentary assembly and the laws guarded and upheld by a parliamentary assembly and guarded and upheld by an independent judiciary and secularity of the state and society composed of a multitude of self-activating groups and other associations are completely alien concepts (Elie, 1994, p.6). There are those who argue that Islam is against the struggle of a government that is accountable. They claim that Islam is multi-faceted and has many tendencies that make one-dimensional characterization of it highly suspicious. They also believe that with the considerable variation in the interpretation of religious laws by Muslim scholars and theologians among them some who are leading scholars; there are few which express support of democracy. There are also there are traditions associated with the religion that express openness, tolerance and progressive innovation, making them entirely compatible with Islam.

There are claims that forces of history and economics that account for the absence of democratic governance in much of the Arab world. The differing and competing assessments suggest that they are to be found within Islamic doctrine and Muslim tradition which are not congenial to democracy and in turn, the religion's influence is dependent on how and who interpreted it. There are no accepted interpretations on many issues or a consensus on who speaks for Islam. There are also serious doubts cast over what motivated some religious authorities. On Arab scholar noted the numerous examples of ulama manipulating Islamic teachings, which were motivated by political instead of religious considerations and have offered doctrinal interpretations deliberately made in an effort to justify the behavior of political leaders. These views point to the need for a systemic empirical research on existing connections between the religious orientations and political cultures in the Arab and Muslim world. With the help of public opinion data from Western countries, a growing number of studies are exploring these connections. The findings are however not entirely consistent and there are no studies in which the attitudes towards democracy is the dependant variable. This particular body of literature offers evidence on whether and how religion and religiously influence political attitudes. One conclusion is that strong religious attachments usually push towards more conservative political views.

A study using European data discovered greater religiosity was positively correlated with higher levels of internationalism and with more support for European integration and for aid to developing countries. Religiosity is therefore measured by the degree to which respondents reported the importance of religion in shaping their own outlook. A final observation, which has some evidence, is that the explanatory power of religion varies as a function of demographic characteristic.

Group influence and political behavior

The idea of the majority influence seemed to have taken the political students of over fifty years ago whereby the attitudes and values which dominated the social groups of the individual influenced the citizen. It has also been argued that political preferences in a campaign are contagious over personal contacts range. The Elmirons social networks consisted of peers whose views were similar in their voting intentions remained most firm while those individuals were members of two groups having advocacy for opposing parties had voting intentions that were less stable, and more time was needed by them in making of voting decisions. The citizens voting preference was reflective of their religious, racial and union affiliations even after the characteristics were controlled that they were likely to have in common with members of the same...


Political perceptions which are in harmony with a particular group was more likely to be held by the citizens that expressed identification to that group. It was observed by Newcomb that students who attended Bennington College which was also liberal changed their political ideas notably in the direction of the liberal during the four-year period that they were in the college a change that the general liberalizing impacts of the education of the college or attrition could not account for. The four-year effects for many participants at Belington stayed on for decades. Forces past ordinary persuasion were attributed for these findings.

It has also been argued by Lazarsfeld et al. that political views have originated from traditions and norms of the group or the political preferences of many voters can be regarded to be similar to the cultural tastes originating from ethnic, class, sectional and family traditions (Lazarsfeld, Bernard, and Hazel, 1948, p.36). The choices of the electorate were determined by conformity to the standards of the group that a person associated themselves as proposed by Campbell (2006, p.108). Similarly, it the loyal union or Catholic member is expected to exhibit appropriate behavior as described by the sense of values and norms which are attributed to the generalized group. Whenever the influence occurs, it is attributed to the standards of the group which are real psychologically. When giving the explanation for the occurrence of peer influence, the influence is attributed to the societal influence which is considered less rational rather than to the ordinary persuasion. The experimental psychologist have influenced the voting scholars through their findings when studying the dynamics of a group and have been trying to comprehend the novel influence of the social phenomenon in the preceding decades labeled as conformity, group pressure or majority influence.

For instance the studies of the auto kinetic effect was demonstrated there would be convergence of a group consisting of previously unacquainted individuals on a supposed movement of the light. Even when taking part for a second time in a different occasion, the group's estimate was held more by the individuals. Group norms were the term used to refer to the converging estimates. There was an obvious choice among the student in a group when they were asked to judge the longest line in a pair when the several pairs were presented. What the subjects didn't know was that the real subjects were placed in a confederates group that made errors purposefully. The errors of the confederates persuaded the real subjects in almost one third times and this is a significant percentage considering the fact the errors should have been so obvious. Through the learning of the beliefs of the peers, the individual's belief tended to be altered in their peer's direction and this has been shown in several similar studies.

There still remains a mystery on the reason for the power that is held by the group norms over the beliefs of the individual group member. In the political science the group pressure as the reason for social group influencing has faded probably for this reason. It has been argued that the majority point-of-view persuades the individual because in attempting to comprehend why the views are held by the majority in that particularly manner, the available information is drawn on by the individuals which the majority's view would explained by the arguments that they conjure up and in the process get persuaded by themselves. These works has importance on argumentation and information and its thought best to belong to the traditional persuasion theories. It has also been argued that political minorities comply to such influence so as to ingratiate themselves with the group and such influences are not real expressed through surface compliance or normative influence. There have been further arguments that the persons judgment remain private even when the effect of the group influence persist and the group members could not observe this decisions. Still others have argued against the compliance explanations stating that the citizens are less likely to express their opinions as a result of embarrassment and discomfort. The minorities are likely to become silent all together because their opinion reduces in expression as the discomfort increases.

The catholic family values influence on the voting behavior.

The voting pattern of the individual catholic is influenced by the general views of the catholic group. For most individuals who identify strongly as Catholics, when they lean that the other members of their catholic faith held family values that are progressive tend to move in a direction that is also progressive. Again Catholics who learnt that traditional values were being held by the Evangelicals moved in a direction which was progressive exhibiting polarization from the view of the evangelicals. These characteristics are usually not typical of those who identify weakly as Catholics. If we consider the fact that there…

Sources Used in Documents:


Campbell, D. (2006). Religious "Threat" in Contemporary Presidential Elections. Journal of Politics 68(7), 104-115

Elie, K. (1994). Democracy and Arab political Culture. London: Frank Cass.

Jelen, T.G. (1993). The Political Consequences of Religious Group Attitudes. The Journal of Politics 55(2), 178-190.

Lazarsfeld, P.F., Bernard B., & Hazel G. (1948). People's Choice: How the Voter Makes

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