The Influence of the Religious Factors on the Electoral Option-Quantitative Analysis

Article excerpt

In this study there are presented a series of aspects concerning the religious behavior of the Romanian population. By using quantitative analysis we have identified a series of religious key factors which can be used by parties and politicians to obtain votes during election campaigns.

The obtained results highlight the fact that people with a lower level of education are more receptive to the political messages transmitted by religious means. Also, the influence of political actions and messages having a religious character is more powerful at the level of the population with a lower standard of living.

By means of quantitative analysis we have also evaluated the impact of religious and ethnical fractionalization on the political representation in the national parliament.

Key Words:

religious factors, electoral option, social satisfaction, political parties, religious fractionalization, ethnical fractionalization, survey, econometric model.

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Introduction

In this article there are presented certain aspects concerning the influence exerted by religion on the Romanian population's electoral option at the local and national elections. We used data series from the national statistics and also data series which were collected at the level of a statistical sample applied on the Romanian population at the end of 2007.

The study aims to identify a series of means by which the political parties can use the religious factors to obtain votes during electoral campaigns. By using quantitative analysis we have also determined the profile of a person whose electoral option can be modified by politicians using messages with religious character.

It should be noted that in the literature available there are empirical studies concerning the relationship between the church and the electoral process, which discuss a series of cases in which the church, through messages of their own and through their representatives, tried to influence the political option of the citizens during the election period.

The characteristics of the relation religion-politics in Romania

In Stan and Turcescu1 there is a presentation of a series of cases in which, during the electoral campaigns, religious means were used to obtain votes. The aspects mentioned in this work cannot be generalized as the extent to which the electoral results can also be influenced by religious beliefs cannot be determined. For this reason, our study, using elements of quantitative analysis, tries to reveal a series of key factors, based on several hypotheses.

Hypothesis 1. All religious institutions have a favorable position in the democratization process of the Romanian society. Thus, according to Alina Mungiu - Pippidi and Sandu Frunza2, between the option for a certain religion and the democratic orientation of a person there is no correlation validated from a statistical point of view.

Hypothesis 2. All throughout the transition period, the surveys and the studies that were carried out identified the church as occupying the first place in the Romanians' ranking of the most trustworthy institutions. For example, in 2008, the Romanians, like the Danes, placed their trust primarily in the institutions of the church, the quota being 77%. 68% said they trusted the army, 61% the television and the radio, 53% the print media and only 26%3 placed their trust in the system of justice. The level of the population's confidence in the church is situated at higher rates, over 76%, during the entire period 1996-2008. Under these conditions, the messages transmitted by the church during the electoral campaigns using various means can influence to a great extent the political options of the population.

Hypothesis 3. The means used by the political parties to influence the population's vote have been different. For example, certain clerics were candidates on the lists of certain political parties. …