The dynamics of Catholic voting behaviour surrounding denominational education reform in Newfoundland

Clarke, Stephen J. (2000) The dynamics of Catholic voting behaviour surrounding denominational education reform in Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis seeks to reveal factors which accounted for the variance in vote among the Catholic electorate of St. John's during the 1995 and 1997 Newfoundland referenda on education reform. It is based primarily on two surveys conducted in St. John's after each referendum. Previous research on this topic has demonstrated that religious affiliation was an important factor in predicting voting behaviour surrounding the question of education reform. In particular, Catholic voters tended to vote against the reforms more than did non-Catholics. Preliminary multivariate analysis of the survey data has identified key factors which strongly influence Catholic voters. Voting patterns exhibited differed substantially when issues of the degree of religiosity and fear of loss of denominational rights are considered. Religiosity was considered both in terms of objective and subjective measures. Fear of loss of rights was manifest among these voters as a perceived attack on Catholics and the church by the government. The attempt to uncover the motivations of the Catholic voters during the two referenda requires a careful investigation of past and recent trends in social behaviour. Further validation of the observed trends can be accomplished if an historical basis for the Irish-Catholic identity demonstrated by the local Catholic population can be shown. This research is premised on the theory that Catholic voters who still possessed a strong sense of "Catholic identity," feelings of belonging to a "Catholic population," and believed that the reforms were a threat to "Catholic rights," were most likely to oppose the reforms to the education system.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9640
Item ID: 9640
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 92-95.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Political Science
Date: 2000
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Church and education--Newfoundland and Labrador; Church schools--Newfoundland and Labrador; Educational change--Newfoundland and Labrador; Voting--Newfoundland and Labrador--Religious aspects

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