The Catholic‐Liberal Connection: Untangling the Specifics

16 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 2 Sep 2009

Date Written: 2009


One of the most persistent regularities of Canadian voting behaviour is the finding that Catholics tend to vote for the Liberal Party (e.g., Meisel 1956, 1973; Laponce 1969, 1972; Clarke et al. 1980, 1996; Johnston et al. 1992; Nevitte et al. 2000; Blais et al. 2002; Gidengil et al. 2006, 2009). This paper explores the relationship between Catholics and the Liberal party since 1988 in greater depth. The main question guiding this analysis is whether the recent weakening in the relationship is indicative of a permanent shift in the voting behaviour of Catholics. I consider this from two angles. First, was a trend away from support for the Liberal party by Catholics emerging prior to 2000? Second, if there was such a trend, can it be attributed to a generational change in the attachment between Catholics and the Liberal party? The analysis shows no indication that the preferences of Generation X are driving the change in the relationship, and reveals some interesting findings about the Catholic-Liberal relationship among Baby Boomers.

Keywords: Catholics, Liberal Party, voting, Canada

Suggested Citation

Stephenson, Laura, The Catholic‐Liberal Connection: Untangling the Specifics (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Laura Stephenson (Contact Author)

University of Western Ontario ( email )

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