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SPP 307

Author: Stephen White, Bill Miller, Ase Grodeland and Sarah Oates
Description: Patterns of political identification in postcommunist Europe are still weakly formed. The churches, however, command high levels of confidence, in sharp contrast to political parties. Representative national surveys in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine in late 1997 and early 1998 indicate high levels of confidence in the churches in three of these nations, but not in the Czech Republic for reasons that appear connected to its forced conversion to Catholicism. The religious, as in other countries, are disproportionately women, but attenders in postcommunist Europe are not more likely to be elderly or resident in the countryside. There was little difference between church attenders and national populations in attitudes to the market, NATO membership, or the current government; there were rather larger differences between the countries, with Bulgarians (for reasons connected with the election that had taken place shortly beforehand) the most favourable to the market, NATO and pro-market parties, and Ukrainians the least favourable. A multiple regression analysis found that church attendance of itself had little effect on attitudes or party preferences in either the Czech Republic or Slovakia; it did, however, increase support for the market, support for joining NATO and support for pro-market parties in Bulgaria and Ukraine. Still larger effects were found in a preliminary analysis at subnational level, looking particularly at the Muslim minorities in those countries, which suggests a fruitful line of inquiry for future research.

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland