Theses and Dissertations


Young Bin Lim

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Boyd, Robert L.

Committee Member

Peterson, Lindsey

Committee Member

Rader, Nicole E.

Committee Member

Barranco, Raymond Edward

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology


I examine the relationship between social structural factors and political behavior by applying the concept of social cleavage in American society. Lipset and Rokkan (1967) developed the concept of social cleavage to explain the influence of social structure on political behavior in the 1960s. They suggest that social cleavage emerged in Western Europe in the 1920s and persisted until the 1960s. Some scholars claim that the influence of social group membership is not as influential in predicting voting behavior in elections as it was in the 1960s, while other scholars argue that social cleavages are still important in explaining individuals’ choices in elections. Additionally, many scholars believe that issue-based factors reduce the influence of social structure on voting behavior. I first analyze the voting trend of classes, religious groups, and regions, and their magnitude of cleavage since 1980. Second, I examine the influence of economic and cultural factors on Presidential voting. Third, I estimate the relative size of the effects of economic and cultural factors on Presidential voting. Fourth, I demonstrate the influence of economic and economic factors on social cleavages. The findings show that social group membership and geographical residence are significant factors in Presidential elections between 1980 and 2008. Political cleavage based on religious group membership is the greatest. Voters also have more distinctive political preferences based on micro-regional residence compared to macro-regional residence. The binary logistic regression analysis showed that economic and cultural factors are significantly associated with Presidential elections between 1984 and 2008, and that the magnitude of social cleavage changed when economic and cultural variables were included.