What Is Social Cleavage?

Social cleavage is the division of voters into groups known as voting blocs based on political issues. Voters are considered either adversaries or advocates of each issue. This concept is used in voting analysis to gain a comprehensive view of the voting public.

Four major social cleavages have been defined. Center vs. periphery is the division between urban voters and voters in non-urban areas. State vs. church is the division between secular and religiously observant voters. Owner vs. worker is a division based on socioeconomic class (or in simplified terms, the division between rich and poor voters). Land vs. industry is the division between state control and industrial freedom.