Cleavage (politics)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In political science, cleavage is the division of voters into voting blocs.

The preliminary assumption is that voters do not come in predefined groups of pros and cons for or against a certain subject. Ballot analysis assumes that voters opt for a certain party or decide for the solution or option that comes closest to their own position. Cleavage separates the voters into advocates and adversaries on a certain issue, or voting for a certain party. If you imagine parties on a horizontal line for a certain issue, cleavage is the vertical line that divides the parties into supporters and opponents of the issue.

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