Presentation on theme: "What determines the way people vote in the UK? Long term factors –Social class –Age –Gender –Geography –Ethnicity –Party affiliation Short term factors."— Presentation transcript:
What determines the way people vote in the UK? Long term factors –Social class –Age –Gender –Geography –Ethnicity –Party affiliation Short term factors –Rational choice –Issues –party image and personalities
Social class Social class way of dividing people into groups based on occupation AProfessionalAccountant, doctor, university teacher BIntermediatePilot, manager, police officer, school teacher C1Non-manual skillede.g. clerical, secretary, call centre worker C2Manual skilledElectrician, bus driver, butcher DPartly skilledBar person, waiter, postal worker EUnskilledLabourer, cleaner We will mostly talk about 4 class groups: AB, C1, C2 and DE Middle class working class
Social Class Until the 1970s there was a clear two party system. Clear distinction between left and right Most voters had strong ties to a particular party based on their social background and voted along class lines What does left-wing and right-wing mean
Voting patterns by social class Traditionally, A,B,C1 voted Conservative in large numbers C2, D, E voted Labour. Voting behaviour 1948 -1958 (Butler and Stokes) AB C1 C2 DE Conservative 85 70 35 30 Labour 10 25 60 65
Conclusions Most people had strong loyalty to one party Social class was the biggest influence in deciding which party voters supported Why? Labour was seen as the natural party for the working class because …………….. Whereas the natural party for the middle and upper classes was the Conservatives because …………….
Social class changes Impact of economic changes – heavy industries in decline, more social mobility, decreasing union membership The New Working class were more likely to be concerned with interest rates and personal wealth Thatchers Conservative policies appealed to them.
Result: party dealignment Party dealignment = weakening attachment to a political party Evidence –More and more people are voting against traditional class lines. Only 47% of us voted for our clas party at the last general election
Class voting by party in 1992 (%) AB C1 C2 DE Conservative 56 52 38 30 Labour 20 25 41 50 Lib Dem 22 19 17 15 Class voting by party in 1997 (%) AB C1 C2 DE Conservative 42 26 25 21 Labour 31 47 54 61 Lib Dem 21 19 13 13
Analysis C2, traditionally skilled manual working class, had been more supportive of the Conservatives in 1992 than Labour. However in 1997 they voted decisively in Labours favour. For the first time in 1997 also, the largely middle class C1 gave more votes to labour than they did to the Tories.
Social Class WHO VOTED FOR THE PARTIES? % support in 2005 TORY LABOUR LIB AB 37 28 29 C1 (lower middle class) 37 32 23 C2 (skilled workers) 33 40 19 DE (unskilled workers) 25 48 18 8 11 18 18
Social Class - Some Changes The Old Working class, employed in heavy industry, possibly a TU member, living in a council house has been replaced by a new working class which does not have the same automatic loyalty to Labour. This New Working class is more likely to be part of a skilled workforce employed in high tech industries and owner occupiers. Labour had to reinvent itself to win back its traditional working class base but also the middle classes.
Social Class In the last twenty years it has been apparent that the influence of social class as the main determining factor in voting behaviour is decreasing but it still remains important..
Influences on the floating voter These can include family back ground, neighbourhood geographical location, age, gender religion and ethnicity as well as short term political and economic factors. Of course how the media report these could also have an effect.
Historically, religion was a big factor in Scottish elections. The Conservative Party could appeal to Protestant working class voters. Labour was portrayed as the party of poor Catholic Irish immigrants. The influence of religion has declined in the post war years. It does though retain an influence in Scotland. On the other hand, Muslim voters, who in the past have been relatively faithful Labour supporters, have turned away from the party over Tony Blairs support for the war in Iraq. In constituencies where more than 10% voters were Muslims, Labours vote fell by 10.6%
Gender In 2005, women became the targets of attention for party strategists. Women used to have a strong attachment to the Conservatives The main parties have strategies to attract middle class female voters – the so-called School Gate Mum - the British version of the Soccer Mums found in the USA.
Gender In 2005, womens votes were critical to Labours success. According to MORI, 38% of women voted Labour, 32% voted Conservative Whereas 34% of men voted Labour and 34% voted Conservative.
Age There is a cliché which says that as you get older you become more conservative Labour still did well among younger voters, but not as well as in 1997, when the youthful appeal of Tony Blair was very influential.
The only social group that has remained solidly Conservative are older voters, with 41% of the over 65s voting Tory in comparison to 35% voting Labour. But 28% 18-24 voted Tory, fewer than the 38% who voted Labour. There is a strong link between age and social class
Race Black voters are significantly more likely to be Labour supporters. So too are Asian voters, but not as strongly as blacks. This could be related to social class, with blacks more likely to live in poorer inner city areas and have a low income. Also Labour has tended to have more liberal policies on issues such as discrimination. Labour won 56% of the non white vote with the Tories trailing with 19% in 2005
Race The Conservatives have sometimes tried to make immigration an issue at General Elections, which alienated black and Asian voters. David Cameron has tried to end the Conservatives image as the nasty party and has made big efforts to win the votes of minority voters.
Short term factors Party manifesto Taxation, NHS, Education, law and order However at present little difference in ideology between the parties Party image competent ? Good track record? Positive Issues Iraq war, the handling of the economy Immigration
Impact of the media The relationship between the media and voter is a complex one which should not be simplified. For example, the Sun switched its support from Conservative to Labour in 1997. Does this mean it woz the Sun wot won it or does it mean that The Sun, like everyone else, saw which way the tide was turning and jumped ship to support the winning team? 1997 Election
Impact of the media Political parties would not spend so much time and energy on spin if what people see on TV and read in newspapers had no influence on how they vote.
Newspaper199720012005 SunLab Daily MirrorLab Daily MailCon Daily ExpressConLabCon Daily StarLab No Support Daily TelegraphCon Financial TimesLab Party Support from newspapers