Presentation on theme: "What determines the way people vote in the UK?"— Presentation transcript:
1What determines the way people vote in the UK? Long term factorsSocial classAgeGenderGeographyEthnicityParty affiliationShort term factorsRational choiceIssuesparty image and personalities
2Social classSocial class way of dividing people into groups based on occupationAProfessionalAccountant, doctor, university teacherBIntermediatePilot, manager, police officer, school teacherC1Non-manual skillede.g. clerical, secretary, call centre workerC2Manual skilledElectrician, bus driver, butcherDPartly skilledBar person, waiter, postal workerEUnskilledLabourer, cleaner“Middle class”“working class”We will mostly talk about 4 class groups: AB, C1, C2 and DE
3Social Class Until the 1970s there was a clear two party system. Clear distinction between left and rightMost voters had strong ties to a particular party based on their social background and voted along class linesWhat does ‘left-wing’ and ‘right-wing’ mean3
4Voting patterns by social class Traditionally, A,B,C1 voted Conservative in large numbersC2, D, E voted Labour.Voting behaviour (Butler and Stokes)AB C1 C DEConservativeLabour
5Conclusions Most people had strong loyalty to one party Social class was the biggest influence in deciding which party voters supportedWhy?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 …………….
6Social class changes Impact of economic changes heavy industries in decline, more social mobility, decreasing union membershipThe New Working class were more likely to be concerned with interest rates and personal wealthThatcher’s Conservative policies appealed to them.
7Result: party dealignment Party dealignment = weakening attachment to a political partyEvidenceMore and more people are voting against traditional class lines. Only 47% of us voted for our ‘clas party’ at the last general election
8Class voting by party in 1992 (%) AB C C DEConservativeLabourLib DemClass voting by party in 1997 (%)AB C C DEConservativeLabourLib Dem
9AnalysisC2, traditionally skilled manual working class, had been more supportive of the Conservatives in 1992 than Labour .However in 1997 they voted decisively in Labour’s favour .For the first time in 1997 also, the largely middle class C1 gave more votes to labour than they did to the Tories.
10Social Class WHO VOTED FOR THE PARTIES? % support in 2005TORY LABOUR LIBABC1 (lower middle class)C2 (skilled workers)DE (unskilled workers)
11Social 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 .
12Social Class In the last twenty years it has been apparent that the influence of socialclass as the maindetermining factorin voting behaviour is decreasing but it stillremains important..
13Influences on the floating voter These can includefamily back ground, neighbourhoodgeographical location, age, gender religion and ethnicity as wellas short term political and economic factors . Of course how the media report these could also have an effect.
14ReligionThe influence of religion has declined in the post war years. It does though retain an influence in Scotland, as the SNP have found it difficult to break Labour’s support among Catholic West of Scotland voters.The SNP have made a conscious effort to widen their appeal and attract Catholic support, for example by supporting denominational schooling.On the other hand, Muslim voters, who in the past have been relatively faithful Labour supporters, have turned away from the party over Tony Blair’s support for the war in Iraq.In 2005, George Galloway famously won the seat of Bethnal Green in London, with its high Asian community, away from leading Labour MP Oona King.This was, of course, before Mr Galloway's performances on Big Brother!
15ReligionHistorically, 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 Blair’s support for the war in Iraq.In constituencies where more than 10% voters were Muslims, Labour’s vote fell by 10.6%
16GenderIn 2005, women became the targets of attention for party strategists. Women used to have a strong attachment to the ConservativesThe 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.
17GenderIn 2005, women‘s votes were critical to Labour’s success. According to MORI, 38% of women voted Labour, 32% voted ConservativeWhereas 34% of men voted Labour and 34% voted Conservative.
18AgeThere is a cliché which says that as you get older you become more conservativeLabour still did well among younger voters, but not as well as in 1997, when the “youthful” appeal of Tony Blair was very influential.
19The only social group that has remained solidly Conservative are older voters, with 41% of the over 65svoting Tory in comparison to 35% voting Labour.But 28% voted Tory, fewer than the 38% who voted Labour.There is a strong link between age and social class
20RaceBlack 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
21RaceThe 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.
22Short term factorsParty manifestoTaxation, NHS, Education, law and orderHowever at present little difference in ideology between the partiesParty imagecompetent ? Good track record? PositiveIssuesIraq war, the handling of the economyImmigration
23Impact of the media 1992 Election L-R Ruport Murdoch, Sun headlines, Alastair CampbellA common error is accepting that voters believe all they read in newspapers and vote like sheep for the party the newspaper supports. Another is to treat “the media” as all the same thing. You should distinguish between the possible influences of the different media e.g. quality/tabloid press, tv, internet. Really good candidates examine different influences in different elections and point to changes over time. 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? Clearly newspaper support is important to politicians. Tony Blair would not be so keen to have friendly relations with Rupert Murdoch (owner of BskyB and The Sun) if the media had no influence.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.It is what that influence is that is the key issue.Does the media shape people’s beliefs? Or does it merely reinforce existing beliefs? Or, can it alone, change people’s ideas? Professional spin doctors, such as Alastair Campbell, can manipulate the tabloid media much more than in the old days is the old days.“Off message” politicians or maverick candidates are kept well away from the media. Instead, good communicators and politicians seen to be popular with the voters are pushed to the fore by the parties.Most politicians these days are disciplined and trained media professionals. Pagers and Blackberry mobile phones keep candidates up to date with the latest “line” from Party HQ.The media rarely catches a politician off guard in modern elections. The exception was John Prescott punching a protestor during the 2001 Election. But did the headline “Two Jabs” in the following day’s Sun really do him, or the Labour Party any damage?Some people may have thought “I’m not voting for that thug” but others may have thought “Nice one! I like that guy!”. It sums up the nature of this topic. We cannot really know for sure, what the influence of the media is to any individual voter. TV and the Internet are replacing the tabloid media as a source of news. TV is much more balanced and internet news/opinion can be whatever version of the truth the voter wants to hear! The tabloid coverage of politics can still be highly partisan. The Mirror front page in 2005 showed Michael Howard as Dracula, clumping a lump of wood to his bosom.The Sun stopped short of the big Vote Blair campaigns of 1997 and 2001, taking a much more neutral headline of “Give Blair a Kick in the Ballots”. On the other hand, the Daily Mail urged voters to give Tony Blair a “bloody nose”.1992 Election
24Impact of the mediaThe 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
25Impact of the mediaPolitical 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.
26Party Support from newspapers 199720012005SunLabDaily MirrorDaily MailConDaily ExpressDaily StarNo SupportDaily TelegraphFinancial Times