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Voting Behaviour Models Voting Depends Specifically on Red Pants Voting Context (Nature of election, electoral system can affect voting, voters may choose.

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Presentation on theme: "Voting Behaviour Models Voting Depends Specifically on Red Pants Voting Context (Nature of election, electoral system can affect voting, voters may choose."— Presentation transcript:

1 Voting Behaviour Models Voting Depends Specifically on Red Pants Voting Context (Nature of election, electoral system can affect voting, voters may choose to protest, abstain or vote tactically) Dominant Ideology (Conspiracy theory, voters choice is manipulated by those in power using media) Social Structures (Mainly class, but also age, gender. Race, religion etc.) Rational Choice (voters weigh up parties’ manifestos, track-record and recent events) Party ID (voters aligned to a certain party) William Millar’s “General Model” (attempts to combine the above factors)

2 Examples Pre 1970’s era of alignment – class & party (SS, PID) Post 1970’s era of dealignment (volatility) – Rational choice e.g. Fall in Tory vote after Black Wed Northern Ireland – Religion (SS) Women’s Coalition (Gender) America – Race, Black’s vote Democrat (SS) 2003 Election – Lab voters going to Lib Dem in protest over Iraq (VC) 1997 Election – Sun backs Labour (DI) Spain 2004 – Election happened immediately after train bombings and the govt were removed because of the way they handled the affair (VC/RC)

3 Don’t Forget to Mention: Shock Events (VC / RC) Media (DI) Charisma of leaders (RC)

4 Voting Systems Evaluate using: Simplicity Voter Input Proportionality / Fairness Stability Constituency Representation Don’t Forget to mention: Turnout Wasted Votes Likelihood of coalition govt Spoiled votes Tactical voting

5 Examples UK, USA – use FPTP & Stable, successful. But is this down top the electoral system? The dubious 200 election of George Bush almost undermined the whole US political system! NI – FPTP ultimately unstable as nationalists protested against the “unfairness” – NICRM, Bloody Sunday 1972, IRA formed 1968. NI – STV (GFA) unstable? Was the electoral system the reason the GFA failed? May have been part of it as the threahold for MLAs was so low they could get elected entirely from own community, so there was no need to try and appeal to the “other side” – resulting in many hardliners being elected (DUP & SF now largest parties in assembly). France – 2 nd Ballot – Few people turned-out for the first ballot in last presidential election and the national-front candidate Le Penn made it through!

6 Examples ITALY – used a proportional system after WW2 which created weak coalition governments. Italian politics became very corrupt as parties did deals with each other to get into government, and few parties remained in power long enough to fully implement their policies. Italy stabilised when it switched to a hybrid system. Weimar Germany – Used a proportional system resulting in weak coalition governments who were unable to deal with crises such as the Wall Street crash and ultimately lost the support of the people allowing the Nazis to rise. Israel – Uses the Party List system which allows small fundamentalist Jewish Parties into coalitions governments which have prevented agreement in the middle-east. Ireland (STV) Netherlands (List) Sweden (List) All stable successful democracies using proportional systems and often have coalition governments.

7 Don’t Forget to Mention: No perfect electoral system – depends on time, history, size, development etc. Elections can be improved/modified without changing the system (electronic voting, compulsory voting etc.) Elections must be free, fair, secret ballot, universal suffrage etc. Some groups may boycott elections e.g. Sunni Muslims in Iraq.

8 Referendums Advantages Allows direct participation (direct democracy) there was 80% turnout for the GFA vote. Enables govt to deal with a tricky issue Provides a clear answer Act as check on the power of govt Campaigns inform the public Technology now allows referendums to be carried out more often Disadvantages What’s popular isn’t always right! May result in tyranny of the majority over minorities Can be used by politicians to avoid tricky issues Wording of question can be used to manipulate result – only certain options may be made available. Can over simply complicated issues Governments will rarely agree to a referendum unless they can be fairly sure they will win – why have we not had a referendum on the euro yet? Referendums can be very open to influence from the media. A large portion of society might be disgruntled if they lose by a small majority. For example in the Welsh Assembly vote 49.7% people voted no.

9 Examples In 2005 European Nations began to hold referendums on the European constitution which was agreed between the leaders. The results have so far indicated that the leaders had become out of touch with their people and the NO votes in France and the Netherlands provided a wake-up call to governments across Europe. GFA, the referendum reduced this complicated issue to a simple yes or no. In reality most people supported some areas of the agreement but were opposed to others. Switzerland/Some US States – The people can initiate their own referendums on any issue through an initiative (petition) this gives them a great degree of direct democracy. 1973 Border Poll, was boycotted by nationalists. UK devolution referendums set-up the assemblies in Scot, Wales, London but no NE England where it was rejected! In Ireland issues such as divorce and abortion have been settled in referendums Australia has held a referendum on becoming a republic Denmark rejected the Euro in a referendum


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