Presentation on theme: "Influences on Voting. Part One"— Presentation transcript:
1Influences on Voting. Part One Learning Intentions To examine the influences on why people vote the way they do.Why do people vote the way they do?
2The influences are complex. There are many influences on voters in the UK. They are complex. They are changing. They are also inter-related, not separate.We all have a social class. We all have a gender. We all have a race.The media is also an influence. But there are many different types of media. And the different social classes access different kinds of media.Let’s look at the different influences and come to some conclusions.
3Social Class 2010 Voting by Social Class CON (%)LAB (%)LIB DEM (%)AB392629C12824C23722DE314017Source: Ipsos MORISocial class remains a key influence. Why?
4Social ClassUp until the 1970s there was a clear two party system, with Labour seen to be championing the working class, the Conservatives the middle and upper classes.Since then, the middle class has grown in size.All the major parties now compete for the middle ground.The FPTP system also encourages parties to ignore “safe” seats and win over floating voters in marginal constituencies. The Electoral Reform Society claims that 382 out of the 649 seats are so safe that any opposition vote is a wasted vote.The classic quotation on this issue is that from Butler and Stokes. Their 1970 work on social class famously concluded that social class was the major issue affecting voter behaviour. Everything else was “embellishment and detail”.But that was a long time ago? Does social class still have this big influence, or have other issues become more important?Up until the 1970s there was a clear two party system, with Labour seen to be championing the working class, the Conservatives the middle and upper classes. Elections were won (usually by the Conservatives) on who could win over the middle classes. Dealignment happened in the 1970s and exists to this day. According to political scientist Ivor Crewe, a new working class emerged, the C1 and C2 classes.Sometimes referred to as Mondeo Man (probably entry level BMW man these days), this group of skilled workers rejected Labour’s collective approach, instead they favoured the individual path to prosperity, choosing Conservative solutions.
5Social Class and First Past the Post It is the party which wins the most seats throughout the country who wins UK General Elections. Not the party which wins the most votes.But to win seats, you need to win votes.There are 649 seats in total and each is a distinct geographical area. These areas are separated by social class. Richer people tend to live next to other richer people. Poorer people can only afford to live next to other poorer people.So, many seats are either “safe” Conservative or “safe” Labour, depending on their social class composition. For example….
6Safe Seat: Richmond (Yorkshire) Safe Seat: Glasgow North East 2010 ResultVotes% of voteCON33, 54162.8LD10, 20519.1LAB8, 15015.3GREEN1, 5162.8Percentage of children living in poverty 9%Average male life expectancy: 79.92010 ResultVotes% of voteLAB20, 10068.3SNP4, 15814.1LD2, 2627.7CON1, 5695.3OTHERS1, 3203.4Percentage of children living in poverty : 44%Average male life expectancy: 68
8Social Class Still Matters So while, average incomes have risen and we all own more material possessions than ever, the gap between rich and poor still exists. Indeed, it is growing.This gap shows itself in a whole number of social/economic statistics in health, education, crime and housing. Why should voting behaviour would be any different?Voters tend to vote for the party which they feel represents their economic interest. The sociologist Danny Dorling points out that it was voters in the best off constituencies which swung most firmly towards David Cameron.“Even as they are becoming more numerous, Tory voters are becoming more geographically isolated”.
9The Scottish FactorPamela Nash, Airdrie and Shotts is the youngest MP in the House of Commons.Jim Murphy romped home in affluent East RenfrewshireLabour continues to do best among poorer sections of the community.But, a national aspect also enters the equation. Scottish voters, perhaps seeing the General Election as a two horse race between Labour and Conservatives, returned Labour MPs with increased majorities. Labour won in even the most affluent areas, e.g. East Renfrewshire.The Conservatives won just 1 seat in the whole of Scotland.
10Gender is an influence too Women used to have a strong attachment to the Conservatives.In fact, if it wasn’t for the female vote, Labour probably would have won every post-war General Election up until Since then, their vote has been up for grabs. It is middle class women who are sought after though. Poor women, like poor men, tend to vote Labour.So, meet those who are not so committed. “School Gate Mum”, for example.School Gate Mum is the British version of the “Soccer Mums” found in the USA. They are working women who have demanding lives, balancing work and family responsibilities.In 2005, women became the targets of attention for party strategists. Women used to have a strong attachment to the Conservatives. In fact, if it wasn’t for the female vote, Labour probably would have won every post-war General Election up until 1979.Since then, their vote has been up for grabs. It is middle class women who are sought after though. Meet “School Gate Mum”.School Gate Mum is the British version of the “Soccer Mums” found in the USA. They are working women who have demanding lives, balancing work and family responsibilities.She is the pivotal member of that broad section of the population described as “hard working families”. She will be either “new working class” or a professional middle class person.Some psephologists have even broken down School Gate Mum into “Tailgate Mum” (the highly stressed urban driver) and, believe it or not, “Watercooler Mum” (she discusses social issues at her company’s water machine).Either way, she will work and pay taxes. She will care about “quality of life” issues such as smoking bans, child benefits and childcare.She will want flexibility in her working life and look to enjoy her spare time either at family friendly outings (“well away from the neds”) or have the money to enjoy the company of her “girlie” friends – shopping and socialising.School Gate Mum is not ideological. In fact, she does not see herself as political at all and will rarely read the current affairs sections of newspapers, far less watch “heavy” news programmes.But she does care about the state of her community and the wider country.She will discuss social issues at the school gate or in the office. And she is very likely to vote. Every political party is chasing her!
112010 Gender and Social Class Women by classCONLABLIB DEMAB342931C1392825C241DE4519The Conservatives won clear majorities among women who have a career, work or have higher disposable incomes. A vital demographic group.Part of the Cameron agenda was for the Conservatives to have more female candidates and be more family friendly. Did this work?Importance of the female vote
12AgeTraditionally younger voters are more likely to support parties promising social change.For some time, the Conservatives core vote has been among older, affluent voters.But, the Conservatives this time promoted a more youthful identity.
132010 AgeAgeCONLABLD18-24303125-34352935-44342645-542855-64382365+4416The Conservatives this time did much better among younger voters….while keeping it’s core elderly vote.
14RaceBlack voters, traditionally are more likely to be Labour supporters. So too are Asian voters, but not as strongly as blacks. Labour, in general, has been seen to be more sympathetic to the needs of minority ethnic voters.But, David Cameron worked hard to lose the Conservatives the image as the “nasty party”.The Conservatives made big efforts to win the votes of minority voters.Gordon Brown’s slogan “British jobs for British workers” was, ironically, taken up by the BNP.The BNP, with it’s explicitly racist message, failed to win any seats.Black voters are significantly more likely to be Labour supporters. So too are Asian voters, but not as strongly as blacks.This could be back to the class relationship again, with blacks more likely to live in poorer inner city areas and have a low income. Labour, in general, has a better image with minority ethnic voters. The Conservatives, in the period of Enoch Powell, were strongly for an end to immigration. William Hague also tried to make immigration an issue at the 2001 General Election, 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.