2 What are the main influences on voting in Britain? STUDIES OF VOTING BEHAVIOURTHE BUTLER AND STOKES MODELVOTING BEHAVIOUR ‘FACTORS’DEALIGNMENT AND REASONS FOR CHANGERECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN ELECTION STUDIESTURNOUTCONCLUSION: 2005 and Beyond
3 STUDIES OF VOTING BEHAVIOUR Methods:Analysis of election resultsVoter surveys e.g. British Election Study. We have data on 40 years of elections.
4 BUTLER AND STOKES Political Change in Britain 1964, 1966, 1970 Class and partisan id key i.e. long-term factorsImportance of socialisation
5 Class Central cleavage in society 1966: of the 100 constituencies with the largest % of manual workers, Lab won 99.Pulzer 1967: Class central determinant, ‘all else is embellishment and detail’.
6 VOTING BEHAVIOUR ‘FACTORS’ Long term ‘structural’ factors:Class*ReligionSexAge(=PARTY ID & SOCIOLOGICAL MODELS)
7 Factors cont. Short term: Issues Personalities Leaders Campaigns The media(=RATIONAL CHOICE MODELS)
9 Ivor Crewe (in Bartle & King 2005) “There is no way of knowing, but there are ways of arriving at credible probabilities. One useful approach is to think of any election result as the product of long-term ‘structural’ factors and short-term ‘campaign’ factors.”
10 Dealignment/ Change Decline in voter loyalty/class id/partisan id 1966: 46% ‘very strongly identified’ with a party : 8%But: Total with some id: %; %
11 Other indicators of change Tactical voting: 17% of Lib Dems in 05.Issue voting: Economy, Iraq warCampaigns matterMediaDecline in turnoutRise in support for ‘other parties’.Decline in party membershipRise in general cynicism
12 = INCREASED VOLATILITY A ‘Restless Electorate’1997: Swing of 10% from Con to Lab = double post-war record of ’79¼ of voters did not support same partyRise in support for othersMove from habitual to judgemental voting (Denver)
13 Reasons: Bottom-up. Increase in education Changing occupational and industrial structuresDecline of working classIncrease in affluenceCross-cutting pressures
14 But also Top-down Performance of governments The Media Leading to disillusionmentOverall = shift in balance between long-term (-) and short-term (+)
15 Turnout 2001 = 59.2%. Lowest since 1918 2005 – 61.3% Generational change evident – decline in ‘duty to vote’/ sense of civic duty in Thatcher and Blair generationsSo, turn-out likely to remain low???
16 Recent BES evidence Harold Clarke et al 2004 Analyse entire series of BESNote the general decline in sense of civic dutyDecline of position politics and rise of valence politics
17 Position PoliticsInvolves issues on which the public take different sides e.g. privatisation, trade union rights. It was previously argued that voters assessed the parties on issues and voted for the party that was closest to their own position.
18 Valence PoliticsGeneral judgements on party policies (the economy), party performance and leaders. Involves issues on which everyone is (more or less) agreed on the end to be pursued e.g. crime, peace and prosperity, corruption.
19 Competence key= general judgement on the relative competence of the parties to achieve desired ends.= the politics of delivery, not fixed ideological positionsLabour seen as most competent, until now….
20 Partisan id no longer important? Still important, but reconceptualised‘Valenced partisanship’‘A storehouse of accumulated party and party leader performance evaluations’.It is continuously updated as voters acquire new information and react to events – voters continuously make judgements about the competence of parties, governments and leaders.
21 Are old models at all relevant? YouGov polls ask if people ‘generally identify’ with any party – and 70% say yes.BES reveals that over 80% of voters still identify with one partyMost survey respondents in BES are stable in their party idStill possible to identify ‘natural’ Lab & Con supporters, and at a constituency level point to Cons and Lab ‘heartlands’.So, ‘tribal voters’ still exist (Denver).
22 But VB more complicated now Greater turbulence within the electorate.Non-voting phenomenon is a hot topic - we could do more to understand this.In 2005, the Gov’t was elected with the support of only 21.6% of the eligible electorate i.e. non-voters (40%) out-number those who voted for the winning party by nearly 2 to 1.Has led to much debate in parties and universities = democratically legitimate??
23 ConclusionTop-level political scientists simply debate the importance of different factors and influences.Most do not/ cannot offer definitive conclusions.
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