Politics 1 June 2013

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  • Created by: Dulcimer
  • Created on: 08-05-14 10:59
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  • Politics 1 June 2013
    • Explain the term by-election as used in the extract
      • Election held between elections to fill a seat that has become vacant because an MP resigns or dies.
      • Long history of volatility in by-election voting: many do not vote or vote for opposition.
      • By-elections seen as opportunity to show dissatisfaction to government.
      • Wider choice of candidates and particularly small or unusual parties.
      • Lower turnouts, more emphasis on personality and performance of the candidate and more tactical voting.
      • E.g. Bromely and Chislehurst May 2006. Cons and Lab lose high percentage of vote (26.7% between them) and Lib Dem (17.5%) and UKIP gain votes. Turnout only 40.8% compared to 64.8 in 2005 election.
    • Using your own knowledge as well as the extract, consider why voting behavior at by-elections to the Westminister Parliament is often unpredictable.
      • factors that might help to explain this unpredictability
        • tactical voting
        • differential turnout
        • media coverage
        • the appeal of specific candidates
        • local issues
      • The extract summarises results in the four by-elections held in England in 2011. Students at all levels of response are likely to note that whereas Labour lost the general election a year earlier, the party won all four by-elections with significant electoral swings against the Lib Dems or the Conservatives.
        • one reason why voting behaviour at by-elections is unpredictable is because people often use such contests as an opportunity to cast a protest vote against the party (or parties) in office at Westminster
          • E.g. Bromely and Chislehurst May 2006. Cons and Lab lose high percentage of vote (26.7% between them) and Lib Dem (17.5%) and UKIP gain votes. Turnout only 40.8% compared to 64.8 in 2005 election.
      • some students will challenge the assumption inherent in the question by suggesting that voting behaviour in such contests, whilst different from that seen at general elections, is often very predictable, with low turnout, large swings and defeat for the governing party being the norm.
    • ‘Stability, rather than volatility, now characterises voting behaviour at UK general elections.’ Discuss. (25 marks)
      • recent elections as more volatile, they have been influenced more by issues and personality than the long-standing ties born of social class, family and upbringing (the sociological model)
      • Volatility
        • 2010
          • The Economic downturn from 2008 was hugely damaging for Labour and Gordon Brown.
            • They went on to lose the election.  
        • David Denver’s analysis of the 1992 election
          • at the beginning of the campaign
            • only 63% of voters had made up their mind
          • last week
            • 21% made up their mind
          • last day
            • 5% 
          • These findings were consistent with a ‘late swing’ in 1992
        • rise of the so-called floating voter
          • rise of catch-all parties
            • voters will now find it far easier to switch support between parties between general elections
        • decline in strong party identification seen in past decades
    • Voting Behaviour
  • Volatility
    • 2010
      • The Economic downturn from 2008 was hugely damaging for Labour and Gordon Brown.
        • They went on to lose the election.  
    • David Denver’s analysis of the 1992 election
      • at the beginning of the campaign
        • only 63% of voters had made up their mind
      • last week
        • 21% made up their mind
      • last day
        • 5% 
      • These findings were consistent with a ‘late swing’ in 1992
    • rise of the so-called floating voter
      • rise of catch-all parties
        • voters will now find it far easier to switch support between parties between general elections
    • decline in strong party identification seen in past decades

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