VOTING BEHAVIOUR IN THE UK
FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH VOTING BEHAVIOUR:
- Long term: Social class – the conservative/labour 2 party system 1945-70 was a reflection of ‘class alignment’ so lower classes voted labour and upper classes voted conservative e.g. 1966 = 66% were class voters During 1970s, class dealignment happened (MT) e.g. 1979 = 51% of voters voted with class and by 2013 = 38%. Although declining, still most powerful long term factor in affecting how people vote. Party loyalty – most had a clear and enduring identification with a party – ‘partisan alignment’ e.g. 1964-66 = 90% identified with a party. During 1970s, ‘partisan dealignment’ e.g. 2005 = 10% had a strong party identity. Gender – tendency for women to vote conservative – less under MT but reasserted under Major but (e.g.) 1997, labour was supported equally by men and women and in 2010 = men more likely to vote conservative apart from 55+. Age – older = conservative as political generations or people become more wealthy. And Younger/first time voters more likely to vote Labour. Religion and ethnicity – Cons once ‘tory party at prayer’ in Britain but Labour = protestants, Methodists (+some catholics), black and ethnic minorities. E.g. 25% of Asian population voted conservative in 1997 election. Region – e.g. 1980s = North/South divide – Labour in North and Conservative in South and LDs in ‘celtic fringe’ – mostly class factors and rural/urban e.g. Conservative only won 1 seat in Scotland and 3 in Wales in 2005 election.
- Short-term: Policies – which are most attractive in current situation e.g. Labour 1983 manifesto, with ideas such as nationalization, increased taxation and boost public spending and was reviewed under TB – ‘new labour’ until their ‘electorability’ was greatly improved. Media coverage – Sun readership of 10 million and many critics believe it to be extremely influential over how people vote e.g. 2010 general election – Sun switched support from Labour in 2010 election – GB furious. Context – issues at the time e.g. 2005 election – Labour won 35.2% of the vote, 5% less than in 2001, before the Labour party made the controversial decision over the Iraq war. Tactical voting – voting not for first choice, but to make another party lose out in the election e.g. Jeremy Brown won his seat in 2005 Taunton through tactical voting organised by tacticalvoter.net – an anti-Conservative pressure group. Leaders – e.g. ‘lame duck’ – TB became an electoral liability and so resigned in 2007
MODELS OF VOTING BEHAVIOUR
- Ideas about why people vote the way they do, more than one can be applied at one time
- Social structures model: based on the assumption that it…