Elections and voting- Key terms and concepts

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  • Created by: KW
  • Created on: 12-11-13 19:22
A document in which a political party sets out its policy programme at an election.
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An individual who acts on behalf of a larger group but is free to exercise their own judgement.
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The process by which an individual or individuals act on behalf of a larger group.
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An individual authorised to act on behalf of others but who is bound by clear instructions
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An individual who has formal responsibility for the interests of another (in law, often property)
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A geographical territory for which representatives are chosen in an election.
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Majoritarian system
An electoral system in which the winning candidate must achieve an absolute majority of votes cast in a single-member constituency.
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Simple plurality system
An electoral system in which the candidate with the most votes in a single-member constituency wins.
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Proportional representation
An electoral system using multi-member constituencies in which an electoral formula is used to match the percentage of seats won by each party to the percentage of votes they won.
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District magnitude
The number of representatives elected from a particular constituency .
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Mixed system
Electoral system where a proportion of representatives are elected under a majoritarian/plurality system in single member constituencies, and the others are elected as ' additional members' using a proportional system in multi-member constituencies
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Wasted vote
A vote for a losing candidate in a single-member constituency, or a vote for a winning candidate that was surplus to the plurality required for victory.
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Safe Seat
A constituency that normally elects an MP from the same political party at every election.
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Tactical voting
Voting for the candidate most likely to defeat the voter's least favoured candidate.
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Adversarial politics
A situation often found in two-party systems in which the governing party is confronted by an opposition party that offers a different policy programme, and which is outwardly hostile towards the government even when in broad agreement with it.
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Coalition government
A government made up of more than one political party.
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Split-ticket voting
The practice of voting for candidates from different parties in an election where an elector is permitted to cast more than one vote.
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Minority government
A government formed by a political party that does not have an overall majority in the legislature.
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Electoral reform
Changes made to an electoral system or a change from one electoral system to an alternative (eg FPTP with PR)
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The process by which individuals acquire their values and beliefs.
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Class dealignment
The decline in strong voter identification with political parties.
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Partisan dealignment
The decline in strong voter identification with political parties.
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Core vote
Voters who feel a strong attachment to a political party and vote for it in election after election.
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Floating voters
Voters without a strong attachment to a particular party, who may switch their vote from election to election.
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Rational choice model
An approach to the study of politics that focuses on the actions of rational individuals who pursue their own interests.
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The proportion of the electorate that votes in an election.
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A competitive process in which a designated group of people, known as the electorate, select individuals who will fill particular posts. Elections to public office are a central feature of the democratic process.
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An authoritative instruction or command. The doctrine of the mandate gives the winning party authority to press ahead.
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A contested concept, usually equated with rightfulness. A political system in legitimate when it is based on the consent of people and follows laws and procedures.
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Party system
The set of political parties in a political system and the relationship between them.
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Social class
A social group defined by social and economic status.
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Valence issue
A policy issue on which the main parties are in broad agreement. When parties adopt a similar positiion, voters make judgements about their relative competence and ability to deliver the desired outcomes.
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