Factors affecting voting behaviour


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Factors affecting voting behaviour

  1. 1. Long term factors
  2. 2. “Class is the basis of British politics, all else is embellishment and detail” Pulzer (1967)
  3. 3. Class voting• In post war Britain, voting behaviour was predictable• 90%+ of the electorate voting for the main two parties• 90%+ saying they had strong attachment to a political party• So there was little swing between elections• Over 2/3 of the working class supported Labour and 4/5 of Middle class supported the Tories• There were always deviant voters though: without the support of 30% working class voters, the Conservatives would never have won an election in the 50s-60s
  4. 4. Class dealignment• From the 1970s onwards voting patterns began to become more unpredictable, the electorate more volatile LABOUR (DE) 1974 – 57%• The argument was that class LABOUR (DE) 2010 – 40% was becoming less of an issue and that short term factors were becoming more important in determining the way a TORY (AB) 1974 – 56% person would vote TORY (AB) 2010 – 39%• More cross class voting
  5. 5. Class today• Class is still a factor today: most middle class still vote Tory, most working class still vote Labour.• However, there are more floating voters than ever before – with less than 40% of voters saying they have a strong attachment to any party• The rise of the Lib Dems saw them take almost ¼ of the vote in 2010
  6. 6. Age – Younger voters• Voting first restricted to 21+, in the belief that the young are most likely to question values and favour radical policies (vote Labour).• Along with this radical streak, the young are also most likely to become disaffected least likely to vote (in 2001 6 out of 10 18-24 year olds stayed away from polling booths)• Impact in 2005 in areas with large student population – against tuition fees in Withington, Sheffield Hallam and Cambridge, increasing Lib Dem vote.• The increasing potential of older people’s votes is shown as pensioners groups and Age Concern have increasing power and try to mobilize the ‘grey vote’
  7. 7. Age - Older• The UK’s population is ageing• The increasing potential of older people’s votes is shown as pensioners groups and Age Concern have increasing power and try to mobilize the ‘grey vote’. The Pensioners Party even won a seat in the Scottish Parliament!• Older voters tend to vote Conservative – perhaps because they are wealthier or become more fearful of change
  8. 8. Gender• For most of post-war period, women were more likely than men to vote Conservative.• This gender gap reflected social attitudes of the time & that relatively few women went out to work and therefore not exposed to force heightening class consciousness (unionisation, working men’s pubs & clubs)• This gap narrowed during the Thatcher era (antagonism?) and again during the Blair years. In 1997 & 2001 Labour enjoyed healthy lead of young women voters, but not older women (has age made them less radical?).
  9. 9. Ethnicity• The ethnic vote in the UK has tended to heavily favour the Labour Party (average 80% of black & Asian vote since 1974).• This part of electorate becomes more important to parties as the immigrant population increases• Linked to social class – many immigrants live in working class urban environments• Labour Party has generally been more pro-immigration & welfare• 2005 – decrease in vote for Labour, especially amongst Muslims because of Iraq war – impact inner city areas e.g. Bethnel Green & Bow elected Respect Party
  10. 10. Region• During the 1980s it became increasingly topical to talk of a ‘North-South’ divide in UK politics:• Labour held only a few seats south of the Bristol Channel and the Wash (excluding London)• The Conservatives held few in the North of England and no seats at all in Wales or Scotland for a time
  11. 11. Region• Though New Labour had some success in the South after rebranding in 1997 & 2001 the broad trend persists• Liberal Democrat support also has a regional dimension – being strongest in the ‘Celtic Fringe’• Theses are generalisations, and arguably largely a reflections of class factors and the rural/urban divide
  12. 12. Short term factors
  13. 13. Are these headlines ‘facts’ or opinions? Do theyuse emotive images & words? Would theyinfluence you at all…be honest!
  14. 14. • Does