• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Accounts for the changes in voting behaviour in the last 30 years in UK general elections

Extracts from this document...


Marc Murray Accounts for the changes in voting behaviour in the last 30 years in UK general elections This essay will look at the events and reasons that can be held accountable for the changes in voting behaviour within the UK general elections during the past 30 years. To be able to understand the changes in voting behaviour this paper will examine events that have taken place over the last third of a century, from the post-war period (1945-70) in which the British political system consisted of support for the two major parties and voting behaviour was easy to explain with individual identifying with one of these parties through tradition and social class. This essay will concentrate on these two major parties and provide evidence to show how during this period the two-party vote was the accepted norm, to the latter part of this period as changes in the class system and an era of 'partisan dealignment' saw the electorate's awareness and understanding of political issues become more important resulting in a change. To address the causes of this change, it will then provide a framework giving social factors for this change and the political influences that shape the behaviour of the electorate. To be able to understand the changes in the voting behaviour of the electorate within the last 30 years in the UK general election, it is important to begin with how the political system operated in the post-war period (1945-1970) ...read more.


Though this theory has been criticised, especially in that it discounts individual experience and suggests that there is a dominant ideology which conditions how groups act, it does help to explain the increased fragmentation of class interests, especially those of the working class. The processes of partisan and class dealignment have produced a highly volatile electorate, with a diminished core of support upon which the parties can rely. This in turn means that the stable and predictable party system of the 1950s and 1960s is now highly unstable and unpredictable. Statistics show those identifications with either the Labour party or Conservative party in the period between 1964 and 1987 fell from 81% to 70%, even the most traditional of connections dropped from 35% to 25%. Butler and Stokes found that over 80% of those voters who recalled that their parents had supported the party dominant in their social class also voted for that party. On the other hand, only 58% of those who recalled that their parents had supported the party not dominant in their social class followed them. However, it seems that the influence of parents on their children's voting behaviour is less strong than it was, especially where both parents were Labour; only half of those responding to a survey in 1987 were Labour voters. This unpredictability on the part of the electorate created a different pattern in voting behaviour, one that was very 'volatile' and needed to be understood by the parties if they were to win them over. ...read more.


There is some evidence that voters are influenced by the paper they read. The tabloids are particularly significant in influencing voters who have a weak or non-existent identification. Until recently, most tabloids supported the Conservative Party although several swung to Labour in 1997. Since the 1992 election millions of voters have deserted the conservative party which has seen the dominance of British politics switch in favour of the Labour party. In Tony Blair the Labour party have a central figure that has put forward the image of a party that has unity and a leader that would go out of his way to be seen to lead his party in a new direction, and for the moment as statistics indicate this is what the majority of the British public seem to want. The models and approaches stated can offer insight into what key factors influence the behaviour of the voters, showing the changes from the post-war period 1945-1970 where individuals tended to vote from a traditional point of view. To the more recent characteristics of the electorate, that sees them taking more of an interest in the issues that the given party's are addressing. Showing the changes in voting behaviour by way of the statistics given above outlining the percentage of voters who have switch alliance and the reasons as to why this has occurred. This paper has given evidence to suggest that not only are there sociological factors that play a part in determining this behaviour, but there are political tactics that are employed by the given parties in an attempt to sway opinions. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    "Explain And Discuss How The "Ideologies Of Welfare" Explored In This Module Can Be ...

    3 star(s)

    The latter Monetarist economics, focuses on controlling the supply of money, restricting the government's economic interventions to this area, and in the main to keep inflation under control (Atkinson, 1996, Pp10 - 13). A direct result of the adoption of Monetarist economics was the privatisation of nationalised industries and services .

  2. Utilitarianism: Explanation And Study of Criticisms

    Slavery was an efficient way for people to produce goods at a cheap price. These goods brought a lot of pleasure to a great amount of people. No doubt, the slaves suffered terribly. But, the most amount of good was produced and enjoyed by the most amounts of people through slavery.

  1. Liberalism Notes

    Yet new urban centres gained at the expense of the shires; manufacturing/commerce at the expense of land. Whig aristocrats ultimately lost influence to urban-based business and professional middle classes (the muscle behind Victorian liberalism), though Whigs remained an important, if diminishing, element within the Liberal coalition until the late 19th century.

  2. Power and Politics in Organizations: Public and Private Sector Comparisons

    The dimensions are the organization's (a) purposes or goals, (b) accountability, (c) autonomy, (d) orientation to action, and (e) environment. Purposes and Goals Political organizations are typically multipurpose. The public policies they are expected to make or administer will often be quite vague, diffuse, contradictory, and even in conflict with each other (Levin and Sanger 1994: 64-8).

  1. Nigeria Country Study

    * Chairman of the Supreme Military Council of Nigeria (1983-1985) * Muhammadu Buhari (31 December 1983 - 27 August 1985) * President of the Armed Forces Ruling Council of Nigeria (1985-1993) * General Ibrahim Babangida (27 August 1985 - 26 August 1993) * Interim Head of State of Nigeria (1993)

  2. To what extent do recent elections in the UK and the USA support the ...

    Seemingly, it can be summed up, as "Voters' loyalties were emotional rather than rational." (www.rdg.ac.uk) If we look back to our definition of dealignment, we can see that one of its characteristics was that fewer voters were aligned to a party.

  1. Why and to what extent have conservatives supported tradition?

    reforming tradition that appeals to both the pragmatic instincts of conservatives and their social duty. Disraeli's ideas formed the basis of 'one-nation conservatism'. Randolph Churchill took up Disraeli's ideas in the late 19th century and he stressed the need for traditional institutions, e.g.

  2. Primary elections in the USA are used to decide the candidates for each political ...

    Conventions were often heated affairs, playing a vital role in deciding who would be the nominee.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work