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Issue Voting

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´╗┐Chloe Hardman- Assess The Impact Of Issue Voting on The Outcome of Recent General Elections. Issue voting is commonly recognised as the consumers approach to voting, as the voters act like shoppers by making rational decisions on which parties policies they prefer. By issue voting, a voter is making a decision purely on the policies that a party stands for or what is written in their manifesto. Supporters of the issue voting model argue that labour lost the 1983, 87 and 92 general elections because voters supported Conservative policies (such as extending share ownership, reducing income tax rates and the sale of council houses). However, the 2001 election poll shown that although most people agreed with the Conservatives opposition to euro membership and further European integration, they did not care enough about the issue to support the Conservatives in the election. The rational choice model considers; policies, leader, campaign and economy which many believe is the most effective model when it comes to voting trends in general elections. ...read more.


In the 1997 election, Labour won by a landslide amount, gaining over 2x the amount of seats as Conservatives. The model could suggest that because Tony Blaire was as popular as he is, it swayed voters towards voting for his party. Rational choice also suggests that the political campaign can have a dramatic effect on voting. An election campaign mainly refers to the 3-4 weeks before a general election. In 1997 however, the campaign went on for 44 days. Some commentators argued that democratic fatigue occurred and explained the low turnout in 1997 at 71.4%. The Conservative party are usually the most trusted party when it comes to the economy. However, in 1992 Britain left the Exchange Rate Mechanism, causing sterling to be devalued. This was nicknamed ?black Wednesday? and saw Labour overtake The Conservative in the polls, again supporting the theory of the rational choice model. However, there have been occasions which could suggest that issues are not important when it comes to voting impacts. ...read more.


In the UK, many have argued that when it comes to voting, the upper middleclass society is more active. By 2010, turnout among A/B voters was 76% compared to only 57% among those from social classes D/E. Within that vote, 73% of those in class A/B and C1 voted Conservative whilst 80% of those in social classes C2/D/E voted the labour party, showing strong evidence of class alignment. The social structures model would say that the Conservative win was due class alignment. Conclusively, issue voting is becoming increasingly popular; as large members of society consider issues that have particular salience at the time of the election will have the biggest impact on voting behaviour. Most parties therefore try to make sure that the issue on which they are seen as strong are the salient issues in any campaign. However, it is important to remember that there are other factors that impact upon election results, such as the social structures model, which say that voting is influenced on factors such as social class, ethnicity, occupation and gender, whilst dominant ideology model suggests that the ruling elite influence the mass media to orchestrate elections to its advantage. ...read more.

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