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The election campaign is now more important than long term factors in shaping voting behaviour discuss.

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Introduction

Conor Hamer ?The election campaign is now more important than long term factors in shaping voting behaviour? discuss. Elections take place throughout Britain on a regular basis, for example only last week was there the controversial Police Commissioner elections. There are different types of elections such as, by- elections, local elections, devolved elections, European elections and general elections. Electoral campaigns have become more influential in recent elections due to the impact the media has these days. Long term factors that include social class, age, gender, region, and party identification, are also influential in elections, however not as much as they used to. This now has posed the argument that ?the election campaign is now more important than long term factors in shaping voting behaviour?. Traditionally the public, voting on elections, often voted for the same party repeatedly. This is because a strong link existed between social classes and voting. More people voted for the party they felt best represented their social group, for example the majority of working class would vote for Labour whereas the middle class would usually vote for the Conservatives. However, since the 1980?s class voting has become less pronounced in general elections due to the distinctions between classes, being eroded. The evidence of class dealignment is clear as the Conservatives gained more support from the working class in the 1980?s, while Labour made significant gains among the middle class voters in 1997. ...read more.

Middle

This has caused for parties to work harder for the vote of the public. There has also been an increase in rational choice, which is the focus on the choices made by individual voters. This includes issue voting, which is the idea that people vote for the party whose policies will benefit them the best. Valence issues such as the economy and health are judged by voters on trust and competence, with results from the 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections showing voters believe Labour are more likely to deliver a healthy economy and health system than Conservatives. This shows that electoral campaigns have become more important in presenting issues that the people want. Rational choice also includes economic voting, which is the model that claims that people will vote for the party that has delivered a healthy economy previously, for example Labour gained support in 2010 as the UK emerged from the recession. Party leaders have also become more important in shaping electoral outcomes because of partisan dealignment and the personalisation of politics. Due to the introduction of TV debates in 2010, people have become more judgemental of party leaders. Tony Blair had high approval ratings in 1997, but Gordon Brown was unpopular in 2010. Despite this David Cameron did not enjoy high poll ratings that Tony Blair had when he was in opposition. ...read more.

Conclusion

The internet has been described as ?the dog that didn?t bark? as it was expected to shape voting behaviour a lot when in fact it didn?t really deliver. Most of the people who used the internet to find out information ended up being passive as in 2005, 15% of the population looked for election information online but only 3% used it as a major source of information. In conclusion, the statement ?the election campaign is now more important than long term factors in shaping voting behaviour? is true. Where traditionally long term factors such as social class, age, gender, region, and party identification were the most important in shaping voting behaviour this has changed. The long term factors effecting voting behaviour have declined due to class dealignment and partisan dealignment and an increase in floating voters and rational choice has seen electoral campaigns become more important. The public no longer have an attachment to a political party or a class they belong to and so they generally vote on the party whose leader they like most or which party will benefit them the most. This has called for parties to increase the importance of electoral campaigns to gain votes. With the influence of the media, electoral campaigns have become more important than long term factors in shaping voting behaviour as it has become their primary way of winning general elections rather than relying on voters to stay loyal to them which they can no longer do. ...read more.

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