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Why has voting behaviour become increasingly more difficult to predict?

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Introduction

Mrs Smith's Politics Essay on Voting Behaviour By Chris Armstrong Question:- Why has voting behaviour become increasingly more difficult to predict? Voting behaviour is increasingly hard to predict because of the variables that ultimately affect it, these being class, gender, age, ethnicity and regional locality. It is the job of a political scientist to weigh up these factors along with public opinion on major and current issues such as the Health Service, Crime etc. In addition to these they will look at past elections and their statistics to determine the possible result of an imminent election. Research in the 1950's and 60's in Britain and the USA indicates that all the factors that might contribute to a persons voting behaviour such as religion, gender, age and regional locality; social class was by far the most accurate variable that political scientists could predict an outcome of an election on. Put crudely, in Britain at this time, working class people tended to vote Labour, while those from the middle classes were overwhelmingly Conservative party supporters. The one main problem of predicting elections based on class, is what to base class on and categorise people into groups. Should it be purely on income? If so it could mean that a senior mineworker or steelworker could be middle class, given the more modest earnings of most office workers, many administrators and civil servants, who by implication would be working class. ...read more.

Middle

They had the advantage of having a well represented party by female MP's contrasting the male dominant conservative party. The second was/is due to a rapidly changing workforce. Women were now beginning to achieve high power positions such as in the government as before mentioned but also in industry, world leading companies and even in the UK's counter intelligence arm; MI5 (Miss Manningham-Buller), the second in a decade. Also the traditional conservative attitudes of the more right wing Conservative MP's on domestic policies had a counter productive effect on the female voting population. Labour on the other side of the fence actually attracted women with their policies on improvements in childcare, health and education ('education, education, education' - Mr Blair). Age, one of the other determining factors of voting behaviour has had its fair share of theory's, predictions and disputes. For instance it was acknowledged for a period of time that from the voting age of eighteen most teenagers would be totally against the Conservative parties ideals. But as that person grew older they would have increased tendencies to vote for that party. Evidence for this can be found in the general conservative attitude; not supporting any radical changes, wishes to stay as England and not join EU etc. ...read more.

Conclusion

They have handled it relatively well being that they re beating the conservatives by nine to one and the Liberals by fifteen to one according to the two thousand and one elections. Generally, political scientists can best base their predictions on ethnic minorities reasonably accurately. Another example was in the much disputed Bush versus Gore US presidential elections, George Bush targeted both the minority groups (ethnicity) and younger adult citizens (age). He achieved this by first using the media much more effectively than his rival by only being in front of a camera if it was relatively scripted in effect not being asked awkward questions. He then demolished Al Gore's image by labelling him 'Al Bore Gore'. In conclusion to the question why has voting behaviour become increasingly more difficult to predict. It is always difficult to predict an elections for so many reasons as outlined above. As time has passed up to present day the job of an political scientist has become less accurate. They can only really speculate what is going to happen in a modern day election because of the increased amount of theories and general change in public perceived important matters. I also cannot see in the future the job becoming any easier unless there is a massive reform and change to the electorate system or a collapse/radical change in one of the major parties. ...read more.

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