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Over the years Sociologists have argued that people with similar social characteristics tend to vote for the same parties. This usually goes for Social Class.

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Introduction

Over the years Sociologists have argued that people with similar social characteristics tend to vote for the same parties. This usually goes for Social Class. From 1945 to 1970 many of the voters in Britain saw themselves as either Labour or Conservative and therefore they voted accordingly. This loyalty to a particular party is known as Partisan Alignment. For years Labour (Left Wing) has been seen as the party for the workingman and Conservative (Right Wing) seen as the party for the Middle classes, and this was usually reflected in that of voting patterns, like in the 1964 election where 64% of working class people voted labour and 62% of middle class and upper classes voted Conservative. These links between social class, party identification and voting behaviour is known as Class Alignment. According to Butler and Stokes (1974) what actually accounts for Partisan and Class Alignment is Political Socialisation. This is where children where socialised into following there parents party identification and their party loyalty. ...read more.

Middle

Factors such as these tend to weaken class identification, which in turn leads to partisan Dealignment. Secondly its argued that people are increasingly guided by party policy rather than loyalty when casting there votes. Recently in the elections Labour swept to victory. Ivor Crewe and Katrina Thompson conducted a study into Partisan Dealignment. They looked at the strength of party identification; they argued that very strong identification indicates a strong commitment to the party. Evidence from the elections showed a steady decline in the percentage of voters who very strongly identified with a political party (From 44% in 1964 to 16% in 1997) because of this evidence it was suggested that partisan Dealignment is still continuing. Reasoning for continuing Dealignment according to David Sanders in the 1997 election is because Tony Blair and Labour managed to convince 'Middle Britain' that he had shed most of the baggage from old labours social past, and by 1997 the gap between Labour and Conservative has narrowed considerably as there were few differences between both parties policies and voters recognized this. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion it seems as though there is a general agreement that process of partisan and class Dealignment have been occurring since the 1970's. A process of Dealignment does not necessarily mean that partisan loyalty and class based voting have ended, only that they have declined. The question is will Partisan Dealignment continue? Also it seems as though gender and age can have a major effect on voting patterns. In order to conduct find conclusive evidence for 'Partisan Alignment' in the General Election of 2005 I had to ask a large number of people. I simply asked them two questions, which were; "What is your Occupation?" and "Whom did you vote for?" From this I could gather results in order to try to find a link between social class and the party they support. After gathering the research I narrowed down a few more interesting of the results to interview in graver detail. I left it to an open interview to allow for the respondents to express there own views on the matter and in order to avoid leading questions. ...read more.

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