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

Voting behaviour is influenced more by political issues than by social factors

Extracts from this document...


Voting behaviour is influenced more by political issues than by social factors Both political issues and social factors influence voting behaviour. The main social factors include age, gender, class, religion and ethnicity. In normal circumstances the majority of younger voters have tended to vote for the Labour Party, whereas the older voter would tend to support the Conservative Party. This can be seen in the results of the October 1974 election where 42% of new voters (18 - 22 years old) voted Labour, but only 24% voted Conservative. This pattern was reversed in 1983 and 1987, but by 1997 the majority of new voters were again voting Labour. Studies have shown that new voters are often volatile and their behaviour is difficult to predict. Therefore age is not a very influential factor affecting voting behaviour. Pulzer (1967, p.107) stated that there was evidence women are more conservative than men. Between 1979 and 1992 more women voted for the Conservatives than for any of the other parties, and by some margin. In 1997, gender differences had almost disappeared. This could be accounted for by Labour's election tactics to make an effort to win over women voters and also by the changing nature of the workforce as more women were in paid employment. ...read more.


Therefore, there must be other reasons for their voting behaviour that lie in the political issues. The party identification model refers to a psychological attachment to a political party, which influences attitudes and directly affects voting behaviour. This influence has been shown to be decreasing since 1970 due to a drop in the number of voters identifying strongly with the main parties, known as partisan dealignment. The rational choice model emphasises the significance of making rational decisions rather than emotional ones. Within this model there is the suggestion that people vote according to the issues directly affecting them; however it is difficult to find an exact link. It also suggests there is a connection between voters' political values, ideologies, and their voting behaviour. People can also vote for the party they judge most likely to raise or protect their present or future standard of living, or they might focus retrospectively on the parties' past records. Another, and increasingly significant, factor that could affect people's voting behaviour is their view of the competence of the party leader. I suggest that political issues nowadays influence voting behaviour more than social factors. Social factors used to be a lot more influential in the past, but as time has moved on their influence has decreased. ...read more.


In many rural and some suburban areas, the two party contest is really now between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. There are far fewer marginal seats than before, which suggests that the country is more regionally polarised. 6. Party image has become critical. In particular the electorate does not vote for divided parties (Conservatives, 1997 and 2001) or for parties seen as extreme (Labour, 1983 and 1987). The image of the PARTY LEADER has become much more important too - so, for example, Kinnock (1992) and Hague (2001) did not LOOK LIKE prime ministers. 7. Tactical voting was a big feature of the 1997 and 2001 elections - i.e where voters support the party most likely to oust the Conservative incumbent. This has helped the Liberal Democrats to target seats and to achieve their largest number of MPs since the 1920s. People are also increasingly willing to vote for smaller parties if they feel passionately about a single issue - the Referendum Party (1997) and UKIP (2001) are obvious examples. 8. Turnout fell below 60% in 2001. This suggests a growing number of voters are alienated from ALL parties. Note also that many people vote very differently in non-parliamentary elections - for example, UKIP's support in the European Parliament elections gave them a dozen seats, the Greens have seats in the Greater London Assembly, etc. ?? ?? ?? ?? Azam Ayoubi ...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 United Kingdom 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 United Kingdom essays

  1. Free essay

    Voting Behaviour

    In the early 1980's Michael Foot lacked a leadership quality and when put next the Thatcher he didn't seem to be electable as Thatcher had her strong sense of leadership and direction. Neil Kinnock did a lot to rebrand labours image but image alone wasn't enough as voters felt like the campaign had become too Americanised.

  2. Politics- Voting Behavious

    A further spatial divide has been revealed. Since 1959, electoral support for the Conservatives has shown a relative decline in urban areas while the vote for Labour has decreased in rural areas. Since the 1970s, it is evident that there is a relationship between economic fortunes of the regions and patterns in party support.

  1. To what extent have governments and political parties agreed on how best to raise ...

    They believe ranking schools on the proportion of students attaining a C grade and above at GCSE is flawed, as teachers feel pressured to concentrate on borderline C-grade pupils while able students are ignored. Outstanding schools would be exempt from Ofsted inspections, to allow inspectors to focus on failing schools.

  2. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Rational Choice model of voting behaviour.

    Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister. The 2009 European Elections and local elections was yet another demonstration of rationality. The United Kingdom under Gordon Brown's failed leadership just came out from a recession; unemployment was high and the economy was poor.

  1. Democracy and Voting

    * Party Politics * Party Leaders * Opinions Polls * Issues * Policies * Geography - Rural: lack of access (low turnout). Urban: High (easy access), Inncer City = Low * Parents - Socialisation: more outgoing in Politics * Economic Uncertainty: 40:30:30: Secure/Welloff:Insecure Employment: Poverty/Unemployed The decline in turnout may

  2. What is the main reason for the loss of faith and interest in our ...

    of the people who have the right to vote that actually use their vote. 7Below is a table created by a parliament department, with some staggering results that illustrate the changes to the voter turnout for general elections from 1945-2005. Election Turnout in the UK (%) Change in turnout (%)

  1. The Labour Party.

    in January 1957; Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister and Conservative leader from 1957 until November 1963; and R.A. Butler. Butler twice seemed on the brink of becoming leader and Prime Minister, but in 1963 Macmillan was instead unexpectedly succeeded by Sir Alec Douglas-Home.

  2. Using the example of a single selected political leader, explore the potential of the ...

    Thatcher was not from the upper class background that traditionally leaders of the Conservative party hailed from, furthermore she was a woman. While the practice of keeping a token female member of the Cabinet had ensured that a handful of British women had reached the national level of politics, none had proceeded beyond the Cabinet.

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