My study blog

Assess the importance of social class to voting behaviour in the UK today

Posted by lednum on November 26, 2006

  Social class plays a significant importance in voting behaviour. However, other factors are showing an ever increasing importance today. Such as issues, age, ethnicity and region.This essay will assess the importance of these factors.

  Social class has dominated explanations for voting behaviour in the UK. As in 1992 general election, 56% of the AB voted conservative. Moreover, although, in 1997 conservatives support had decreased they were still the dominant party in winning the majority of the AB votes. This evidence suggests that there is still a relationship between social class and voting behaviour.

 Howver, Class dealignment , a weakening relationship between social class and party support, has been evident fot some years now. As there has been a rapid decrease in the number of people voting for their “natural class” party, from their 64%  in 1966 to 44% in 1987. In addition, when we compare the percentage of “upper” AB  class voting for conservative in the 1992 electionand the 2001 election we can see a decrease in the number voting for their “natural class: party; from 56% in 1992 to 40% in 2001.

  On the other hand, other influences have been at work in recent years. The influence of issues over the last 15 years has clearly grown. In 1992, conservatives were seen to be the strogest party in such policy issues as defence, prices / inflation, taxation and relations with Europe. However, in contrast, in 1997 Labour were seen to be the stronger party in the following policy issues; NHS, unemployment, education, taxation and relation with Europe.

  In addition, age appears to be a factor in voting behaviour. Different age groups may vote differently because they had different experiences of life and of politics history. In 2001 the conservatives ‘won’ 42% among the over 65s, where as only 37% voted Labour. Moreover it can also be suggested that younger voters tend to favour Labour more as a representative party, as in 2001 47% of 18-24 year old voted for Labour , whereas only 29% voted Conservative.

  Ethnicity is a limited factor in voting behaviour, this is largely because ethnic minorities account for only 5% of voters. However, even among the UKs relatively small number of blacks and Asians, there is an emerging pattern. This pattern can be demonstrated from the 1997 general election where 70% of Asians and 86% of Blacks voted Labour whereas only 25% of Asians and 8% of Blacks voted conservative.

  Region also appears to be a factor in voting behaviour.



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