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Affluence, Austerity and Electoral Change in Britain Paperback – 12 Sep 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (12 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107641160
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107641167
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 145,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'More than a sequel to the two highly regarded previous British Election Study volumes on the 2001 and 2005 campaigns, this book reinforces earlier evidence on the importance of valence issues with new material from the 2010 elections. Now the authors add a dynamic element, tracking the ebb and flow of party vote shares across elections - along with detailed new evidence on the campaign dynamics in 2010. Whiteley and his colleagues produce an impressive holistic model to explain how contemporary electoral democracy works in Britain and how it has been changing.' Russell J. Dalton, University of California, Irvine

'Affluence, Austerity and Electoral Change in Britain is sure to become one of the 'must-read' books on elections and voting, not only for students of British politics, but also for scholars in other countries who want to understand the dynamics of modern election campaigns and the explanatory power of alternative models of voting behaviour. A thorough, highly readable and sophisticated analysis of the rise and fall of New Labour, the political consequences of the 2007–8 economic crisis and related events, the austerity policies brought in following the 2010 election and the electoral prospects of the Cameron-Clegg coalition.' Lawrence LeDuc, University of Toronto

'There are 'good' election surveys and 'great' election surveys. The British Election Survey (BES), led by the Essex team, comes as close to the second category as any election survey yet. In this volume, these scholars combine concise data analysis with elegant prose, to explain how Brits pick their national political leaders. The story has elements of drama: the Northern Rock Bank failure, the hung parliament. And, there's continuity, such as the decline of class voting and the strength of valence issues such as the economy. The investigation uses avant garde research techniques, including the Continuous Monitoring Survey and internet sampling. The methodological and intellectual edge of the work furthers a tradition begun in the first BES, launched 50 years ago. [This book] stands as a fitting commemoration of that milestone.' Michael S. Lewis-Beck, F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Iowa

Book Description

This book investigates the political economy of party support in contemporary Britain. Marshalling a wealth of survey data gathered during the worst recession since the 1930s, the authors investigate support for New Labour and the Conservative–Liberal Democrat Coalition and choices voters made in Britain's referendum on the AV ballot.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Pack TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 2 May 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The core thesis of Affluence, Austerity and Electoral Change in Britain is that Britain’s recent general elections have been decided by “valence factors” – that is ones where voters choose between parties based on evaluation of their competence rather than making choices based on competing ideologies. Voters evaluate competency and credibility rather than competing lists of policy options.

With the more recent rise of Ukip and, to a lesser extent, the Greens, it is far from clear that valence factors continue to dominate British politics but even so there are plenty of pointers to understanding current and future politics from this study of the past, with its detailed statistical analysis of polling data from the British Election Study over 15 years.

In particular, for the Liberal Democrats an emphasis on valence rather than policy positions helps explain the party’s low poll ratings during the 2010-15 Parliament despite polling finding individual policies popular and the party’s position on the left/right political spectrum close to that of voters. The challenge the party faces isn’t about policies but about the party’s perceived ability to deliver on what it believes in.

It also helps explain why the economic recovery during the 2010-15 Parliament boosted the Conservative poll rating more than the Lib Dem one (even if not as much as Conservatives hoped). As the authors wrote in the first half of the Parliament of their statistical analysis: "A telling difference between the Conservative and Liberal Democrats is that the former party's prospects were enhanced by public perception that the Coalition Government is handling the crisis well ... However, this was not the case for the latter party ...
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