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British Electoral Facts [Paperback]

Michael Thrasher , Colin Rallings
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Total Politics; 7th edition (1 Dec 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907278036
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907278037
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 531,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and clear 11 Feb 2010
As a student of political science, I was always in need of electoral data for the British House of Commons. Until buying this book, Wikipedia's bare and incomplete details had to sufficed but were often lacking in data which was either detailed, old or both.

This book changed all of that. It includes, of course, the basic details regarding vote and seat numbers/percentage for all the major parties in every single general election since 1832 up until the most recent one (at the time of writing) in 2005. It also includes data which would be almost impossible to access readily elsewhere such as the number of spoilt ballots, postal votes, detailed turnout breakdown, specific seat gains/losses, referendum results, polling, electoral irregularities, etc., etc. Specific focus is given to the major parties, regions and elections so that the data can be viewed in any context that may be useful to the reader.

I also get the impression that a lot of the data is secondary, that is the authors themselves have manipulated existing figures in order to calculate interesting new findings such as adjusted electoral turnout percentages and the Tory/Labour vote assuming a 2 party system.

Indeed the detail is, even for university level study, too detailed if anything, but of course that doesn't matter; the clearly-listed contents page and well-formatted book structure means the individual data one desires can easily be found and used. On most pages, there is a good amount of white space between each figure, so rows and columns are unlikely to be muddled. Only on a very small number of pages is the data small and cramped, so those who need glasses when reading will probably get away with not wearing them for the vast majority of this book.

This latest edition has meant the significant price reduction and hence the book is affordable for anybody who needs it. I bought it for this reason to aid my studies and have been very glad that I did so!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reference work 23 Aug 2010
By Mark Pack TOP 1000 REVIEWER
For decades, FWS Craig was the doyen of British electoral statistics. His reference works were widely used and often contained facts and figures that he had created from original sources. Yet today he is almost completely unknown.

The reason? He died just before the internet took off. His hard work was locked away in reference volumes either sat on the shelves in libraries beyond the reach of an internet connection or available to purchase - at eye-wateringly expensive prices.

Rather like the first person to map a geographic area, even as his name has been forgotten we are all still heavily dependent on the statistical landscape he first plotted. It's a landscape he plotted with great care and attention, as I know personally, having spent a good part of my PhD years recreating statistics from original nineteenth century sources and comparing them with his calculations.

One of his most used publications was British Electoral Facts, which went through five editions. It was revived in 2000 by Colling Rallings and Michael Thrasher, who have now published the sixth and seventh edition of this title.

By pulling together a consistent set of numbers over time, the book lets the reader very easily put in context the latest figures that are thrown up by an election even if sometimes the last few years are missing. In a few cases the gap is even bigger as the data has come from sources which were published further in the past.

The book has all the broad basic numbers you might expect, such as general election results since 1832 and numerous related numbers. One small quibble: by giving figures even from years such as 1832 to one decimal place, the book implies that the numbers are accurate than in fact is warranted given the quality of the original data.
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