Elections and Voting Behaviour in Britain by David Denver (auth.)

By David Denver (auth.)

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What is not clear is why this should be so. Two main explanations have been offered. The first suggests what is caUed a 'lifecycle' effect and is essentially the explanation implicit in the aphorism quoted above. Young people tend to be idealistic and to favour social and political change. As they grow older, however, people acquire more responsibilities, more of a stake in society (such as property) and become more aware of the difficulties associated with rapid social change. They thus become more cautious and conservative in outlook.

The table is not a complete transition matrix since it excludes 'other' party voters as weIl as those who died between the elections. Source: BES 1992 cross-section survey. the Conservatives to Labour and 3 per cent from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats, but this was partly compensated by the fact that 3 per cent switched from these parties to the Conservatives. In terms of the components of change, these (incomplete) figures suggest that about 3 per cent of the electorate switched major parties between 1987 and 1992, 8 per cent were involved in third-party traffic, 13 per cent in non-voting trafik and 7 per cent were new voters.

72 10 18 Party self-image by religion and dass, 1963 (%). Middle Class C. of NonRC Seot. eonformist 74 22 4 41 22 37 55 26 19 C. of Eng. 30 55 15 Working Class NonC. of RC Seot. eonformist 25 59 16 22 62 16 18 68 14 Source: Butler and Stokes (1974, p. 158). basis. In a largely secular, non-churchgoing society it is not clear what it means to say that someone 'belongs' to one religious denomination or another. None the less, in many Western European states religion remains a highly important determinant of party choice.

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