Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

The British Electorate Twenty Years On: Electoral Change and Election Surveys


The surveys for the 1983 general election marked the first twenty years' systematic study of the British electorate. The British Election series – originating with the 1963 pre-election Nuffield survey by Butler and Stokes, followed by the Essex series in the 1970s conducted by Särlvik and Crewe, and latterly in the hands of Heath, Jowell and Curtice – yield exceptionally rich portraits of voters and their responses to politics. The growing crop of secondary analyses, tracing changes in the electorate over those years, reflects the continuities of the series. More recently, a number of studies have challenged the ‘Michigan conventions’ central to the first generation of British electoral studies. It is a good time, then, to take stock of our understanding of voting behaviour in Britain. Let us start with what is generally agreed.

Hide All
Alford R. (1964), Party and Society (London, Murray).
Alt J., Särlvik B. and Crewe I. (1976), ‘Partisanship and Policy Choice: Issue Preferences in the British Electorate, February 1974’, British Journal of Political Science, VI, 273–90.
Alt J. (1980), ‘Political Business Cycles in Britain’, in Whiteley P. (ed.), Models of Political Economy (London, Sage), pp. 155–75.
Alt J. and Chrystal A. (1981), ‘Politico-Economic Models of Fiscal Policy’, in Hibbs D. and Fassbender H. (eds), Contemporary Political Economy (Amsterdam, North Holland), pp. 185208.
Alt J. and Turner J. (1982), ‘The Case of the Silk-Stocking Socialists and the Calculating Children of the Middle Class’, British Journal of Political Science, XII, 239325.
Balsom D., Madgwick P. and Van Mechelen D. (1983), ‘The Red and the Green: Patterns of Partisan Choice in Wales’, British Journal of Political Science, XIII, 299325.
Blalock H. (1960), Social Statistics (London, McGraw-Hill).
Bodman A. (1983), ‘The Neighbourhood Effect: A Test of the Butler-Stokes Model’, British Journal of Political Science, XIII, 243–9.
Brand J., McLean D. and Miller W. (1983), ‘The Birth and Death of a Three-Party System: Scotland in the Seventies’, British Journal of Political Science, XIII, 463–88.
Budge I. and Farlie D. (1983), Explaining and Predicting Elections: Issues Effects and Party Strategies in Twenty-Three Democracies (London, Allen & Unwin).
Budge I., Robertson D. and Hearl D. (eds) (forthcoming) Ideology, Strategy and Party Change (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
Butler D. and Stokes D. (1971), Political Change in Britain (Harmondsworth, Penguin).
Champion A. and Green A. (1986), In Search of Britains' Booming Towns: An Index of Local Economic Performance for Britain, Discussion Paper No. 72 (University of Newcastle, Centre for Urban and Regional Development).
Clarke H., Stewart M. and Zuk G. (1986), ‘Politics, Economics and Party Popularity in Britain 1979–83’, Electoral Studies, V, 123–41.
Craig C., Rubery J., Tarling R. and Wilkinson F. (1985), ‘Economic, Social and Political Factors in the Operation of the Labour Market’, in Roberts B., Finnegan R. and Gallie D. (eds) (1985), New Approaches to Economic Life (Manchester, Manchester University Press), pp. 105–23.
Crewe I. and Payne C. (1976), ‘Another Game with Nature: An Ecological Regression Model of the British Two-Party Vote Ratio in 1970’, British Journal of Political Science, VI, 4381.
Crewe I., Särlvik B. and Alt J. (1977), ‘Partisan Dealignment in Britain 1964–1974’, British Journal of Political Science, VII, 129–90.
Crewe I. (1983), ‘How Labour was trounced all round’, The Guardian, 14 06.
Crewe I. (1984), ‘The Electorate: Partisan Dealignment Ten Years On’ in Berrington H. (ed.), Change in British Politics (London, Frank Cass), pp. 183215.
Crewe I. (1985), ‘Great Britain’, in Crewe I. and Denver D. (eds), Electoral Change in Western Democracies (London, Croom Helm), pp. 100–50.
Curtice J. and Steed M. (1982), ‘Electoral Choice and the Production of Government: The Changing Operation of the Electoral System in the United Kingdom Since 1955’, British Journal of Political Science, XII, 249–98.
Curtice J. and Steed M. (1984) ‘Appendix 2: An Analysis of the Voting’ in Butler and Kavanagh, The British General Election of 1983 (London, Macmillan).
Downs A. (1957), An Economic Theory of Democracy (New York, Harper and Row).
Dunleavy P. (1980), ‘The Political Implications of Sectoral Cleavages and the Growth of State Employment’, Political Studies, XXVIII, 364–83 and 527–49.
Dunleavy P. and Ward H. (1981), ‘Exogenous Voter Preferences and Parties with State Power: Some Internal Problems of Economic Theories of Party Competition’, British Journal of Political Science, XI, 351–80.
Dunleavy P. (1982), ‘How to Decide that Voters Decide’, Politics, II (2), 24–9.
Dunleavy P. and Husbands C. (1985), British Democracy at the Crossroads (London, Allen & Unwin).
Fiorina M. (1977), ‘An Outline for a Model of Party Choice’, American Journal of Political Science, XXI, 601–23.
Franklin M. and Page E. (1984), ‘A Critique of the Consumption Cleavage Approach in British Voting StudiesPolitical Studies, XXXII, 521–36.
Franklin M. (1985), The Decline of Class Voting in Britain (Oxford, Clarendon Press).
Fraser C., Marsh C. and Jobling R. (1985), ‘Political Responses to Unemployment’, in Roberts B., Finnegan R. and Gallie D. (eds), New Approaches to Economic Life (Manchester, Manchester University Press), pp. 351–64.
Goldthorpe J., Lockwood D., Bechofer F. and Platt J. (1968), The Affluent Worker in the Class Structure (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
Goldthorpe J. and Hope K. (1974), The Social Grading of Occupations: A New Approach and Scale (Oxford, Clarendon Press).
Goldthorpe J. (1980), Social Mobility and Class Structure in Modern Britain (Oxford, Clarendon Press).
Goodhart C. and Bhansali R. (1970), ‘Political Economy’, Political Studies, XXVIII, 43106.
Heath A., Jowell R. and Curtice J. (1985), How Britain Votes (Oxford, Pergamon Press).
Heath A., Jowell R. and Curtice J. (1986), ‘Understanding Electoral Change in Britain’, Parliamentary Affairs, IXL, 150–64.
Hibbs D. (1977), ‘Political Parties and Macro-Economic Policy’, American Political Science Review, LXXI, 1033–58.
Hibbs D. (1982), ‘Economic Outcomes and Political Support for British Governments Among Occupational Classes: A Dynamic Analysis’, American Political Science Review, LXXVI, 259–79.
Himmelweit H., Humphreys P. and Jaeger M. (1985, 2nd edn), How Voters Decide (Milton Keynes, Open University Press).
Holden K. and Peel D. (1985), ‘An Alternative View to Explaining Political Popularity’, Electoral Studies, IV, 231–9.
Hudson J. (1985), ‘The Relationship Between Government Popularity and Approval of the Government's Record in the United Kingdom’, British Journal of Political Science, XV, 165–86.
Johnston R. (1985), The Geography of English Politics (London, Croom Helm).
King A. (1981), ‘The Rise of the Career Politician in Britain – And Its Consequences’, British Journal of Political Science, XI, 249–85.
Laver M. (1984), ‘On Party Policy, Polarisation and the Breaking of Moulds: The 1983 British Party Manifestoes in Context’, Parliamentary Affairs, XXXVII, 33–9.
Lybeck J. (1985), ‘A Simultaneous Model of Politico-Economic Interaction in Sweden, 1970–1982’, European Journal of Political Research, XIII, 135–51.
Marshall G., Rose E., Vogler C. and Newby H. (1985), ‘Class, Citizenship and Distributional Conflict in Modern Britain’, British Journal of Sociology, XXXVI, 259–84.
McAllister I. and Rose R. (1984), The Nationwide Competition for Votes: the 1983 British General Election (London, Frances Pinter).
Miller W. (1977a), Electoral Dynamics in Britain Since 1918 (London, Macmillan).
Miller W. (1977b) ‘The Connection Between SNP Voting and the Demand for Scottish Self Government’, European Journal of Political Research, V, 83102.
Miller W. (1979), ‘Class, Region and Strata at the British General Election of 1979’, Parliamentary Affairs, XXXII, 376–82.
Miller W., Tagg S. and Britto K. (1986), ‘Partisanship and Party Preference in Government and Opposition: The Mid-Term Perspective’, Electoral Studies, V, 3146.
Minford P. and Peel D. (1982), ‘The Political Theory of the Business Cycle’, European Economic Review, XVII, 253–70.
Mosley P. (1984), ‘Popularity Functions and the Role of the Media: A Pilot Sludy of Ihe Popular Press’, British Journal of Political Science, XIV, 117–29.
Newby H., Vogler C., Rose D. and Marshall G. (1985), ‘From Class Structure to Class Action: British Working-Class Politics in the 1980's’, in Roberts B., Finnegan R. and Gallie D. (eds) (1985), New Approaches to Economic Life (Manchester, Manchester University Press), pp. 86102.
Pahl J. (1984), ‘The Allocation of Money Within the Household’, in Freeman M. (ed.) Law, State and the Family (London, Tavistock Publications), pp. 3650.
Paldam M. (1981), ‘A Preliminary Survey of the Theories and Findings on Vote and Popularity Functions’, European Journal of Political Research, XII, 181–99.
Pulzer P. (1967), Political Representation and Elections in Britain (London, Allen & Unwin).
Robertson D. (1976), A Theory of Party Competition (London, Wiley).
Robertson D. (1984), Class and the British Electorate (Oxford, Black well).
Rose R. (1980), ‘Who can get no satisfaction?’, New Society, 1 08, pp. 265–6.
Rose R. and McAllister I. (1986), Voters Begin To Choose (London, Sage).
Routh G. (1980), Occupation and Pay in Great Britain 1906–1979 (London, Macmillan).
Särlvik B. and Crewe I. (1983), Decade of Dealignment (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
Scarbrough E. (1984), Political Ideology and Voting (Oxford, Clarendon Press).
Scarbrough E. (1986), ‘Unemployment in Electoral Politics’, paper presented to the ECPR Joint Sessions, Gothenburg.
Studiar D. (1978), ‘Policy Voting in Britain: The Coloured Immigration Issue in the 1964,1966 and 1970 General Election’, American Political Science Review, LXXII, 4664.
Taylor-Gooby P. (1983), ‘The Distributional Compulsion and the Moral Order of the Welfare State’, in A. Ellis and K. Kumar, Dilemmas of Liberal Democracies (London, Tavistock Publications), pp. 98121.
Tuckel P. and Tejera F. (1983), ‘Changing Patterns in American Voting Behaviour’, Public Opinion Quarterly, XLVII, 143302.
Tufte E. (1978), Political Control of the Economy (Princeton, Princeton University Press).
Upton G. (1978), The Analysis of Cross-Tabulated Data (Chichester, Wiley).
Wald K. (1983), Crosses on the Ballot (Princeton, Princeton University Press)
Waller R. (1983), ‘The 1983 Boundary Commission: Policies and Effects’, Electoral Studies, II, 195206.
Whiteley P. (1983), The Labour Party in Crisis (London, Methuen).
Whiteley P. (1984), ‘Inflation, Unemployment and Government Popularity: Dynamic Models for the United States, Britain and West Germany’, Electoral Studies, III, 324.
Whiteley P. (1986), Political Control of the Macro-Economy (London, Sage).
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 17 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 75 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.