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A Test of Core Vote Theories: The British Conservatives, 1997–2005

Abstract

The British Conservative party during 1997–2005 appeared to support the view that parties react to defeat by energizing their core vote base. Using a series of spatial and salience-based definitions of the core vote, combined with elite interviews with William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard, the three Conservative leaders between 1997 and 2005, empirical evidence in support and also refutation of the core vote critique is evaluated here. The analyses suggest that Conservative issue strategies between 1997 and 2005 were chosen on grounds of spatial proximity and public perceptions of issue ownership, and that an appeal to Conservative voters was consistent with a broader appeal. The implications of this evidence are important for conceptualizing and applying party base explanations in Britain and beyond.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

James Adams , Party Competition and Responsible Party Government: A Theory of Spatial Competition Based upon Insights from Behavioral Voting Research (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001)

James Adams , Samuel Merrill and Bernard Grofman , A Unified Theory of Party Competition: A Cross-National Analysis Integrating Spatial and Behavioral Factors (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005)

Herbert Kitschelt , The Transformation of European Social Democracy, Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994)

Mark Garnett and Philip Lynch , The Conservatives in Crisis: The Tories after 1997 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003)

John Zaller The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992)

Harold D. Clarke , David Sanders , Marianne C. Stewart and Paul F. Whiteley , Performance Politics and the British Voter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)

William H. Riker , ‘Rhetorical Interaction in the Ratification Campaigns’, in W. H. Riker, ed., Agenda Formation (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993), pp. 8123

Andrew Hindmoor , New Labour at the Centre: Constructing Political Space (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)

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British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
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