Participation and Voting Behaviour
1. Explain the term class dealignment used in the extract. (5 marks)
Class dealignment can be described as the relationship between social class and voting behaviour weakening, meaning that the electorate are beginning to vote for political parties which are not generally associated with their social class. The extract quotes “In the 1960s, Peter Pulzer concluded that, 'class is the basis of British party politics.'” The 1970s showed how the electorate strongly stuck to voting for parties based on their social class, and confirms Pulzer's ideas. In '74, 56% of the Conservatives support was from ABC1 classes, whilst the majority of Labours was from C2 and DE classes. The table in the extract shows how the percentage change of C1, C2 and DE class votes for the Labour party has decreased greatly – 11% for C2 and 8% for DE - which confirms the idea of class dealignment, as people from working class backgrounds such as C2 and DE have been more likely to vote for Labour in the past. Recently however there has been an increase in class dealignment. One reason for this could be because the 1980s introduced a new form of voters – known as “working class Tories”. The Conservative party gave the middle class the opportunity to purchase houses previously owned by the council. This allowed for them to own property – something that was only previously achievable by the upper classes. By doing this, Thatcher increased the working class support for the Conservative party which shows class dealignment. The 1974 general election showed C2 and DE classes voting for the conservative party at 26% and 22% of the electorate. However in 1979, when Thatcher gave these classes the opportunity to purchases houses, they increased to 41% and 34%.
2. Using your own knowledge as well as the extract, consider the link between social class and voting behaviour. (10 marks)
Class alignment states that social class determines the parties which the...
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