To what extent does social class influence voting behaviour

Topics: Middle class, Working class, Social class Pages: 3 (1222 words) Published: November 20, 2013
Holly Welsh
To what extent does social class influence voting behaviour? It is often said that social class is the key determinant in voting behaviour. When the next Government elections come up is it true that the middle and upper classes will vote for the Conservative Party and the working class vote for the Labour Party? Or is voter behaviour more complex than that? This essay explores how the impact of social class on voting behaviour has changed over the years. Social class was the main determinant of voting behaviour back in the 1960s because in the 1960s Britain was a country in which social class was much more apparent and easy to define. Broadly speaking, people were ‘categorised’ as the Upper Class, the Middle Class and the Working Class. The class based system influenced many people’s attitudes and actions, this included voting. This led to a stability of voting patterns, which meant that voting habits seemed to be consistent and predictable. Also at the time there was a level of class alignment. This relates to the strong association of membership of a social class with support for a political party. This meant that people in social classes A to C1 would tend to vote for the Conservative Party and those in social classes C2 to E would vote for the Labour Party. This is known as the “Marsh Theory”. The “Marsh Theory” suggests that there were two main dominant parties, Labour and Conservative in which people voted accordingly to their Social Class. However, this led to a Middle England, when people in the middle class, lower middle class and working class aspired to better themselves and seek social mobility. In the 1970s and the 1980s there were massive changes in the UK, which meant that social class was no longer the main determinant of voting behaviour.  The changes made were in terms of the social class system, employment and demographic changes. These changes led to the “People’s Revolution”. This was when the line between socially mobile...
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