Voting Behaviour

Topics: Social class, Socialism, Term Pages: 2 (695 words) Published: April 8, 2014
Short-term factors are more important in influencing voting behavior than social class- discuss.

Many would argue that short-term factors are very important when it comes to influencing voting behavior. There are numerous important short-term factors such as: party leaders, issue voting and the media. However, other may say that social class is still the most important factor as it is long term and works in patterns, but other long-term factors such as geography are also important. This essay will discuss whether or not short-term factors are more influential on voting behavior than social class.

The Party Leader is becoming an increasingly important factor. This is a change from the 1980s when the party used to be considered more important. However, since party loyalty is continuing to decline, leaders are becoming more and more important. Professor Coleman stated that the General Elections are becoming ‘more presidential’. This can be seen through the TV leaders debates, where the focus was on ‘who won’ rather than the policies. For example, Nick Clegg came out on top after the first TV debate, but this only increased the Liberal Democrat support by 1%. Thus, the party leader is a short-term factor that can affect voting outcomes.

Furthermore, Party campaigns are also important. In 2010 the Conservatives spent £16.7 million on their campaign, which is twice as much as their closest rivals, Labour. The Tories targeted this money into the marginal seats (constituencies that could switch between parties throughout an election). However, despite this the Conservatives did not win with a majority, so the campaigns cannot be that important. Moreover, in May 2010, 57% of voters had made up their mind before the election campaigns began.

The Media are also a short-term factor. Although TV and radio cannot be biased towards a party, they can still help political agenda. They can set a climate of opinion. Tabloid newspapers are more easily swung- this can...
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