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Politics AS Level

Participation and Voting Behaviour

TermDefinition
Define 'Politics' How we are governed and by whom, the ways in which big decisions are taken concerning public affairs etc. including whether we are a democracy, dictatorship or whether we have tyranny or equality
Define 'Political Power' The ability to get things done, whether through force or coercion. The ability to reward or punish, like the Government can jail people who break the law
Define 'Political Authority' The ability to Government to direct their citizens towards a goal because the majority of people accept their right to rule. Implies that force will not have to be used, 'power cloaked in righfullness', like the Government's mandate to rule
Define 'Democracy' Literally 'people power', the people govern. In the UK we have a representative democracy, because we elect representatives, another form is representative democracy as used in Ancient Greece, would be infeasible now
Define 'Equality' The idea that everyone should be treated equally, i.e given the same opportunities, provided there is no reason for treating them differently
Pluralism The idea that the candidate with the most votes wins, whether or not this constitutes an overall majority
Elitism Society should be governed by a small group of elite (superior) people
Define 'Electorate' Everyone in Britain who is registered to vote, or on the electoral roll, and therefore everyone who has a say in who runs the country, through all types of elections
Define 'Apathy' A lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern for political matters, apathetic voters usually abstain from voting, because they fail to see the point or benefit
Define 'Alienation' A group of voters who are disenchanted with the current political climate, but unlike apathetic voters, they take an interest. They might not see a candidate standing for what they believe in, or see politicians as corrupt
Reasons why Britain is a democracy (think one set for Mr R, and one for Miss F) - Participation (referenda since 1997, pressure groups and single issue parties, turnout increase) - Our system is democratic (free and fair elections (?), open opposition, free press, checks and balances, protection of civil liberties)
Reasons why Britain is not a democracy (one set for KR, one for SF) - Participation (low in local elections, EU elections and referenda, single issue parties do not win power, FTPT system means all votes not equal) - Not a d-cratic system (HoL unelected, erosion of CL, presidential government, increase in QUANGOs)
Give examples of the main forms of participation Voting, pressure groups, writing to MP, joining a party, standing as an MP, canvassing, political discussion
Why is there less participation today? - Decline in voting, can't be bothered, apathy/'hapathy' - Feel parties 'all the same' not representative - Reptutation of MPs decline, no trust, alienation - Post-materialistic society, no duty - Milbrath's Framework of Political Participation (1965)
Give some examples of declining participation A high after the WW2 of 84%, but now has declined to a low of 59% in 2001, even now in the 2015 General Election it is just 66%
All time low of participation in a General Election 2001- 59%
General Election turnout from 1997 onwards 1997- Blair- 71% 2001- Blair- 59% 2005- Brown- 61% 2010- Coalition- 65% 2015- Cameron- 66%
What did the Parry et al. 1992 survey show? 25% of the population were involved to a significant degree, 50% participated and the remaining 25% were inactive
Reasons why participation does not matter - People have more demands on time etc. - low part. suggests 'hapathy' - nothing we do will make any difference
Reasons why participation does matter - We need to hold MPs to account, have ultimate authority - Sign of a good citizen - grassroots opinion - moderate majority - duty to
Explain the Social Structure Model People will vote based on social constructs, like gender, class, age, ethnicity, and region. Not a big factor nowadays, greater electoral volatility, voting is not as class based
Explain the Party Identification Model Partisan alignment plays a strong role, people will favour one party, and always vote for them- not so much anymore
Explain the Dominant Ideology Model People believe what they read in the press, like Murdoch press Conservative bias. TV and radio coverage responds to agenda set by the press. Has ruined several careers, like bacon sandwich gate
Explain the Rational Choice Model People will look back at what has happened recently, and think forward to what the parties are promising and make an informed decision. I.e Conservative Party campaign 2015 "long term economic plan"
Explain the Voting Context Model People will be most influenced by what is directly going on around them, like safe seats, marginal seats or protest voting
Explain the term 'short term voting factor' Includes the dominant ideology, rational choice, and voting context models (media coverage, prospective and retrospective models, image of the leader, and protest voting/electoral volatility)
Explain the term 'long term voting factor' Includes the social structure and party identification model (class, ethnicity, gender, age, party, partisan alignment)
Give some examples of issue voting - Economy is said to be the biggest issue (Tony Blair's terms under good economic conditions)
Approximately how many people live in a constituency? 75,000-100,000
When were major constituency boundary changes brought in? 2010
Give statistics of class voting 2015 General Election C1- 41% Conservative, 29% Labour DE- 41% Labour, 26% Conservative
Give General Elections as evidence of class dealignment 1979- Thatcher reached out to unemployed working class (Labour isn't working) 1997- Blair reached out to aspiring middle class with taxation policy
Give figures for Partisan Alignment 1945 election- Labour and Conservative won almost 90% of the vote 2005- 13% of the electorate felt a strong support to one of the main parties
Give figures for gender as a voting factor 2015- 38% men voted conservative, 37% of women
Give figures for age as a voting factor 2015- 27% Conservative vote 18-25 y/o increases to 47% among the 65+
Give figures for ethnicity as a voting factor 2015- Labour vote share among minorities is 65% compared to 28% from white British - 6% of Black Africans, compared to 22% of Indian origin
Region as a voting factor figures North-South divide. 31% of Northern voters voted Conservative, 12 points behind the rest of the UK
Why was Cameron chosen as Conservative party leader in 2006? Seen to unify the party, take them away from being the 'Nasty Party', was also young, eager and good-looking
Arguments that the media plays a big role - Agenda setter for politicians - Revealing interviews and exposees - Hidden bias can be seen - Changes people's minds, i.e Murdoch Press
Arguments that the media do not play a big role - People expose themselves to media whose views they most agree with - only reinforces views, does not change them
Why do we have elections? - Live in a democracy, lets people have say - Legitimacy for the gvmt, holds them to account - Allows us to recruit MPs
Created by: bethysav