Age, sex, qualifications and voting at recent English general elections: an alternative exploratory approach

Ron Johnston*, Kelvyn Jones, David Manley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
194 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

There has been a substantial switch in approaches to the study of British voting behaviour in recent decades, with much less attention being paid to individual voters’ social positions. This paper argues that such approaches can mis-represent the contexts within which voters are socialised and mobilised and are also technically problematic because social positions and attitudes may well be collinear – in which case ‘true’ relationships are difficult to uncover. Further, regression models that include variables representing social positions almost invariably look at the main effects only and pay no attention to the interactions among those variables. Using a newly-developed multilevel modelling approach to the analysis of multi-way contingency tables, this paper explores the relationships between respondents’ age, sex and qualifications and their voting at the last three general elections in England, using a large data set. It indicates that, contrary to recent work, respondents’ social positions are linked – through their attitudes – to their partisan choices, and that exploration of the interactions among those variables identifies important differences in how they voted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-37
Number of pages14
JournalElectoral Studies
Volume51
Early online date29 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

Keywords

  • Voting
  • England
  • Class
  • Exploratory analysis
  • Large contingency tables

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