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influences on voting behaviour

Influences on Voting Behaviour

There has been an increase in rational voting in the last few elections. This is where voters vote for a party according to issues or the performance of a party. In the 2005 election, the main issues were Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war and the state of the NHS.

Voters can also be influenced by the personality and image of the party leaders. The use of ‘spin doctors’ and ‘image makers’ shows that the politicians believe that this is an important factor. Blair was considered to be ‘charismatic’.

Turnout in election depends on the type of election is taking place. Voters tend to vote less in council and European elections. This is called voting context.
  • Is there any point in voting? In some constituencies the result may be a foregone conclusion and some people don’t see the point in voting. In addition, voters may view the election as boring and again don’t bother to vote.
Protest Votes – It is normal for support for a government in mid term to fall. This is because, at by elections or local elections, the voter can tell the government what they think of their policies without endangering the government.
  • Tactical Voting – This term applies to a voter who votes for a party other than his/her preferred one in the hope that it will prevent a party which he/she really dislikes from winning.
the media and voting
The Media and Voting
  • We need to be aware of the effect that newspapers and television have on our voting behaviour.
  • However, the media can also include radio, the internet and magazines.
  • Since 1970 there has been a process of dealignment in British politics; voters are less likely to choose and stick to a particular party. The media can have a huge impact on these voters.
Newspapers can support a particular party and influence it’s readers.
  • The growth of digital television means we can access political information quickly and easily.
  • Floating voters are particularly influenced by the media.
  • Political Parties spend a great deal of time and money using the media – surely it must work? They put a great deal of effort and money into party election broadcasts.