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Social De-alignment in UK - Essay Example

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The present work will be devoted to the discussion of the de-alignment and its social constituent as one of the major factors influencing the voters' behaviour. It is necessary to look at class alignment and de-alignment from different viewpoints, applying the main theories of social cleavage and the role of de-alignment in forming the voting preferences of the citizens.
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Social De-alignment in UK
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"Social De-alignment in UK"

Download file to see previous pages It has become popular through the recent years to view the voting patterns in the UK as less dependent on social attitudes and positions, rather than dependent on political factors. However, it is still under argument, whether social issues still play major role in defining voters' behaviours, as the present-day society has become more polarized. The electorate may be described as well-educated and informed mass of people, and it is often that its rational choice is based on the party's position, leadership, strategy and policy, not taking into account to which class the exact part of electorate belongs. This is the basis of the so called 'supermarket' model of voting, when the rational choice is based on the perceptions, which party will improve the life of the society while in Government. Thus the theory becomes active, when the leadership and personality of the candidate become increasingly significant for voters, and the political issues leave for the background. However, such theories don't take into account the influence, which the media may make on the personality of each leader, and this influence may be both positive and negative, thus causing the electorate to make wrong choice. This work is to be concentrated on the social theories in voters' behaviour which take into account age, gender and class to which the voters belong, and assuming that these factors dictate the way the voter makes his choice.
'Class is undoubtedly a significant factor when considering voting behaviour; traditionally two thirds of all voters chose their 'natural' class party, the working class favoring Labour and the middle class Conservative. However, since the1970s class de-alignment has begun, and the proportions of classes voting for particular parties have become more even, caused by embourgeoisement and the consequent decrease of in size of the working class'. (Curtice, 2002)
This theory may be easily linked to the suggestion, that the voter's choice is becoming more tied to the place of his residence (the theories of voters' behaviour and the influence of neighbourhood will be discussed in this work), however, it is easily explained by the fact that the working class mainly occupies the northern part of the country, while the southern part belongs to the middle class. Simultaneously, it is interesting to note, that during the election campaign of the year 2001 the Conservatives lost most of their southern votes, which says there are some other factors except for class, which influence voters' choice. Another important social factor in defining voting preferences is gender. However, the proofs, which support this theory, are very inaccurate, as they don't account the gender equilibrium in the workforce and the attempts of different parties to concentrate their campaigns on childcare and health issues.
It may be surprising not to note the influential role of the social factors in electorate behaviour, as Britain cannot be described as less class aligned. People still reflect their class preferences in their voting, though less attention has been paid to these factors, while they are still important and should be taken into account. To realize the importance of the social re-alignment and de-alignment in relation to the voting behaviours, it is necessary to provide the reliable argument as for the increasing social polarization in the society. According to Dorling (2006), 'housing wealth per child rose 20 times more in the best-off tenth as compared to worse-off tenth of areas in Britain 1993-2003; the majority of extra higher education places ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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