• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Did Labour's landslide victory in 1997 mark a critical watershed in British party politics? Did the radical break with 18 years of Conservative rule reflect a fundamental change in the social and ideological basis of British voting behaviour? Critical Elections brings together leading scholars of parties, elections and voting behaviour to provide the first systematic overview of long-term change in British electoral politics.

New Sources of Abstention?
New sources of abstention?

Critical elections may produce an abrupt shift in party competition through two primary mechanisms: mass conversion of one group of party supporters into another camp, or alternatively the mobilization (or demobilization) of voters into the electorate. Hence, the enfranchisement of the working class in 1918 is often held to have been a decisive factor in the critical realignment of 1924 and the rise of the Labour Party, while the Labour landslide of 1945 has also been attributed to the entry of new generations of voters (Franklin and Ladner 1995). Secular realignments over successive elections can also be influenced by trends in turnout, for example if certain social groups gradually become demobilized over time. Lastly, deviating elections are characterized ...

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