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.

Scotland: Constitutional Preferences and Voting Behaviour

Scotland: Constitutional Preferences and Voting Behaviour

Scotland: Constitutional preferences and voting behaviour

This book has examined the 1997 general election in Britain to assess whether or not the contest can be described as a critical election. One of the most important characteristics of realignment theory, as V.O. Key (1955) emphasizes, is that elections may have differing characters in different regions. In this context we suggest that, in Scotland, 1997 was not a ‘critical’ election. Despite the dramatic outcome in Scotland, voter-party alignments were largely similar to those at the 1992 election (Brown et al. 1998), and as such 1997 could be described as a maintaining election. In contrast, we argue that in Scotland the election of October 1974 proved to be the last critical election as ...

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