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.

Gender: A Gender-Generation Gap?

Gender: A gender-generation gap?

The conceptual framework in this book classifies maintaining elections as those where patterns of party support display considerable continuity over time. Deviating elections are indicated by trendless fluctuations, or a temporary surge and decline, in long-term alignments. In secular realignments there is a long-term shift which gradually consolidates and changes the familiar landscape of party support. In contrast critical elections are characterized by stepped realignments in the electoral basis of party support, with major voting blocs creaking, cracking and reconsolidating like ice floes in the Antarctic. This classification raises important theoretical questions about how far parties can produce realignments by their own efforts – for example by targeting new groups of voters, strategically shifting ideological positions along the ...

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