This accessible textbook provides a comprehensive introduction and guide to theories of voting and electoral behaviour. By carefully presenting and explaining the major technical and methodological advances made in voting studies, the text serves to provide a complete review of the different approaches and techniques that have characterized this area of study from its origins to the present day. The book includes separate chapters on abstention and electoral competition, and employs a range of empirical examples from a number of countries. It concludes by looking at how voting studies might evolve in the future.

The Historical Development of Voting Studies

The historical development of voting studies

Summary Box

  • Historical perspectives on theory development
  • The roots of voting studies
  • Formalising a voting model
  • The American Voter and the Michigan model
  • Re-balancing long- and short-term vote determinants
  • Social change and theoretical development
  • The survey tool
  • Technological and statistical advances.


When we study theories in political science, and in the social sciences more generally, there is often an unfortunate tendency to learn about the theory but to ignore where it comes from. We look at the assumptions and implications of the theory, we operationalise it and test it using empirical data and we criticise the results – but we rarely delve deeply into why this theory exists in the first place. This is not true of all fields within political science, of ...

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