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.

Issues and Space: Proximity and Directional Theories of Voting

Issues and space: Proximity and directional theories of voting

Summary Box

  • Issues and the political process
  • Collecting and using issues
  • Voters and parties in political space
  • Distance in space:the proximity function
  • The directional challenge to proximity
  • Resolving proximity and directional differences
  • Issues in context.


In contemporary polities, one word is probably given more coverage than any other in the general reasons why and how people vote – ‘issues’. It is not difficult to see why. Voters as individuals have a range of concerns, some general, some specific, which influence how they lead their lives – what decisions they make, what behaviour they engage in and, more importantly in the context of politics, the effects that these decisions and behaviour have upon the individuals as they ...

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