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.

Thinking about Voting Change

Thinking about voting change

Summary Box

  • Conceptualising voting change
  • Predicting stability and change
  • Belief systems in the voting literature
  • Belief system heterogeneity
  • Voter availability
  • Linking psychological traits to vote.


The theories which we have considered so far have one thing in common: they try to explain and/or predict vote. This is an obvious focus for voting theories, of course. The logic of the electoral process means that in practical terms the only result which matters is the result of the election in hand. However, as many of the analyses have shown, we can also think of elections as a series of political events, the trends in which can reveal dynamics within these systems. For instance, those concerned with the relevance of class in relation to Left-voting have perceived across-time ...

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