Electoral Shocks: The Volatile Voter in a Turbulent World

ISBN : 9780198800583

Edward Fieldhouse; Jane Green; Geoffrey Evans; Hermann Schmitt; Cees van der Eijk; Jonathan Mellon; Christopher Prosser
320 ページ
153 x 153 mm

Electoral Shocks: The Volatile Voter in a Turbulent World offers a novel perspective on British elections, focusing on the role of electoral shocks in the context of increasing electoral volatility. It demonstrates and explains the long-term trend in volatility, how shocks have contributed to the level of electoral volatility, and also which parties have benefited from the ensuing volatility. It follows in the tradition of British Election Study books, providing a comprehensive account of specific election outcomes- the General Elections of 2015 and 2017-and a more general and novel approach to understanding electoral change. The authors examine five electoral shocks that affected the elections of 2015 and 2017: the rise in immigration after 2004, particularly from Eastern Europe; the Global Financial Crisis prior to 2010; the coalition government of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats between 2010 and 2015; the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014; and the European Union Referendum in 2016. The focus on electoral shocks offers an overarching explanation for the volatility in British elections, alongside the long-term trends that have led to this point. It offers a way to understand the rise and fall of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Labour's disappointing 2015 performance and its later unexpected gains, the collapse in support for the Liberal Democrats, the dramatic gains of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in 2015, and the continuing period of tumultuous politics that has followed the EU referendum and the General Election of 2017. It provides a new way of understanding electoral choice in Britain, and also beyond, and a better understanding of the outcomes of recent elections.


1 Introduction
2 Volatility and Electoral Shocks
3 Turbulent British Politics: An Explanation
4 The Rise of the Volatile Voter
5 EU Accession Immigration and the Rise of UKIP
6 The Global Financial Crisis
7 Reward, Blame, and Guilt by Association? The electoral collapse of the Liberal Democrats
8 Scotland: A tale of two referendums
9 Brexit and the re-shaping of British electoral politics
10 Conclusions


Edward Fieldhouse is Professor of Social and Political Science at the University of Manchester. He is principal investigator of the Scientific Leadership Team of the 2015 and 2017 British Election Studies. He is co-author of over seventy journal articles, chapters, and books on a range of topics including voting behaviour, turnout, and electoral geography.; Jane Green is Professor of Political Science and British Politics at the University of Oxford and Professorial Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford. She is the Director of the Gwilym Gibbon Centre for Public Policy at Nuffield College and Co-Director of the British Election Study. She is also an election analyst for ITV News. Jane Green is the author (with Will Jennings) of The Politics of Competence: Parties, Public Opinion and Voters, Cambridge University Press, and of many articles and chapters examining the over-time contextual basis of voting and party competition, and the basis of policy-based evaluations of political parties. She is a regular commentator on national media, winner of the Political Studies Association 'Research Communicator of the Year' (2015) and was part of the independent inquiry into the 2015 opinion polls.; Geoffrey Evans is co-director of the British Election Study and Principal Investigator of the 2016 EU Referendum Study. Over the last 30 years he has undertaken numerous surveys and election studies in Britain, Northern Ireland, and Eastern Europe. His research examines the relationships between social divisions, political values and perceptions, and voting behaviour. In addition to over 150 journal articles and chapters he has authored or edited six books, including The New Politics of Class: The Political Exclusion of the British Working Class (with James Tilley), and Brexit and British Politics (with Anand Menon), both published in 2017.; Hermann Schmitt is co-director of the British Election Study and outgoing co-ordinator of the European Election Study. He has previously undertaken numerous social and electoral studies in Europe. His research examines the inter-relationship in political orientations and behaviours in European multi-level electoral democracies. In addition to over 100 journal articles and book chapters, he has authored or edited ten books and Special Issues of scholarly journals, as well as more than a dozen data base editions .; Christopher Prosser is a Presidential Fellow at the University of Manchester and a non-stipendiary Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, working on the British Election Study. He also works as a psephologist for ITV. He has published numerous articles on political behaviour and party competition in Britain and Europe, polling, and survey research methods. ; Jonathan Mellon is a research Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, working on the British Election Study. Jonathan works on the BBC's election night forecasts and as a consulting data scientist with the World Bank, OSCE, and Carter Center. He was awarded his DPhil in Political Sociology from the University of Oxford. His research interests include electoral behaviour in Britain and across the world and developing better measurements in social science both for traditional surveys and big data.; Cees van der Eijk is Professor of Social Science Research Methods at the University of Nottingham; earlier he was Professor of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. He was one of the co-directors of the British Election Study, and has (co) directed numerous surveys on elections in the Netherlands, the UK, and the European Union. He has (co)authored many books, scholarly articles, and book chapters on political science, comparative politics, elections, and political methodology.