Assess the Extent to Which Short Term Factors Are Now More Important Than Long Term Factors in Shaping Voting Behaviour

1245 words 5 pages
The electorate are those that are eligible to vote, and many factors can influence the way in which the electorate do vote. Primacy, also known as long-term, factors are those that have a long term influence on the way in which somebody votes, for example the social class in which that person belongs to. Recency also referred to as short-term, factors are those which have a short-term influence and most prominently during the lead up to an election, an example of a recency factor is the impact of mass media. In the last few decades many long-term factors have become less important due to partisan and social de-alignment, whilst the short-term factors have been ever more emphasised and prominent. To begin, the period of 1945-1970 was …show more content…

In recent years, campaigns have become more centralised around the party leader, therefore the reputation of the party leader is important and can have a huge impact of voting behaviour. This is supported by the impact of the Iraq war and then “loans for peerages” that seriously dented Tony Blair’s once “young, dynamic and charismatic” and “honest and trustworthy” reputation, the unpopularity of these events are shown in the decrease in majority of the election of 2005; Labour won 356 votes, but in the 2001 election won 413 votes. Also, events leading up to an election can significantly sway voters, as sleaze was such a huge issue in 1997; it ruined the reputation of the Major government thus they lost the 1997 election to Labour. Moreover, the events leading up to the general election for Margaret Thatcher were very advantageous; the successful outcome of the Falklands War boosted the prospects of Margaret Thatcher in 1983. Another short-term factor is the State of the economy, which is a valence issue, where there is a general consensus within the electorate over the state of the economy, e.g. full employment, stable prices, increasing incomes etc. The electorate are more likely to re-elect a government that makes them feel good about the economy, a satisfaction rating. However, this model proposed by Sanders has some limitations, in 1997 there was no obvious alarm