Opinions are divided on whether the Conservatives or Labour need to worry most about UK Independence Party (UKIP) in the 2015 General Election. How do we reconcile evidence of substantial levels of UKIP support among traditional working class voters, and in Labour constituencies, with evidence that UKIP voters report voting Conservative in 2010? In this article, we resolve this implicit contradiction using long-term panel data to examine the sequencing of vote switching from Labour to UKIP. We argue that Labour's move to the 'liberal consensus' on the EU and immigration led to many of their core voters defecting before UKIP were an effective political presence. We show that not only is the working-class basis of UKIP overstated but the party is mainly attracting disaffected former Labour voters from the Conservatives and elsewhere, which is why the Conservatives, not Labour, will feel most of the electoral pain in 2015.
This article investigates forces that shaped the decisions voters made in the 23 June 2016 referendum on the UK's continued membership in the European Union. A multivariate model informed by previous research on voting in major "polity-shaping' referendums is employed assess factors affecting how voters cast their ballots in the EU referendum. Employing data gathered in a national panel survey conducted before and after the referendum, analyses document that economic- and immigration-focused benefit-cost evaluations strongly influenced voters' decisions. Risk assessments, emotional reactions to EU membership and leader image heuristics were other major proximate forces driving the choices voters made. National identities were influential as well, but operated further back in the set of forces affecting attitudes towards the EU. The June 23rd Brexit decision thus reflected a diverse mix of calculations, emotions and cues. Given the close division of the vote, it is plausible that a substantial change in any of these factors could have changed the referendum outcome.
Over the past two decades, various policy initiatives have been proposed to solve the perceived problem of youth disengagement from politics. This article examines the impact of one such policy initiative-namely the introduction of activities that seek to teach 'education through citizenship' at school. In short, 'education through citizenship' involves formal and informal learning opportunities that enable students to acquire civic skills and knowledge through hands-on experiences. School councils, debate teams and/or mock elections are some of the most common 'education through citizenship' activities in schools in England, and drawing on data from the Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study this article shows that such activities can indeed have an effect, not just in the short-term (as previous studies in England have shown), but also in the medium-term (by encouraging political engagement once the students have left the confines of the school). This article thus argues that school activities can have a lasting and independent impact on youth political engagement and provides support for the continuation of education through citizenship, as well as about citizenship.
In the first round of the 2012 French presidential election, Marine Le Pen drew a record score of 17.9 of the valid votes. Her success was attributed to the ode-demonization' strategy she implemented to soften the party's image, make it credible on other issues than immigration, and diversify its electoral audience. Survey data from 1988 to 2012 show a more complex picture. Marine Le Pen's supports are ideologically and socially very similar to her father's. The only difference is her larger audience among women, especially in the service proletariat. If this erosion of the traditional oradical right gender gap' is confirmed, it could considerably enlarge the National Front's electoral influence.
Abstract Conventional wisdom suggests that a strong legislature is built on a strong internal committee system, both in terms of committee powers and the willingness of members to engage in committee work. Committee assignments are the behavioural manifestation of legislative organisation. Despite this, much remains unknown about how committee assignments happen and with what causes and consequences. Our focus in this article is on providing the context for, and introducing new research on, what we call the political economy of committee assignments—which members get selected to sit on which committees, why and with what consequences.
Young people in Britain are often characterised as disconnected from the formal political process and from democratic institutions. Certainly their rate of abstention in general election contests over the last decade has led to concerns amongst the political classes that they have a disaffection from politics that is deeply entrenched and more so than was the case with previous youth generations, and may in the future become habit-forming. In this article, we consider the results from an online national survey of 1025 British 18 year olds conducted in 2011, and compare these with the results from a similar study conducted by one of the authors in 2002. In doing so, our aim is to assess the extent to which young people's levels of political engagement have changed over the course of the intervening years, and if so, how they have changed. The results from this comparison indicate that, contrary to popular wisdom, today's generation of young people are interested in political affairs, and they are keen to play a more active role in the political process. However, their recent experience of their first general election in 2010 has left them feeling frustrated. Indeed, our study has revealed a considerable aversion to formal, professional politics which is as deep today as it was for the predecessor 2002 youth cohort.
Abstract This article analyses how parliamentary party groups in the Tweede Kamer and the Bundestag achieve internal cohesion via the working procedures of parliamentary committees. Earlier research has indicated that committees comprise legislators with more or less divergent views from the parliamentary party group (PPG) median. This begs the question what mechanisms exist to deal with internal conflicts and maintain a level of cohesiveness among committee members and the wider PPG. The analysis is based on evidence from interviews with 78 legislators. The results show how individual legislators develop the initial positions with relative autonomy but are subsequently placed in a system of scrutiny through the internal working groups established in the PPGs. The analysis also highlights informal relationships between legislators outside of the institutionalised patterns.
This article will study the new face of Conservative Euroscepticism in the House of Commons, with a special focus on the 2015 intake of MPs who were supposedly ‘less stale, male and pale’ and their attitudes to the British referendum on the EU. In this respect, this article will also take a specific interest in new Conservative Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) MPs who turned out to be more active on the ‘leave’ side of the referendum campaign, thus serving as a showcase for the party's strategy of ‘decontaminating’ the Brexit brand and its hyperglobalist geopolitical perspective.