The fluctuating fortunes of the U.K. Social Democratic Party

Date of publication: June 15, 1983


This paper describes the methodology, and outlines some of the findings, of an ongoing programme of political research. The focus is the recently formed UK Social Democratic Party. The SDP, in collaboration with its Alliance partner, the Liberal Party, achieved a 50% voting intention figure within 6 months of its formation early in 1981. This support slumped to 20% during 1982. However, the Alliance attained 26% of the votes cast at the June 1983 UK General Election, compared to 44% for the Conservative Party and 28% for the Labour Party. The research programme has been based upon creativity and projective techniques. In the research reported here they have been used to explore the values, motives and attitudes underlying voting behaviour and intention. The findings to date illustrate both the diagnostic and also the predictive value of creative qualitative research approaches.

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