Voting behaviour

Date of publication: September 1, 1966


This paper describes an attempt to answer a different question, which can be simply expressed as ’How do electors decide how to vote?'. It is hoped that the work described below goes some way towards describing the attitude structure underlying voting behaviour. The questions arising are many. Is voting choice a reasonably rational decision? Is it an expression of a personality or attitude dimension? Or is it a function of habit; of how an individual voted before or of how his parents voted? Do the basic reasons for party re-election differ for supporters of different parties? Do Labour voters vote Labour for one reason. Conservative voters Conservative for another and Liberal voters Liberal for a third reason? How do floating voters make their final decision? It is difficult to hypothesise answers without looking at the underlying attitude structure, at the frames of reference wherein people perceive political parties. This paper investigates whether the application of sophisticated factor analytic techniques to relatively simple data can provide indicators of the frames of reference operating in the minds of voters.

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