Understanding Political Change

1st Edition

The British Voter 1964-1987

Authors: Anthony Heath
Print ISBN: 9780080372563
eBook ISBN: 9781483287096
Imprint: Pergamon
Published Date: 27th March 1991
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The central concern of Understanding Political Change is to explore the social and political sources of electoral change in Britain. From the Labour successes of the 1960s through the reemergence of the Liberals as a national force in 1974 and the rise and fall of the SDP to the potential emergence of the Green Party in the 1990s, Dr Heath and his collaborators chart the continually changing mould of British politics. Questions of the greater volatility of a more sophisticated electorate, of new cleavages in society replacing those based on social class, of the Conservative government's deliberate and inadvertent interventions to shape the emerging social structure, and of the influence which the political parties have been able to exert on public attitudes are all addressed with reference to data from the election surveys carried out after each general election since 1964.


For students, teachers and researchers in political science, sociology and electoral studies, followers of the political scene and the general reader.

Table of Contents

Social and political change. Electoral volatility. The rational electorate? Tactical voting. The withering away of class? The new middle class. The new working class. The extension of popular capitalism. Pocket book voting. Economic inequality. The Great Moving Right Show. Green and nuclear issues. Components of change. Appendix I: The British Election Surveys 1963-1987. Appendix II: Technical details of the 1987 surveys. Appendix III: Components of nonresponse bias in the British Election Surveys. The 1987 questionnaires and scale cards. Index.

150 diagrams and tables approx.


© Pergamon 1991
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About the Author

Anthony Heath

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Oxford, UK


@from:John Rentoul @qu:a bombshell for political cliches... If you only read one book on British voting behaviour, this should be it. @source: @qu:...a must for every politics library...the authors contribute further to the debates on class voting, electoral volatility and the impact of Mrs Thatcher's government. Understanding Political Change is not a nit-picking book but it debunks textbook cliches. @source:Understanding Political Change: the British Voher 1964-67 @from:Alan Warde, Lancaster University @qu:Understanding Political Change is the report from the 1987 British Election Survey...it is primarily concerned with documenting and explaining trends. It re-uses the entire series of surveys back to 1964, demonstrating the enormous value of repeated inquiries asking comparable questions.... Understanding Political Change is a highly competent and professional volume. @source:Sociology @from:Martin P. Wattenberg @qu:This book will surely be of importance to scholars with an interest in British electoral behaviour. @source:Australian Journal of Political Change