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Performance Politics and the British Voter

Performance Politics and the British Voter

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Harold D. Clarke
Cambridge University Press, 7/23/2009
EAN 9780521697286, ISBN10: 052169728X

Paperback, 388 pages, 22.8 x 15.3 x 1.8 cm
Language: English

What matters most to voters when they choose their leaders? This book suggests that performance politics is at the heart of contemporary democracy, with voters forming judgments about how well competing parties and leaders perform on important issues. Given the high stakes and uncertainty involved, voters rely heavily on partisan cues and party leader images as guides to electoral choice. However, the authors argue that the issue agenda of British politics has changed markedly in recent years. A cluster of concerns about crime, immigration and terrorism now mix with perennial economic and public service issues. Since voters and parties often share the same positions on these issues, political competition focuses on who can do the best job. This book shows that a model emphasizing flexible partisan attachments, party leader images and judgments of party competence on key issues can explain electoral choice in contemporary Britain.

1. Performance politics and the British voter
2. The theory of valence politics
3. Valence politics and the long campaign
4. Tony's war
5. Electoral choices
6. The short campaign
7. Voting and political participation
8. Performance, people and the political system
9. Performance politics reconsidered
Appendix A
vote in 2005 by socio-demographic characteristics
Appendix B
turnout by socio-demographic characteristics
Appendix C
dynamics of party identification.