Higher Politics Essay Notes

Daniel Cormack
Note by Daniel Cormack, updated more than 1 year ago


Higher Politics CFE essay notes.

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Page 1

Higher Politics - Essay Notes

Section 1: Political Theory

Power, Authority, LegitimacyPower - Steven Lukes Context: Power - defined as ability to influence behaviour of others.Steven Lukes - author of "Power: a radical view", described power as three faces. First face of power - Open Face. - Power which can be seen to be used - making it easy for people to acknowledge who is exercising this type of power, as people involved usually appointed through legal procedures. - Exists in UK today - form of gov making decisions on behalf of people - Eg smoking ban in 2006 - made it illegal to smoke in public in Scotland. Legislation was debated and decided before enforcement. - Decision made on behalf of non-smokers - to ensure health did not deteriorate due to passive smoking. - Therefore, this type of power still relevant in UK today - all acts of parliament made on behalf of public - then public react with possible behaviour changes. Second face of power - Secretive Face. - Not only ability to make decisions, but also to limit decisions available to others. - David Cameron - sets agenda for Cabinet meetings. Able to decide what will/will not be discussed. Could be topics he is not ready to debate or are not a concern - even if other Cabinet members think issue is still highly relevant. - PM appoints Cabinet members - rarely disagree with their agenda. - Eg Scottish devolution - Tory government always opposed to it - but Labour had this as one of main policies in manifesto - won a referendum for establishment of Scottish Parliament. - Exemplified 2nd face of power - still highly relevant as issue of devolution still rife today - eg, should more powers be devolved? etc etc. Third face of power - Manipulative Face. - Lukes - powerful people could persuade others into believing decisions were being made in their best interests, and desires of public could be shaped/manipulated. - Eg, many feminists assert women discouraged from breaking stereotypical norm of housewivery and from pursuing career. Many of belief media manipulates desires of women.- In addition, another example - Alex Salmond. Manipulating desires of Scots during referendum through promotion of nationalism? Authority - Max WeberContext: Power/authority often used interchangeably - in order for authority, someone ought to have legitimacy. Max Weber - sociologist who developed ideas about way in which power can become authority. Believed there is fixed amount of power in any society and that power held by any individual or group is power not available to another individual or group. Believed power used to further interests of those who hold it. Charismatic Authority - This is when people choose to obey leaders based on the special qualities or characteristics of an individual. Charismatic leaders are able to inspire others to follow them through their personalities or special qualities. This type of authority is usually seen to die with the individual and is not passed on to others. For example, Nelson Mandela became the first black leader of South Africa after spending 27 years in jail. Through his personality and courage in the fight against apartheid he was seen as a national hero, which helped him secure the obedience of his countryTraditional Authority- This is when there is a belief in established customs and traditions - those in authority expect obedience and loyalty on grounds that established customs and traditions demand it. An example of traditional authority might be a monarchy - in which power is treated as a birthright as it is passed down family lines. Forms of traditional rule are not exemplified solely by monarchies, however - in many cases, traditional rulers are religious figures, such as a priest or a sheikh, or are members of a dominant elite. In these cases, a myth, spiritual belief, or ritual may play a role in transferring and legitimizing authority.Rational-Legal Authority - Unlike charismatic authority and traditional authority, rational-legal authority derives its powers from the system of bureaucracy and legality. Weber defined legal order as a system wherein the rules are enacted and obeyed as legitimate - as they are in line with other laws on how they can be enacted and how they should be obeyed. - In the United States, for example, presidential power is passed on through elections. Elections must follow specific rules to ensure they are fair: all eligible voters must be allowed to vote, no poll tax can be charged because it would discriminate against those who could not pay, and so on. LegitimacyContext: Defined as to be in a position to exercise authority. Links to power and authority by transforming the former into the latter – turns naked power into authority. Legitimacy used when describing political system typically. Theorists View on Legitimacy - Legitimacy very important in understanding role of governments with a state - crucial for governments to be legitimate to control in democratic states. - Weber - defined legitimacy as being right to rule. Therefore, as long as people were prepared to comply, a system of rule can be described as legitimate. Weber argues that traditional and charismatic authority can be legitimate if accepted by populace. Marx argued that a dictatorship of the proletariat would be legitimate as it was acting in the best interests of the masses; likewise dictators claim to uphold common good without popular approval. - Hobbes – social contract – dictatorship could have legitimacy as it is meant to protect the individual – the Leviathan state – legitimacy comes about by preventing people getting harmed – implied consent.How do governments gain and maintain legitimacy? - Social contract – tacit and formal agreement whereby state’s legitimacy is based on protection of citizens (Hobbes) and promotion of rights and freedoms (Locke) and the common good (Rousseau).- Locke challenged Hobbes as he believed a man could not give away more power over himself than he himself has. Tacit consent is given to the government by anyone who has “possession or enjoyment of any part of the dominions of any government”.- Marxists state that bourgeois ideology denotes sets of ideas which conceal the contradictions upon which class societies are based – ideology propagates falsehood, delusion and mystification. Ideology operates in interests of the ruling class.Political Ideologies Socialism/Liberalism.Context: Political ideology - set of values and arguments which give overall view of what society should be like- Liberalism and Socialism - 2 ideologies. - Liberalism - individualist ideas at its core - promotion of individual freedom and progress through focusing on supporting organisation of society based on self development. - Socialism - community values at its core as humans believed to have common humanity. The State - Liberals - ought to be government and rule of law, but power given to representatives has to be consensual, EG democratically elected. - Belief in democratically elected governments limited by constitutionalism to provide order and stability. - Socialists - contrast this view. View rule of law as unfair system under capitalist ideology - state is simply a means of coercion where ruling class maintains rule over majority of working class. - Socialists want state to act in interests of oppressed and exploited, so ruling class system should be overthrown and run for workers. - Theories can be exemplified by recent politics, eg - Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of Labour. Elected as leader on platform of "new economics" - seeks to distribute rewards of growth more evenly than Conservative Party. Seen as socialist approach. - In comparison, David Cameron's leadership of Conservatives. Re-elected on platform of cutting income tax, creating more jobs and reducing welfare assistance. This exemplifies classical liberalism in action - clearly contrasts that of socialism. Equality- Liberals - focus on idea of all individuals possessing skills and resources that are exclusively theirs so they can be exchanged in the free market. So, individuals effectively in contracts with each other to allow market to work. - John Locke - individuals more important than collective - only role of state is to provide security and protection. - Adam Smith - promotes these values - argues social equality comes from people acting in self-interested manner - not doing something for the good of community. - Expanded - by arguing individuals are driven to push for most effective means of promoting happiness of mankind - so general welfare of all is increased significantly. - Socialists - human inequality reflects unequal structure of society - do not accept view of John Locke - believe collective more imp than the individual. - Socialist idea - people work together cooperatively, in turn removing resentment and division social inequality presents. - Equality of outcome advocated, not equality of opportunity like Liberals argue. Thatcher - "They've got the usual Socialist disease – they've run out of other people's money."Ownership- Liberals - advocate private property and free market - seen to promote individual freedom and gov does not have to interfere as much in an individual's life. - Locke - believed it allowed individuals to prosper by allowing opportunity to better themselves. Example - Conservative Right to Buy policy. - Socialists - criticise this notion - wealth should be created in community and not just by individual. Private ownership deemed to create conditions for inequality. - Marx - Workers of world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains - emphasises belief ownership led to disempowerment of WC and uprising needed to gain true equality. - Common ownership - means of harnessing material resources for common good to generate broader equality. SNP Gov - targets to build more social housing in order to promote this and reduce ineqaulity.

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Higher Politics - Essay Notes

Political Systems

Constitutional Arrangements Context: US and UK have very different constitutions and systems of government. Differences - codification, flexibility. Similarities - processes of change and convention. Codification - US - codified constitution. Written document details all of US citizens' rights and details Presidential system. Since establishment in 1788, only 27 amendments have been made. Allows for easy understanding of rights. - UK - different - UK is uncodified - with fundamental rights and principles underlying UK society scattered among variety of sources. - Statute law - legislation must be passed through parliament before it can become law. - Common law - arises from legal judgements - such as precedents - which have been passed down through centuries by judiciary. Therefore, a clear difference. Principles- US - based on 3 main principles - separation of powers, checks and balances and federalism. Sep of power - theory of government where power is divided into three branches of government - legislature, executive and judiciary - acting not only independently at times, but together too. - System of checks and balances - ways in which each branch can hold each other to account. Eg, President has power to veto legislation passed by Congress. - However, UK - supremacy of parliament is main principle. Parliament is supreme branch of government - has power to introduced, change or repeal Acts of Parliament and laws. Generally, courts can overrule legislation, but future governments have power to change or repeal previous laws due to uncodified constitution. Flexibility - Due to UK being uncodified, it can - in theory - be changed easily. - Viewed as disadvantage by some - rights not completely safeguarded and civil rights can be abolished overnight by a political party who temporarily wins power. Others view capacity to change as beneficial: UK can adapt to changing circumstances and less likely to have outdated rules and obligations. Eg, gay marriage bill. Stark contrast to America. - US - constitution hard to adapt. Lengthy, rigid procedures must be followed before any constitutional changes can be made. On one hand, adv because rights are more protected, but this may result in parts of US constitution becoming outdated. Eg, US constitution mentions slavery - not relevant in society anymore. Therefore, clear difference. Rights- UK - rights were not fully guaranteed in UK constitution, but introduction of HRA 1998 safeguarded rights of citizens. But, because uncodified - rights are not guaranteed and future governments able to repeal this act. - US - rights guaranteed in Bill of Rights - name of first ten amendments. Enables Americans to be educated on their rights and very hard to change. This is more effective than UK - rights are protected. Processes of Change - US - difficult to formally amend in US than UK - but similar due to more informal processes, eg judicial reviews which can be carried by Court of Appeal in same way Supreme Court can. - Allows challenges to be made so both countries have power to set aside government decisions. - Also provides opportunity to allow constitution to be interpreted and reinterpreted depending on certain circumstances. - Both systems rely heavily on judges for systems to remain up to date. Political Assemblies - scrutinise effectively? Context: ‘Assemblies’ refer to both houses or chambers and it is also used interchangeably with the terms legislature and parliament. Comparing US and UK scrutiny level - what is on offer? Committees - UK - select committees. This means select committees in HOC scrutinised the work of all major gov depts and concentrate on expenditure policies and admin. Gather written evidence and examine witnesses; have power to call experts and witnesses to explain actions of give advice. Eg, Rupert Murdoch - phone hacking. - BUT - limited - membership reflects makeup of HOC, gov with majority in house has majority on each committee. May not scrutinise too vigorously if own party makes up govt. Eg, most members will be Tories. Information has reportedly been withheld surrounding war in Iraq on grounds of national security. - US - Congress can scrutinise Executive Government through committees. Wide range of powers to call witnesses and see papers. Have significant powers to compel witnesses to attend hearings. Coms tend to focus on certain issue - defence spending committee. Stephen Colbert - gave advice re immigration due to discussions on his TV show re the subject. Question Time - UK - MPs have rights to ask Qs of govt ministers and PM. Most questions receive written responses, but some answered orally. - Eg, PM/Dep PM - must answer Qs from MPs every Wednesday at 12pm. - However, could be argued Qs are limited in effectively holding govt to account. Means that although MPs do get to ask Qs, most are passed to party whip so do not get to ask own Q. Most questions seen in advance - so PM can prepare response. - PMQs - seen as theoretical and used by opponent to score points against gov. - US - no equivalent of QT - scrutiny in form of publicity and media. - Relates to Congress in that important Congress hearings can receive lots of publicity. This can lead to intense media scrutiny of government over certain issues - network "C-Span" dedicated to reporting on political matters. Eg, Fox News has been critical of President over healthcare and immigration reform. Debates- One way UK govt held to account. Means MP debate important issues in HOC. Member of public can now trigger debates in Commons by signing online government petitions. At end of parl day, MPs can debate issues on request. - Eg, gives MPs the opportunity to discuss government policy, propose new laws and raise issues in interests of constituents.- However - debates limited. Means although aimed to help scrutinise, they are often poorly attended. Gov controls parl time - meaning restrictions about how long MPs can debate issues. - Eg - since 1999 Westminster Hall debates have taken place in room away from Commons Chamber to allow MPs more time to debate important issues. - US - public officials freer to voice their opinions on public issues/debates. - US - scrutiny can come from within. US Cab ministers responsible for own department and can be much more frank than in UK. For example, Obama administration stalled with differences relating to Israel and many criticisms of US treatment of veterans. Origin and Passage of Legislation in two political systems Context: US and UK. Sim - origin, committee stage, passing a bill. Diff - intro of bill, royal assent. Origin- UK - different types of bills. Private members can introduce bills (by any MP/Lord), eg Julie Morgan PMB on age restrictions on sunbeds. - But - most bills come from government (manifesto) and have greater support eg raise in tuition fees - gov support even though Lib Dem manifesto against it. Only bills regarding finance may by-pass House of Lords. - US - also diff types of bills. Can be introduced by any congressman or senator. Party loyalties in Congress mean it is not necessarily the majority party that attempts to introduce legislation. - Some bills originate from President rather than government, eg Obamacare. In contrast to UK bills, senate gets say on finance bills, but most originate in HoR. Eg, 2010 FSA bill blocked on a technicality after it originated in Senate. Introduction of a Bill- UK - 1st reading - introduced to all MPs. Name of bill read out - PM or Minister of Gov responsible for bill - no debate at this stage. - 2nd reading - all MPs get chance to debate the bill and vote on it; bill can die at this stage. - US - Bill is given number and goes straight to committee stage, eg, sent to select group of Congressmen to review bill - whole house does not get a say at this stage. Bill can have co-sponsors (other Reps agreeing with it, but no debate.) Therefore, Bill can be killed before Reps see it. Royal Assent - UK - bill becomes law after Royal Assent Convention states Queen must sign the bill. All bills must receive signature, even bills from SP. Last time monarch refused to sign was in 18th century. - US - bill sent to White House - president by contrast to UK monarch has choice, Pres does not need to sign bill. 3 options for President - sign bill, veto, pocket veto. But Congress can overturn with 2/3 majority in both houses. Committee Stage UK - select committees - examine and structure specific aspect of work of government. MPs elected and places allocated by size of party, Have power to call experts and ministers to explain actions or give evidence. - Eg, culture, media and sport com has had high profile - phone hacking scandal - Rupert Murdoch brought in for questioning. - US p Congress Select Committees. Wide range of powers to call witnesses and see papers. Signif powers to compel witnesses to attend hearings and focus on particular areas - eg defence spending. Stephen Colbert - gave advice re immigration due to highlighting issue on TV show. Executive - limit on its powersContext: UK PM - viewed to have much less limits on power than US Pres. However, can still be argued US Pres is still more powerful due to status on world stage. Voting - As David Cameron is MP, this allows him to vote on any new legislation and influence his majority government in same way - so legislation is passed. This means UK executive can pass legislation without approval of any other House, eg David Cameron - influential in gay marriage law being passed due to ability to vote on it. - But - Cameron's previous term - asked for approval of HOC to send troops to Syria, but MPs rejected this idea and meant troops could not be sent as he did not have parliament's approval. - However, US pres not member of any house in pol sys, so does not have a vote in passing legislation of healthcare, he could not vote to approve this but only convince others to pass it for him. Therefore, Pres needs 2/3 of Senate approval for legislation to pass through house, whereas PM only needs maj vote from Gov. So exec in UK less limited than US. Committees influence of power- UK exec arguably less limited by coms than US exec when passing legislation. This is because UK coms can only scrutinised decisions made by gov, eg bedroom tax, but do not have ability to overturn legislation. - Whereas, coms in US have ability to both scrutinise and block new legislation by voting it down, therefore making UK exec more limited than US. Influence of Supreme Court plays role though, must pass any new legislation before it is allowed, unlike UK supreme court, only deals with secondary legislation. - This case when amending constitution. Pres Obama - needs 2/3 of Senate's approval and Supreme Court approval to modify written constitution. - Eg, Obama not allowed to intervene in new gun laws as it violated written constitution for Us civilians to bear arms. - Us therefore more limited than UK when exercising powers. Power of Veto- US Pres - ability to veto any leg he disagrees on. Although this can be overturned by a 2/3 senate vote, Pres an use limited pocket veto, blocks any leg he strongly disagrees with. - Beneficial to "lame duck" precident eg George Bush - used his to block legislation on stem cell research - went against Christian values. - UK executive does not have power of veto - but can still vote on legislation. Therefore, US Pres has some adv of power, does not make less limited than UK.

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Higher Politics - Essay Notes

Political Parties and Elections

Methods of CampaigningTraditional Methods of CampaigningContext: Traditional methods in use - canvassing, posters, PPBs etc. Parties need to make use of traditional methods as well as modern. Canvassing- Traditional method used during campaigns. Enables voters to get messages across to voters on doorstep - seen as more effective than other methods like leafleting. - These methods often employed during by-election campaigns when parties will often bus in large numbers of volunteers outwith local area. - Not only opportunity to persuade uncommitted voters, but enable parties to identify with likely supporters who can then be further targeted or offered assistance to polling on election day. Proven effective. - Lib Dems - successful in using grassroots campaigns; focus on needs and important issues in local areas. Been credited by some for good performance of Lib Dems in a number of by-elections in seats where they currently have a sitting MP. Studies have shown this is eff method in increasing support. PPBS - Provided by political parties; put view across or criticise other parties. - Allows pol parties to portray message to public, message not altered or interpreted by journalists etc. - Eg, 2010 - main parties spent £1.5 million on PPB. However while pol parties spend millions on these broadcasts they believe are important, 74% of those polled by Ipsos-Mori said they'd rather pay household bills than watch one. - Generally good use of campaigning in reaching wide range of people and presenting party in certain way, but impact of engaging voters is limited. Posters - Traditional been negative (used to criticise others than state what is positive about party behind poster). - Success is dependant on how message is received - controversial ones will be featured on news. - Eg, Tory poster of Alex Salmond with Ed Miliband in Nicola Sturgeon's pocket; received a lot of press coverage due to shock of implied message. - But, can backfire - Labour releasing poster of David Cameron on Quattro with message saying not to let him return Britain to 1980s. Labour missed point and portrayed David Cameron as popular. Tories seized on mistake and released own popular version of poster. - Overall - designed to make impact - but rise of social media means posters can be modified or altered so creates bigger impact - new media enhancement. Modern Technology Context: Modern technology, including use of social media, voter targeting software and websites, has become more prevalent during election campaigns. - SNP's use of such technology can be examined to determine whether it has been effective during election campaigns. Voter Targeting Software - During 2011 Scot Parl election, SNP used new software to be at forefront of developments and keep ahead of competitors, so as to engaged with voters in run up to election. - Linked software named Activate to smartphone app. Meant SNP could target certain factions of voters, who then could be targeted by campaigners, meaning the party could save time by directing resources where they could improve SNP performance. - Provided record of 3.9 million voters - showed which people had voted previously, and how they fitted into 44 consumer types identified by postcode, family type, income and age. The fact the database and app steered the activists in terms of who they should approach meant SNP campaign could focus on certain demographics, allowed them to canvass more members of public in week compared to conventional polls. - Use therefore beneficial - could use app to target new voters. Social Media - Party activists and candidates - had large online presence via Facebook and Twitter during 2011 parl election. Use of soc media arg gave SNP chance to target younger voters, where other parties such as Labour failed to. - Arguably effect - SNP staff communicated with Twitter users and able to persuade them to vote for party with links to SNP material and reasons to vote for them. Eg, Paul Wheelhouse's use of Facebook during 2011 and 16 election. - However - 2015 GE - social media dangerous? Mhairi Black - old posts from Twitter account used against her by media and other parties due to perceived offensive nature. Did show her in bad light, but did not affect campaign as it allowed her to reach out to young about mistakes etc. Website- Following Obama's success of internet campaigning, SNP used nationbuilder to create new and enhanced website which was deemed attractive to voters. Prior to creation of new website, SNP trailed Labour by 15 points in 2011 but eventually won majority government. Arguably because few people read manifestos and as website contained mini manifestos, this increased number of voters engaged with SNP - so were much more likely to vote for them. Impact of ideas on party's electoral performance Context: Labour Party's dominant ideology, New Labour, can be examined. NL, arguably changed political landscape of UK, as Labour in its original format has failed to topple Thatcher and Major previously - needed something new to beat Tories. 3rd way created - Labour changed stance on many policies, such as welfare and remaining clause IV, to move to middle ground to appeal move to MC. Removal of Clause IV - Key principle put forward by Tony Blair. Clause IV refers to what is seen as party's commitment to socialism, as it advocated nation of common ownership. - However, Tony Blair wished for New Labour to move away from public ownership and nationalised industries, in order to move towards acceptance of free markets and competition. - Special Labour conference held - Blair was successful in scrapping clause and replaced it with his new ideas. Attempt to attract MC and NWC voters that party needed to attract, as support in past had dropped due to association with high public spending and inefficient nationalised industries. - New section of society came about for Labour to win votes from - increase in home ownership, decrease in trade union membership. - As a result, Labour gained increase in support in opinion polls. Surpassed Tories in public rating on economic performance - played role in landslide victory in 1997. Labour beat Tories in C1 (MC), and C2 (NWC). Education - Another key change under New Labour. Education was put at heart of NL's manifesto and had the aim of creating state schools to match those of private sector, so children could attain their best.- Aim to increase number of kids going to uni: 50% of young people going after leaving school was the vision. - Policies were seen as an attempt to appeal to MC mothers who could not afford private education, but wanted them to have best opportunity to succeed. - This was a group which Labour targeted and women's votes were so crucial to electoral success - MC and well-educated women with kids under 11 viewed as more likely to vote Labour than similar man after this policy change. Crime- Tony Blair - recognised issue with Labour's response to crime being viewed as too soft, so sought change to win more votes. NL implemented policies to show party was now tough on crime; such as the introduction of ABSOs in response to anti-social behaviour; more severe sentences; and the building of new prisons. - This appealed to all sections of society and meant Labour could now be viewed as party that could tackle those not obeying law head on. - Electoral performance cannot be judged on social class, but clear issue voting played a role in New Labour's 1997 and beyond election wins due to move away from left-wing approaches to crime. Sociological Model of Voting Behaviour Context: Voting behaviour spiel here....... Sociological model - prevalent - links voting behaviour to group membership, suggests electors tend to vote based on economic and social position of group to which they belong. Such as social class, gender, age and location. Social Class - Social class - measure of person's position within society, eg takes account of individual's wealth. - Peter Pulzer - "Class is the basis of British politics, all else is embellishment and detail." - Can be argued over years there has been consistent pattern of class-based voting. North and South of borders - voters in social class D/E more likely to vote Labour, eg 2015 41% DE voted, 45% of A/B voters voted Tory. - Sociological model therefore argued to play significant role in voting behaviour as Tory policies of low tax and low welfare support may appeal to wealthier group less reliant on state, whereas Labour's redistributive policies could be more favourable for D/E groups. - However, changing attitudes in society means voters less likely to vote according to class like in past, so model is debatable. Gender- Traditionally does not tend to be large gap in support between men and women. However, women have been argued as key demographic as in some constituencies it is claimed securing female vote is key to winning. - Influence of gender seen in party's attempts to target women, eg Labour in 1997 stood female only candidates in some constituencies. - When examining results of 2015 GE - clear there was little diff in voting between men and women, Labour vote saw 30% of men voting and 33% of females - meaning a small difference. - But - social class plays more of a role? AB women = majority Tory, DE women = majority Labour. Age- As people grow older, more likely to gain promotion and be at top of their earnings, so more likely to favour traditional Conservative policies, eg lower taxes. - Viable - 2015 GE - 47% of voters aged 65+ voted Tory, compared to 23% for Labour. Younger voters may be more concerned with issues like educational support/youth unemployment - issues SNP/Labour keen to tackle. - Turnout - another element of age - 2015 GE - only 45% of voters between 18-24 voted, which was lowest of any age category. - On other hand, turnout highest amongst over 65s with 78% turnout, arg remains major obstacle with only 66% of voters turning out in last election. Location - Results from UK election - shows further North and West that voters live, less likely they are to vote Tory; pattern increases as an area becomes urban. - 2015 election - highlighted geo differences in voting behaviour - SNP dominating Scotland, but expense of Labour and not Tories. Important - results show Tories dominated South of England - but Labour more popular in North. Sociological theory in action here. - Main reasons to explain divide - employment, income, wealth, rise of nationalism - this in turn relates to social class; due to people in S tending to be better off as employment rates and income higher than average - more likely to vote Tory. Contrast to North. Rational Choice Model - Voting behaviour definition etc etc. Rational Choice Model refers to way in which voters vote according to their views on current issues and policies, which means support can change from election to election. Main ones being leadership, policies and campaigns. Issue Voting- Describes way in which voters act according to party policies. Voters support party which they believe will handle economic climate the best. Also, a large majority of electorate review party's main policies in each manifesto when deciding who to vote for, eg in 2010 39% of voters believed Tories had best economic policy, compared to 23% for Labour. - Proves many voters believe policies are most important factor to consider when voting, reinforced by fact Tories won most seats in 2010 and 2015 election through economic message to voters. Leadership - Over recent years, leadership has grown in importance, with 2010 leader debates emphasising this. This is because an increasing number of voters judge political parties by leaders and personalise the election by scrutinising their ability to lead the country. - Eg - 29% thought David Cameron would be a capable PM, whereas Gordon Brown had only 12% saying the same. As well as this, leadership and policies tied in importance to the public in a poll carried out, when previously there was a 10% gap - this proves leadership is an increasingly more important issue - it has personalised campaign system. Campaigns- Deemed to have influence over voting behaviour. Way in which political parties conduct themselves throughout campaign can impact their popularity both pos and neg. - Voters tend to support party they related to and believe can help public more. - Leadership debates 2010 - broadcast of these enabled public to weigh up pros and cons of each party and form support from electorate. - Door to door campaigning - eff in gaining support as voters can engage in discussion and ask questions. Therefore, clear in this sense that campaign strategies have an importance as clearly useful in drawing in more support and persuading voters who haven't made up mind on who to vote for.

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