Crosses on the Ballot

Crosses on the Ballot: Patterns of British Voter Alignment since 1885

Kenneth D. Wald
Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 280
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvs51
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Crosses on the Ballot
    Book Description:

    In an exploration of mass voter alignments in Great Britain, Kenneth D. Wald illuminates the electoral consequences of major social divisions and the relationship between social structure and partisanship. He establishes that the transition from religion to social class as the chief influence on British voting occurred after World War I, as most scholars have presumed, rather than before the War, as a number of recent revisionist discussions have claimed.

    Originally published in 1983.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5731-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Tables
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-4)
  5. CHAPTER 1 The Context of the Study
    (pp. 5-18)

    This study of the pattern of voter alignments in Britain since the late nineteenth century is directed to a pair of topics which have long commanded the attention of political sociologists. First, it explores the relationship between social structure and voting patterns in a mass electorate. The goal is both to specify the various social formations which achieved political relevance after 1885 and to identify the mechanisms which translated social divisions into lines of partisan cleavage. Beyond a static portrayal of mass political behavior, the study has a second aim—to enhance understanding of the dynamic properties of the British...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Class Politics without Class Parties?
    (pp. 19-52)

    Pulzer’s dictum—“Class is the basis of British party politics; all else is embellishment and detail”—expresses a consensus about the social basis of partisan conflict in post-1945 Britain.² Without exception, the pioneering postwar studies of British voting behavior found social class to be the principal line of political demarcation. Though it can easily be overdrawn, this portrait reflects a great deal of truth.³ Recent studies conducted with sophisticated ecological techniques have confirmed that the class composition of constituencies has been the single most powerful influence on the voters’ party choice since World War II.⁴ Measured at the individual level...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Crosses on the Ballot?
    (pp. 53-72)

    Among the variables that define electoral coalitions in advanced societies, the “religious factor” has demonstrated a surprising degree of persistence. Political sociologists sometimes convey the assumption that “there is an irreversible trend in modern political societies toward classbased voting and therefore toward an increasingly welldefined economic division between parties.² Despite predictions that it was bound to lose its political relevance in the face of the economic cleavages generated by industrialization, religion has demonstrated remarkable vitality as a source of partisan differences in many economically advanced societies. Intensive survey-based studies of electoral cleavage patterns demonstrate that religion often competes on equal...

  8. CHAPTER 4 The Methods of Analysis
    (pp. 73-94)

    To anyone familiar with modern techniques of electoral research and unfamiliar with British social and electoral data, it may seem incredible that scholars should resort to the circuitous methods of analysis described in preceding chapters. When the dispute over the electoral import of class and religion has an empirical basis, the obvious solution is a multivariate analysis of voting patterns. To solve similar disputes about voting behavior in other countries, scholars have used census data to determine the social composition of electoral districts and examined the spatial relationship between class and religious variables and the partisan distribution of the vote.¹...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Voting and Social Structure: Conceptual Problems
    (pp. 95-121)

    The historical debate over the social basis of British electoral coalitions has been conducted largely in isolation from contemporary research on mass political behavior. The scholarly discourse reviewed in Chapters 2 and 3 has emphasized features specific to Britain rather than made use of concepts derived from the study of other political systems. The absence of a conceptual orientation has kept from the debate important theoretical insights that might help resolve some of the issues; it has also meant that scholarly investigations of the British experience have not contributed much to knowledge about the general relationship between voting and social...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Voting and Social Structure: Empirical Analysis
    (pp. 122-161)

    The previous chapter described a series of conceptual approaches to the phenomena of class and religiously based voting. This chapter applies the approaches to British elections between 1885 and 1910. By confronting theory with data, we intend both to address historical questions about the development of partisan cleavages in Britain and to improve theoretical understanding of the relationship between voting and social structure.

    As indicated in Chapter 4, several sources of data can be mined in the effort to construct measures of the various social factors thought to affect voting. All the class measures and several indicators of religious commitment...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Religious Beliefs and Political Behavior
    (pp. 162-201)

    The statistical analysis in Chapter 6 revealed a political system stratified principally along religious lines. The power of religious variables to explain the division of the vote persisted even in the face of controls for social class and regionalism. This chapter attempts to examine the religious factor more thoroughly by presenting a qualitative portrait of the political culture embedded in the major British religious traditions. Like the rest of the monograph, the chapter employs quantitative analysis to sustain parts of the argument.

    Several reasons for the pervasive linkage between religion and partisanship were first discussed in Chapter 5. It was...

  12. CHAPTER 8 Transformation of the Party System
    (pp. 202-249)

    At some point early in the twentieth century, the British party system changed in two important ways. First, Labour replaced the Liberal party as the major party of the left. The Liberals, after three consecutive general election victories, split into competing wings during the First World War and were submerged in the first postwar election. Despite reunification and partial recovery in the 1920s, the party never again formed a government and has since participated only episodically in decision making. Labour became the second largest parliamentary party in 1918, when its popular vote exceeded the Liberal total, and was strong enough...

  13. CHAPTER 9 Conclusion
    (pp. 250-254)

    This study began with two goals—to describe and interpret the structure of voter alignments under the Third Reform Act and to account for the dramatic transformation of the party system after the First World War. The intent was to explain these developments in terms of general theories of political behavior rather than ad hoc historical circumstances and, in the process, to make some useful contribution to scholarly understanding of voting behavior.

    The immediate goals were accomplished through an intensive multivariate analysis of electoral outcomes from 1885 through 1910 and by comparing the findings from the analysis with similar studies...

  14. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 255-260)
  15. Index
    (pp. 261-263)
  16. Bcak Matter
    (pp. 264-264)