Local context, retrospective economic evaluations, and voting

The 1997 general election in England and Wales

Ron Johnston*, Charles Pattie, Daniel Darling, Lain MacAllister, Helena Tunstall, David Rossiter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Local context is widely believed to influence voting behavior with, for example, the voters' evaluation of the state of their local economy affecting whether they choose to reward or punish the incumbent government. Such reward-punish models apply in the United Kingdom at the national scale: those who believe that the government has delivered prosperity vote for its return, whereas those who believe that its policies have produced a worsening economic situation vote against it. This article shows that the operation of this calculus varies spatially, according to the level of unemployment in the voter's home area: the higher the local level of unemployment the lower the probability of someone who thought that government polices had delivered national prosperity voting for the incumbent government. It also shows that this is a consequence of cross-pressured situations. Those who thought that the government's policies had delivered both national and local prosperity were very likely to vote for it; those who thought that the policies had delivered national but not local prosperity were less likely to vote for it - especially in areas of high unemployment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-143
Number of pages23
JournalPolitical Behavior
Volume22
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000

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    Johnston, R., Pattie, C., Darling, D., MacAllister, L., Tunstall, H., & Rossiter, D. (2000). Local context, retrospective economic evaluations, and voting: The 1997 general election in England and Wales. Political Behavior, 22(2), 121-143.