Talk as a political context

Conversation and electoral change in British elections, 1992-1997

Charles Pattie*, Ron Johnston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)


Voters' social networks are largely ignored as an aspect of their contextual milieux. Despite long-standing theoretical evocations of the conversation-conversion model in accounts of the neighbourhood effect, few analyses have considered the impact of actual conversations. The lacuna is addressed in this paper using panel survey data to look at vote and attitude change between the 1992 and 1997 British General Elections. Voters' contexts, as measured by their conversational milieux, were independent influences on both vote and attitude change over the period. Other things being equal, talking to a supporter of a particular party increased a respondent's chances of voting for that party (and decreased the chance of voting for its rivals), and of shifting his or her attitudes in the direction associated with the party. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-40
Number of pages24
JournalElectoral Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Contextual effects
  • Conversation
  • Neighbourhood effect
  • Political attitudes

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