There has been considerable debate regarding the reasons for the observed spatial variation in voting patterns at British general elections since the 1970s. Three separate models can be identified: no regional cleavage; regional economic cleavage; and autonomous regional cleavage. Analysis of data which indicated people's perceptions of their household and regional economic situations over the decade preceding the 1992 general election, together with their personal characteristics and attitudes, allows the first model to be rejected: there are clear regional differences in voting behaviour which cannot be accounted for by personal characteristics alone. Each of the other models is valid: there are clear spatial differences not only in interpretations of personal and regional prosperity, and its causes, but also in electoral responses to that; and there are significant residual regional variations when those are held constant. Approaches to the study of voting in Britain which present spatial variations as merely representations of other causes are thus rejected.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Space and Polity|
|Publication status||Published - May 1997|