Evaluate the extent to which social factors determine voter behaviour (30 marks)
Social factors includes a range of personal factors that could influence the way people vote, such as class, age, gender, ethnicity and region. In the UK today, many people believe that traditional factors, such as Social Class and Age dominate when looking at the influences on voting behaviour. However, others believe that 21st century factors, such as the media, leadership and issues, have a greater impact on the electorate. The following essay will examine a variety of factors which influence the way in which people vote, in an attempt to determine whether some factors are more important than others.
Ethnicity is seen as a factor in voting behaviour. This is largely because ethnic minorities account for only 5% of votes. However, even among the Blacks and Asians in the U.K's, there is an emerging pattern. The 1997 election demonstrated that 70% of Asians and 86% of Blacks voted for Labour compared to the 25% of Asians and 85% of Blacks who voted for the Conservatives. A reason behind this could be that a large number of ethnic minorities are in low paid jobs which back the reasons to why their needs would suit Labour's political policies. With regard to age differences in voting, Labour has done particularly well among voters the age of 30, 28 percent lead over the Conservatives in 1945 and 16 percent lead in 1974. Whereas, Conservatives has done well among the middle age (50-65) leading 18 percent in 1950 and 23 percent in 1974. It has been traditionally argued that women were more likely than men to vote Conservative and less likely than men to vote Labour. Similarly, a majority of Hindu and Sikhs who typically vote Labour have begun to support the Conservative party. Recently, some ethnic minorities have become Conservative voters because their socio-economic status has increased, especially the Hindu and Sikh community who have become well established in the UK. As well as, black and Muslim communities have started to move into the middle class status. However, ethnicity is not considered to be a major factor in affecting ones voting behaviour because both large parties say they are “colour blind” and accept everyone from all ethnic groups. In conclusion, social factors such as ethnicity are very important in determining ones voter behaviour because it has an impact on peoples decisions. When talking about ethnicity it is important to bring about social class, this is because ethnic minority groups make up a lower social class and do tend to experience more unemployment than non-coloured people. The Labour Party do tend to integrate more ethnic minority and low social class individuals into these situations as they are very pro-welfare and pro-immigration. Which means as immigration rates tend to increase over the years ethnicity may become an increasingly important factor in voter behaviour as it continues to grow.
Another substantial factor which affects...