The Choice at Elections

  • Richard Rose


Since parties are meant to represent the electorate, the views of voters should be fundamental in determining whether parties follow an Adversary or a Consensus path. Insofar as those who vote for different parties hold different opinions about issues, then the parties should be Adversaries, offering the electorate a choice of policies. Insofar as those voting for different parties hold the same views on issues, then the parties should express a Consensus, advocating common policies reflecting the electorate’s broad agreement.


Class Difference Election Campaign Party Leader Consensus Model Labour Party 
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  1. 1.
    See Richard Rose, “Britain: Simple Abstractions and Complex Realities,” in Electoral Behavior: A Comparative Handbook, ed. R. Rose (New York: Free Press, 1974).Google Scholar
  2. Very similar statistical evidence is presented in David Butler and Donald Stokes, Political Change in Britain (2nd ed.; London: Macmillan, 1974), but their interpretation differs, as they tend to regard any deviation from an absolutely random pattern of voting as evidence of class divisions.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The results of AID analysis of elections from 1959 through 1970 can be found in Richard Rose, The Problem of Party Government (London: Macmillan, 1974), pp. 494–97.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Cf. Ivor Crewe, Tony Fox and Jim Alt, “Non-Voting in British General Elections, 1966-October 1974; in British Political Sociology Yearbook, ed. Colin Crouch (London: Croom Helm, 1977), vol. 3.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    For a review of the variety of motives in Conservative voting, see Dennis A. Kavanagh, “The Deferential English: A Comparative Critique; in Government and Opposition 6, no. 3 (1971).Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    For results of similar analyses coming to similar conclusions earlier in the 1970S, see Rose, The Problem of Party Government, p. 308; Richard Rose, Politics in England (3rd ed.; London: Faber & Faber, 1980)Google Scholar
  7. Richard Rose, “Resistance to Moral Change; New Society, 12 April 1979.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    See David Robertson, A Theory of Party Competition (London: Wiley, 1976), p. 80. This factor accounts for 26.8 percent of the total variance.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    See Monica Charlot, La Démocratie l’Anglaise (Paris: Armand Colin, 1972), chap. 6.Google Scholar
  10. The classification scheme is that originally developed by Kenneth Janda for the systematic international comparison of political parties. For additional confirmation, see John Clayton Thomas, “The Changing Nature of Partisan Divisions in the West,” European Journal of Political Research 7, no. 4 (1979): 397–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 16.
    See David Robertson, “The Content of Election Addresses and Leaders’ Speeches; in The British General Election of 1970, ed. D.E. Butler and Michael Pinto-Duschinsky (London: Macmillan, 1971), p. 441f.Google Scholar
  12. 17.
    See D.E. Butler and Dennis Kavanagh, The British General Election of 1979 (London: Macmillan, 1980), chap. 15.Google Scholar
  13. 18.
    Shelley Pinto-Duschinsky, “A Matter of Words,” New Society, 7 March 1974.Google Scholar
  14. 19.
    Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, “False Calm: Party Strategies in October, 1974,” in Britain at the Polls: The Parliamentary Elections of 1974, ed. Howard Penniman (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1975), p. 203.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Richard Rose 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Rose
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for the Study of Public PolicyUniversity of StrathclydeUK

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