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Elections & Voting Explained

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What time factors decide UK general election results?

Voters cover a spectrum from the committed supporter who has only ever voted for one party and will never change to the person who decides when they have entered the polling booth on election day.

The three timescales of decision making

There are three timescales:-

  • Long term factors that influence voters over a decade or more including the social background of voters and the basic image and ideology of a party.
  • Shorter term factors that develop between general elections. These include perceptions of party leaders, new problems that arise and issues that become more relevant.  Both the national and constituency levels are important and so the popularity of the sitting MP or rival candidates, especially if they are well known locally, and the strength of party organisation in the constituency matter.
  • The final Campaign when media attention is on the election and the work of parties nationally and locally is most intense. Events that take place, media coverage, what the parties manage to communicate to the voters and the leader debates are all important.