Research proposal for British Politics: Party Identification

The purpose of the study is to examine how electoral behavior is affected during elections based on one of the long term factors of voting: focusing on the voter’s party identification. In this case, it contributes to the study of turnout decline and relating it to the general decline in party loyalty recently. I would like to test how likely a voter or an individual tends to support a specific political party during electoral periods in addition to long term effects. I find this aspect of the study interesting as it gives an insight to how people in different environments are brought up to ‘support’ a certain party. According to Jones and Kavanagh, ‘strong supporters are likely to vote for the party in spite of misgivings about particular policies or leaders. But the proportion has fallen from over 40 percent in 1964 to 12 percent in 2001’ (2003 p.85) and this can reflect what the electoral activity is like currently to us. In the proposal, I shall be suggesting a

Theory

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Political identity in this research proposal focuses mostly on how results during elections are affected by that factor. In recent methods used for the studies of measuring party identification, they seem to lose the differentiation from those that are considered to be identifiers and non identifiers during surveys. The decline in turnout also raises the point in the decline in political identity thus shows correlation. In order for voters to catch up with events during election periods, Heath expresses that ‘non identifiers are more strongly influenced by political context than strong identifiers’ and so ‘it is possible that short term factors may have a stronger impact on those with weaker identity since their vote is less ingrained’ (2007) and so, articles that tend to measure party identification find challenges to understand to what extent voters are truly engaged with the politics.

Tilley however states that another aspect is the influence of political partisanship and identity in relation to age as ‘generational life-cycle’ (2003) which explains ones attachment to a party based on the era that person grew in. Supported by the statement from Johnston and Pattie, even ‘with a minority of a large sample of British adults, consistently identifies themselves with a main party’ (1996), and so on the other hand there are the ‘young voters that are currently [politically] unaligned’, according to dr. Bartle which would cause limits to research resulting in constant modification of research models.

Hypothesis:

The hypothesis will be: the more the individual with higher sense of party identification he/she has, the more they are likely to vote on election days. Yet, still support the same party after the election days are over. Data will hopefully be able to help us in understanding and perceiving the steadiness of a political support among voters along with information on how long they tend to keep up with the support.

Methodology:

As for a methodology, I believe in order to get clear reliable statistical results, the most suitable and appropriate way to measure one’s party identification is during the period of national elections through surveys that could be done with the cooperation of the BES. Surveys will be done through asking brief questions in three different phases- one that is three months before the elections to see if there was a specific preference; two, during the elections to also grasp the idea of non-identifiers, three, after three months of the election results to study any changes in opinions.

Asking participants will have to be through email, telephone and/or by person. Anyone who is registered to vote would be contacted in order to get the maximum number of participation and a reliable valid result for the data that will be collected. The approaching method would be in an appealing way explaining the importance of their participation and cooperation; such means would be asking for five minutes of their time as the faster and short the survey is, the more people will easily give up their time and participate. In order to begin the survey, the participant will have to submit a voting registration number so that we get a unique participation and that there will be no unwanted results. Once the participant is done, as a proof of their cooperation, we would ask them to leave their phone or mobile number as a proof.

For the questions, there have been specific articles about them and the question’s wording that were asked in previous elections, however, I believe that they should be asked in a more straight forward technique so that it will not confuse the participant and gives us a straight forward answer. Questions that were previously used were good, yet in one of the document, it suggested that the Essex questions* (Bartle) were much useful than present ones in getting better results as it was direct.