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Political Choice in Britain$
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Harold D. Clarke, David Sanders, Marianne C. Stewart, and Paul Whiteley

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199244881

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2004

DOI: 10.1093/019924488X.001.0001

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Valence Politics

Valence Politics

(p.315) TEN Valence Politics
Political Choice in Britain

Harold D. Clarke (Contributor Webpage)

David Sanders (Contributor Webpage)

Marianne C. Stewart (Contributor Webpage)

Paul Whiteley (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Restates the argument that British electoral politics over the past 40 years can be best understood using a valence politics model. The three major predictors of electoral choice–leadership images, partisanship, and evaluations of economic performance–are key elements of the valence model. Analyses of turnout demonstrate the explanatory power of cost-benefit calculations that are augmented by assessments of overall benefits to the political system in general–which are elements of the general incentives model. Beyond electoral participation, satisfaction with the democratic process itself depends primarily on assessments of institutional and policy performance–that is, on valence judgements. The individual rationality framework and, in particular, its valence politics model, provide powerful analytic leverage for explaining political choice in Britain.

Keywords:   economic evaluations, leader images, partisanship, party choice, turnout, valence politics

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