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Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box: A wonderful book of political well-I-nevers is launched today

By Philip Cowley and Rob Ford

Today sees the launch of a Specialist Group project that’s been over a year in the making. The plan, hatched by the Elections, Public Opinion and Parties specialist group, was to get elections and electoral behaviour researchers to each write a short, punchy essay on their area of expertise. The result is Sex, Lies, and the Ballot Box, which we have edited, which is launched tonight and published tomorrow.

It is not – absolutely, categorically not – an introductory textbook. There are plenty of such books on the market; indeed, several of our contributors have written such books. It isn’t a compendium or an atlas, but a series of thumbnail sketches, each introducing an aspect of elections and electoral behaviour.

We don’t claim to cover every topic, but the fifty chapters take in: polling, political geography, gender, sex, race, grassroots campaigning, money, Scotland, candidates, electoral bias, tactical voting, the old media, the new media, leaders, the economy, Wales, tactical voting, young people, prejudice, money, knowledge and rationality, emotions, social pressure, Northern Ireland, attractiveness, party members, candidates, group norms, exit polls, and class. Plus cats. Just in case that’s not enough, there’s a bonus fifty-first chapter giving even more sex.

It is what the Independent has described as a ‘wonderful book of political well-I-nevers’, written in a bid to disseminate electoral studies research beyond the ivory towers. With the closest election in a generation rapidly approaching, we felt it was a good point to bring more academic voices into the conversation, if only to balance out the influence of Russell Brand. So far it’s working.

Galine Borisyuk’s chapter on why, if you’re running for election, it’s better to be called Brown than Yates (but why both are better than Borisyuk) has been covered in the Independent.

Bernadeta Wilk’s chapter – on how supporters of different parties have different sexual preferences – has featured in the Mirror.

Chris Hanretty’s chapter on the most left-wing and right-wing constituencies in the UK has been reported by the Times

Alan Renwick’s chapter on the patterns of support in referenda – which was released to the media during the Scottish referendum campaign – was covered by both Bloomberg (who made it their chart of the day) and by the Telegraph.

And Ailsa Henderson’s chapter on how Scots are no more left-wing than the rest of the UK (although they think they are) – which was also released to the media during the referendum – was reported by the Spectator, the Guardian, and the Sunday Times.

That’s five chapters covered. There’s 46 more…

Philip Cowley is Professor of Parliamentary Government at the University of Nottingham. Rob Ford is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester.

Published inBritish PoliticsConservativesLabourLiberal DemocratsParliamentary AffairsParty PoliticsPolitics

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