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Category: Party Politics

Entirely as expected? What the voting data tells us about Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election

Written by Peter Dorey and Andrew Denham.

In Labour’s 2015 leadership contest, a major question had been how a rank outsider and perceived political maverick, like Jeremy Corbyn, could possibly be elected leader of a Party in which he enjoyed very little support among its MPs, and in which he had never held even the most junior Ministerial office. In the 2016 leadership contest, the main question was no longer whether or how Corbyn could win, but by what margin.

Tony Blair, Corbynism and the ‘sociological imagination’

Written by Glen O’Hara.

Since we’ve all recently been challenged to take our sociological imaginations on a journey around Corbynism, and because it’s always important to analyse what’s going on rather than just shout about what we might think of it or believe about it ourselves, the new blogging season kicks off this week with a (we hope) honest look at the belief structures behind Jeremy Corbyn supporters’ support for ‘their’ man. Since he seems almost certain to be re-elected leader of the Labour Party later in the month, this seems all the more important. Mr Corbyn, someone like him, or someone who shares most of his views and outlook, seems likely to lead Labour for a long time to come. So what do Corbynites believe, and why?

Keeping it real? Corbyn, Trump, Sanders and the politics of authenticity

Written by Mathew Humphrey and Maiken Umbach. 

His words have not been scripted or prepared for the press; he speaks from the heart.

It’s now clear to every voter that [he] is nothing but himself.

No Bullshit. Unvarnished opinion and beliefs.

One of these statements recently was made about Donald Trump, the man causing upset in the race to become the Republican presidential candidate. Another was made in reference to Bernie Sanders, the candidate causing similar upset among the Democrats. Another referred to Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labour party. But which statement refers to which politician? It is, of course, impossible to tell.

Despite the radically different stances of these candidates on all kinds of issues, the statements about them are entirely interchangeable. They all refer to a single quality, taken by many to be a great asset in political life. All of these candidates are considered “authentic”.

2015 Portuguese Legislative Elections: between Stability and Disaffection

Written by Luís de Sousa and Fernando Casal Bértoa.

On the morning of the 5th of October 2015, the 115th birthday of the implantation of the Portuguese Republic (5th October 1910), one of the bank holidays that have been eliminated by the centre-right government during the troikian period, the Portuguese woke-up with an expected autumn rainy day and a taste of sweet and sour in their mouth. Portugal re-elected the centre-right Portugal Ahead coalition formed by the ruling Social Democrats (PSD) and Christian-Democrats (CDS/PP) responsible for negotiating and implementing the bailout. The question in everybody’s mind is why Portuguese voters have not sanctioned at the ballot box the executors of the austerity measures responsible for their hardship in the last four years? Moreover, why in clear contrast to other countries (e.g. Italy, Greece, Spain) where austerity policies have favoured the formation and electoral success of totally new parties (e.g. Five-Stars Movement, ANEL, Podemos), no new party (e.g. Democratic Republican Party, Free/Time to move Forward) managed to enter parliament?

Tim Farron wins Liberal Democrat leadership contest

By Andrew Denham and Matthew Francis

How do you rebuild a political party after an electoral calamity? That was the question facing the Liberal Democrats when deciding who should replace Nick Clegg as their leader.

Now the party has chosen Tim Farron to replace Clegg – a decision that could help bring back a spirit of optimism in a party battered by five years of government with the Conservatives.

After being reduced from 57 MPs in 2010 to just eight in 2015 – numbers reminiscent of the Liberal Party of the 1950s – the Lib Dems now face a difficult path back to political significance, let alone power.

Why the established parties are in trouble on immigration

By Matthew Goodwin

Which political party do voters back on immigration?

It is a question that has been asked during many election campaigns in the past and one that has influenced the strategies of the main parties. Ever since the 1960s, the most popular answer given by voters was the Conservative Party.

Historically, the centre right has held a strong advantage on this issue, being seen as the party that is most likely to deliver on what consistently around seven in ten voters want to see; a reduction in the level of immigration into the country. Despite concerns among some Tory ‘modernisers’ about possible reputational damage, the simple reality is that the Conservative Party has traditionally remained closest to public opinion on this issue and has been rewarded accordingly.

An election that UKIP should have won?

By Matthew Goodwin 

The Labour Party has won the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election. Ukip finished in second place. The victory was sealed when Labour won Rotherham by 800 votes, avoiding a second round of voting by 0.02%.

It will be a relief for Labour, especially given other news about the party’s support in Scotland and against the backdrop of the Heywood and Middleton parliamentary by-election, where Ukip pushed the party to within a few hundred votes of defeat. And it is a bad result for Ukip. The insurgent party has once again emerged as the second force in Labour territory and seen a sharp rise in its support. But there are four reasons why Ukip should have won this election.

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.

Social media: a political tool or apathy’s partner in crime?

With the disappointing turnout for the recent European elections, is social media the way to encourage increased political engagement ahead of the 2015 general election? Is it being used this way at the moment? If so, by whom and in what ways?

Social media is unique in that it offers a wealth of information that is constantly updated and appeals predominantly to those in the 18 – 24 age bracket who are so often criticised for their low voter turnout. After conducting some research into this area it was clear that much previous analysis on political socialisation has been on older people. Our research, therefore, focused on the political behaviour of the elusive 18 – 24 age group, whether they are using social media and, if so, whether it is for political purposes.

Social media can increase youth’s political interest


The rapid growth of social media in recent years means people are exposed to an abundance of information every day, but there is little research on the effects such exposure has on political interest and engagement. The two most popular social media outlets, Facebook and Twitter, provide vast amounts of political information, from news on politics to political campaigns, and young people, as heavy social media users, are the most exposed to this information.