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The multilevel voter: Identity, territory and electoral behaviour

Larner, Jac M. ORCID: 2019. The multilevel voter: Identity, territory and electoral behaviour. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis is concerned with sub-state politics and the influence it has on political behaviour and attitudes. Parting company with much of the existing literature that examines elections in multilevel systems, I argue that it is incorrect to assume that factors at the statewide level determine electoral behaviour and attitudes at the sub-state level. Rather, elections at the statewide and sub-state level should be seen as interdependent. Chapter 1 serves as an introduction to the thesis and sets up the analytic framework upon which my research is based. I also give a broad discussion of my method and explain why I choose Scotland and Wales as cases in my argument. In Chapter 2, I outline and describe my primary data sources – the devolved election studies – by detailing their origins and design. Chapter 3 examines what voters know about sub-state politics. I examine data from 10 election studies in total and introduce a unique new dataset of press coverage of the NHS to examine policy attribution. I find that considerable proportions of citizens have little knowledge of sub-state political issues. Chapter 4 focuses on the role that national identities play in vote choice at sub-state and statewide elections. I also introduce the concept of party blocs in Scotland and Wales. Results indicate that national identity is a substantial predictor of bloc vote choice. In Chapter 5 I examine how sub-state identities influence how voters cast their ballots at elections to different levels of government. My results indicate that vote switching is more prevalent among those who identify with a sub-state identity (instead of a statewide identity). Chapter 6 tests whether split-ticket voting at devolved elections is driven by strategic motivations. While voters appear to understand when it is in their interests to cast a strategic vote in their constituency, there is no evidence suggesting they do in the list vote. In the final chapter, I conclude by highlighting the findings of this thesis and remarking on the importance of this work for future analyses of elections in multilevel systems.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Law
Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Elections; Devolution; Political Behaviour; Voting; National Identity; Knowledge; Multilevel Voting; Wales; Scotland
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 July 2020
Date of Acceptance: 28 July 2020
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2024 02:25

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