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Explaining the 'quiet earthquake': voting behaviour in the first election to the National Assembly for Wales

Trystan, Dafydd, Scully, Roger ORCID: and Wyn Jones, Richard ORCID: 2003. Explaining the 'quiet earthquake': voting behaviour in the first election to the National Assembly for Wales. Electoral Studies 22 (4) , pp. 635-650. 10.1016/S0261-3794(02)00028-8

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This paper examines voting behaviour in the inaugural election to the National Assembly for Wales (NAW), held in May 1999. We address two questions: (i) why did the election produce a ‘quiet earthquake’ in Welsh electoral politics, with the nationalist Plaid Cymru denying the Labour party their expected majority in the Assembly?; and (ii) what broader lessons does this case-study offer for the study of elections in the UK under devolution? Drawing on data from the Welsh National Assembly Election Study, we find that while some features of second-order election theories, such as lower turnout and a lower vote share for the governing party were manifest, contrary to the predictions of such theories the surge in electoral support for Plaid was largely prompted by Welsh-specific factors rather than UK-wide ones. The findings are argued to indicate limits to the applicability of second-order approaches to the study of devolved elections in the UK.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Uncontrolled Keywords: National Assembly for Wales; Devolution; Second order voting; Voting behaviour; Multi-level voting
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0261-3794
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 11:40

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