Politics: Unit 1 ( elections, voting behaviour and referendums)

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What is AV?
Alternative Vote
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In what year did the UK hold a referendum on the possible use of AV?
2011
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In which country is AV notably used?
Australia
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How does the AV system work?
Still have constituencies, MP who wins must have more than 50% of the vote, voters rank candidates in number order rather than a cross, if nobody gets 50% second votes are counted repeated until a winner is found.
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What are the advantages of the AV system?
Must have a majority of support to win, no wasted votes as alternative choices are used, more choice, local representation, single party/ strong government.
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What are the disadvantages of the AV system?
Leads to compromise, Takes longer to count, tactical voting easily used, 2nd or 3rd most popular party can win, majoritarian system.
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Give examples of when FPTP has produced a disproportionate result.
UKIP 2015- 3rd highest votes but 1 seat, SNP 56 seats but 4.7% of vote
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What is AMS?
Additional Member System
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How does AMS work?
Hybrid System, 2 votes: 1 constituency vote (MP) and 1 regional vote (party)
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Where is AMS notably used?
Scottish Parliament elections, Post WW2 Germany
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What are the advantages of AMS?
Produces a representative government, fairer to small parties, retains local ties, coalitions more likely, less gerrymandering possible, good for minority groups
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What are the disadvantages of AMS?
Not as proportional as PR systems, Big parties dominate FPTP, bigger constituencies, 2 votes- more complex, list is not personal, increased chance of coalitions
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What is STV?
Single Transferable Vote
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How does STV work?
Voters list candidates in each constituency, and can choose more than one from each party. To get elected, a candidate needs to obtain a quota determined by a formula
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What is the formula for STV?
Number of valid votes cast, divided by number of seats to be filled +1, and then add 1
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Where is STV notably used?
Northern Irish elections, due to fairness for smaller parties
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What are the advantages of STV?
Fair representation, fairer to smaller parties and minorities, allows the voter to choose between multiple candidates of the same party, likely to produce coalitions, good at electing women and minorities
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What are the disadvantages of STV?
More complex system, makes coalitions more likely, no constituency
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What makes coalitions work well?
Allows more parties to be represented in decision making, prevents controversial laws or bills being easily passed, working together for the benefit of the country, acts as a barrier for political dictatorship
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What often makes coalitions flawed?
Single party gov'ts allow more pinpointing of political responsibility, no need for private deals between parties, more strong and stable, more decisive, no disproportion of power to smaller parties, quicker decision making
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When has the UK used referendums?
1973 ( N.I Sovereignty), 1975 (EEC Membership), 1979 (Scottish devolution), 1997 (Welsh devolution), 1998 (London Assembly), 1998 (Belfast Agreement), 2011 (AV Vote), 2014 (Scottish Independence), 2016 (EU Membership)
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What form of democracy are referendums known as?
"Direct Democracy"
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What term is used to refer to referendums that are repeated more than once?
"Neverendum"
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What is a referendum?
A general vote by the electorate on a single political question which has been referred to them for a direct decision.
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What are the positives of referendums?
Increased political interest, gives the people a decisive choice, gives the gov't a clear mandate, clearer outcome than general elections, tackles issues across party lines, produces a long term plan
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What are the negatives of referendums?
Complex issues are presented to the electorate with inadequate explanation, referendums can be skewed if votes are used for the wrong reasons, only show a snapshot of public opinion, can be swayed by balance of donations to either side for support
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What was the outcome of the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum?
3.6 million votes, 44.7% yes, 55.3% no, Salmond resigned as first minister of Scotland, DEVO MAX (more devolution to Scotland)
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What was the outcome of the 2016 EU membership referendum?
46.5 million voted, 51.89% leave, 48.11% remain, SNP called for 2nd referendum, Corbyn no confidence vote, Cameron resigned as PM, many unexpected areas votes out (e.g Sunderland, Birmingham)
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What is meant by a "minority government"?
A government in which the governing party has most seats but still less than half the total.
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Who is elected in local elections?
Council members/ Councillors.
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Who is elected in London Mayoral elections?
Mayor of London and the London assembly.
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What electoral system is used in local elections?
FPTP.
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What electoral system is used in MEP elections?
List system.
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What electoral system is used in Scottish parliamentary elections and Welsh assembly elections?
AMS.
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What electoral system is used for the London Mayoral elections?
Supplimentary Vote (variant of AV) & AMS for assembly.
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Who won the most votes in the latest (2014) MEP election?
UKIP.
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What is "psephology"?
The study of voting behaviour.
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How has class dealignment affected recent voting behaviour?
In recent years it has become less decisive that working class people will vote LAbour and middle/upper class will vote Conservative. This has been helped by the growth of smaller parties.
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What year was the Equal Pay Act and the Sex Discrimination Act introduced?
1975.
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What factors influence voting behaviour in the long term?
Class, party, gender, ethnicity, age, issues in previous elections and credibility, region.
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What factors influence voting behaviour in the short term?
Leader, economy, policy, campaign, rational choice.
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What is rational choice theory?
The theory that since the 1980's people have shifted away from voting for the party their family/ region traditionally has, and looked to make a more rational choice based on a combination of short term and long term factors.
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What does rational choice link to in terms of voting behaviour?
Class dealignment.
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Examples of rational choice:
Lib Dems: Said no to a rise in tuition fees then did a U-turn- lost a large number of seats.
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What issues do the religious right-wing tend to vote on, and which party do they tend to vote for?
Conservative Party; Issues include school prayer, abortion and divorce, rather than economic issues or foreign exchange.
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Which party are women currently (2015) most likely to vote for?
Labour party.
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How does region affect voting behaviour?
Industrial heartlands (Wales, North England) and urban areas vote Labour because of Thatcher's deindustrialisation, South, rural areas and midlands tend to vote Conservative, Scotland now votes SNP.
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How does age traditionally affect voting behaviour?
Older people tend to vote Conservative, due to strong traditional values.
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Which party tends to spend the most on campaigning during general elections?
The Conservative Party.
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How do TV Debates influence voting behaviour?
Allows people to see leaders under pressure and see how they react- Gordon Brown called one questioner a bigot and forgot his mic was still on.
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In what year did the UK hold a referendum on the possible use of AV?

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2011

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In which country is AV notably used?

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Card 4

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How does the AV system work?

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Card 5

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What are the advantages of the AV system?

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