AQA Unit 1 GovPol Paper 2015, How do you mark your own essay?Watch
Here's the link to the 2015 Paper:
And here's the mark scheme:
1) The term 'mass media' is an umbrella term which is used to refer to all outlets of news in general. Newspapers from different ends of the political spectrum ranging from The Guardian on the Left to the Daily Mail on the Right form this mass media. In recent years, mass media (coverage) has risen exponentially with 24 hour news coverage and the rise of social media.
2) UK Local elections are infamous for their notoriously low turnouts (usually between 35 and 40%). This is because voters do not regard this type of election as important for a government is not a formed as a result of this election there they see it as futile to vote in such an election. Furthermore, there is little media interest and coverage when it comes to local elections which thus leads to little voter excitement and apathy.
Another reason why turnout is low is because of the actual electoral system itself. Many view that FPTP leads to wasted votes especially in safe seats like Gainsborough and so people simply do not bother to vote leading to comparatively low levels of turnout at UK (General) elections when compared to other democracies like Malta which have a turnout of around 90%.
3) Social class is the group of people one belongs to in society. Class is often determined by: occupation, wealth, property, background, education and sometimes ethnicity with the highest social class being the A/B class and the lowest being the D/E class. Social class is without question one of the determinants of voting behaviour but whether or not it is the main determinant is a debatable matter.
The Sociological Theory of voting behaviour put forward by psephologists argues that it is indeed social class that determines voting behaviour with the middle class expected to vote Conservative whilst the working class votes Labour. This was certainly the case even in 1997 when Labour whitewashed the Conservatives, the Conservatives still had a 10% lead over Labour in the A/B class. Contrastingly, in the 2015 General Election, where Labour got around 100 less seats than the Conservatives, they still had a 16% lead over the Conservatives in the D/E class.
As Pultzer put it in 1967, "class is the basis of voting behaviour at UK General Elections, all else is embellishment and detail". This appears to be true with the statistics at hand but, at the same time, the fact that Labour had no lead over the Conservatives in the C2 class (a class that is generally regarded as working) at the 2015 general election demonstrates signs of class dealignment. Furthermore, much of the Muslim vote which traditionally went to Labour webt to either the Liberal Democrats or the Conservatives at the 2005 general election mainly due to Blair's decision to invade Iraq. Constituencies with a substantial Muslim population like Bradford West saw major swings of 10-20% leading to gains for the Liberal Democrats. This illustrates the effect of short-term factors on social class questioning social class as the main determinant of voting behaviour in the process.
The state of the economy is another determinant of voting behaviour. Many argue that it was the 2008 Financial crisis which led to Labour losing the 2010 general election. Political scientists like David Sanders have argued that as long as a government gives a 'feel-good' factor regarding the state of the economy, they will be re-elected. Of course, this theory has its anomalies like the 1997 general election where there was no anxiety regarding the economy but Labour still whitewashed the Conservatives. Perhaps it was more down to sleze scandals and constant rebellions during Major's tenure which suggests that it is short-term factors that are the main determinant of voting behaviour in the UK.
An additional determinant of voting behaviour is the actual personality of the party leader. Foot was seen as rather intellectual and aloof compared to Thatcher's strong personality which perhaps would have led to Labour only having a lead in the D/E class. Moreover, during the runup to the 2015 election, Miliband's failure to eat a bacon sandwich circulated widely portraying an image of weakness and aloofness compared to Cameron's pragmatism. Rising partisan dealignment (only 13% of the population strongly identifies with either Conservative or Labour) make the personality of the leader even more important and perhaps this is why Labour only had a lead in the D/E class over the Conservatives at the 2015 general election disputing social class' role as the main determinant of voting behaviour.
Social class has always been and probably will be one of the determinants of voting behaviour but coupled with class dealignment and voter's tendency to make decisions as theorised by the rational choice theory means that although social class is a determinant of voting behaviour, it is not the main determinant.
I have down another section but I just got lazy and couldn't be bothered to type it up. If this gets responses, then I guess I'll type it.