The 2005 British general election witnessed unprecedented media interest in the parties' attempts to 'woo' women voters. There was much speculation about a fracturing relationship between women and Tony Blair, the term 'let-down woman' was used by the press to describe how the relationship had allegedly gone sour. Gender and Vote in Britain provides comprehensive analysis of the 1992-2005 British general elections and tests whether there were, in fact, sex differences in leadership evaluations, party of vote and political attitudes. The interactions between sex, age, class, race, and education are examined and gender effects are understood as tectonic plates that will shift and change according to the specific context of a given election. Thus, the argument of the book is that background or sociodemographic characteristics play an important role in electoral choice but that their impact is mitigated by other factors, such as issue salience. For example gender may impact upon political attitudes, so that more women than men prioritise spending on health or education, but this will only translate into voting behaviour if the political parties diverge on these issues.
Chapter one: Why gender and voting behaviour?5
Feminist theory and other accounts
Chapter two: Mainstream studies of voting behaviour32
Chapter three: Gender ideology and issue preference54
Chapter four: Gender and turnout78
Chapter five: Sex, vote and other background characteristics89
Chapter six: Electoral context100
Chapter seven: The 2005 British General Election115
(with Kristi Winters)
Rosie Campbell is lecturer in research methods at the School of Politics and Sociology, Birkbeck College, University of London. She researches gender and representation, participation and voting behaviour. She is currently involved in the British Representation Study 2005, a study of the backgrounds, attitudes and experiences of MPs and candidates.
Previous publications include Gender, Ideology and Issue Preference: Is there such a Thing as a Political Women's interest in Britain? BJPIR 6:20-46,Winning Women's Votes? The Incremental Track to Equality with Joni Lovenduski in Parliamentary Affairs, October 2005 and the electoral commission report Gender and Political Participation with Pippa Norris and Joni Lovenduski, published in 2004.