Approaches to Change

  • David Butler
  • Donald Stokes


The possibility of rulers Being constitutionally driven from office in a free election is relatively new in the history of government. The voters who now hold this power in the liberal democracies can, of course, exercise it only by selecting between alternatives that have been defined by competing leaders or groups. In Britain it is the political parties that provide the focus of choice. Indeed, in the longer historical view, parties antedate the mass electorate since it was they who enfranchised the voters and mobilized their support. But the public is not the creature of the parties, and the ebbs and flows of popular favor affect, often in quite unexpected ways, the whole conduct of British government.


Party System Electoral Change Party Preference American Political Science Association Party Support 
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    The election of 1964 indeed exhibited a sectional pattern of alignment hauntingly like that of 1896, although the roles of the parties had been completely reversed. See W. D. Burnham, “American Voting Behavior and the 1964 Election,” Midwest Journal of Political Science, 12 (1968), 1–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    This trend is apparent in the closing chapters of A. Campbell, P. E. Converse, W. E. Miller and D. E. Stokes, The American Voter, New York, 1960, and even more clearly in Elections and the Political Order, New York, 1966, by the same authors.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© David Butler and Donald Stokes 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Butler
    • 1
  • Donald Stokes
    • 2
  1. 1.Nuffield CollegeOxfordUK
  2. 2.Center for Political StudiesUniversity of MichiganUSA

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