The Scale of Short-Term Conversion 1959–70

  • David Butler
  • Donald Stokes


Both the scale and the cyclical nature of political change make plain that the processes of realignment and replacement can only provide a partial account of its sources. It is true that several of their effects which have tended to go almost unnoticed can be far from trifling even in the short run; moreover, realignment and replacement can magnify or limit more transient shifts of party strength, as the aging of the class alignment has increased the volatility of the electorate in the recent past. But our account of political change would be very incomplete if we did not extend our analysis to the forces which convert and reconvert those who remain within the electorate. We examine in this chapter the scale of such transient conversions in the 1960s and in subsequent chapters the nature of the forces which underlie this third main type of electoral change.


Successive Interval Labour Party Major Party Marginal Total Total Vote 


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Copyright information

© David Butler and Donald Stokes 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Butler
    • 1
  • Donald Stokes
    • 2
  1. 1.Nuffield CollegeOxfordUK
  2. 2.Princeton UniversityUSA

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