Ideological Factors in Change

  • David Butler
  • Donald Stokes


Political change — whether in the individual elector or in the mass electorate — will seldom be provoked by a single issue, standing on its own. Most voters have attitudes towards many issues, and these may fall into discernible patterns. Such patterns could obviously have a bearing on the sources of electoral change. Indeed, one of the most familiar frameworks for interpreting change — the schema of left and right — assumes that the public sees a number of political issues in terms of an ideological spectrum and responds to leftward and rightward movements of the parties along this spectrum. But this sort of ideological framework may not be the only source of pattern or structure in attitudes towards issues. We might, for example, suppose that many voters would simply adopt the pattern of issue positions contained in their party’s policies.


Nuclear Weapon Labour Party Party Preference Stable Opinion Ideological Distance 


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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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