The Political Life Cycle

  • David Butler
  • Donald Stokes


There has been a natural inclination in electoral studies to consider single elections. While the focus is a useful one, it is important to see that one election with all its preliminaries is but a moment in the life of the nation or the individual citizen and that much is to be gained by taking a longer view. The processes of change are hardly to be understood without doing so. We begin here with the development of political attitudes during the lifetime of the individual voter, identifying several phases of the political ‘life cycle’ and the characteristics of political attitudes and behaviour that are distinctive to each phase.


Political Attitude American Political Science Review Political Socialization Party Preference Party Support 
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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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