Constituency Electioneering

  • David Butler
  • Dennis Kavanagh


The view of the campaign from a local party headquarters may contrast sharply with that from Smith Square. It is not just that the problems — mainly concerned with details of administration — are different; the language in which the argument is conducted often bears little relation to the debate at the national press conferences. When election observers move between London and the constituencies, they find themselves in two quite different worlds. Nonetheless in October both centre and periphery shared a common campaign exhaustion. It had been obvious from March 1 that a second election could not be long delayed. Because of the advanced preparations few candidates were inconvenienced by the choice of October 10 for polling day or thought that an alternative date would have produced a different outcome.1 Organisers and candidates often commented that being on a ‘war footing’ for so much of the year had greatly improved their party machines. However, in Scotland and London there was some fear of running out of steam, for the parties there had also contested local elections in the spring.


Opinion Poll Party Leader National Unity Labour Party National Campaign 
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  1. 3.
    For further information on the role of regional organisers and area agents in the October 1974 general election see David J. Wilson, Power and Party Bureaucracy in Britain (London, 1975).Google Scholar
  2. 16.
    For evidence on the 1966 campaign see D. Kavanagh, Constituency Electioneering in Britain (London, 1970) pp. 58–60.Google Scholar
  3. 31.
    See A. P. Hill, ‘The Effect of Party Organisation: Election Expenses and the 1970 Election’, Political Studies, June 1974.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Butler
    • 1
  • Dennis Kavanagh
    • 2
  1. 1.Nuffield CollegeOxfordUK
  2. 2.University of ManchesterUK

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