Turnout is often understood as being central to elections. Voters are not only the ultimate decision-makers in times of elections but voter turnout is often used as a means of conceptualising the importance of elections. Such statistics are further central to the distinction of first- and second-order elections as advocated by Reif and Schmitt. This chapter explores levels of turnout in different British elections, drawing upon examples from general elections and European elections. In doing so it demonstrates some of the differences that exist between turnout in a range of elections. It highlights turnout fluctuations within elections of the same type and between subnational or second-order elections.
KeywordsEuropean elections General elections Turnout Voters
- Audickas, L., & Cracknell, R. (2018). UK Election Statistics: 1918–2018: 100 Years of Elections. London: House of Commons Library Briefing Paper CBP7529.Google Scholar
- BBC News. (2016). Local Elections: Where Will Turnout Be a Challenge? BBC News. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-35999707. Accessed 4 Aug 2019.
- BBC News. (2019, September 4). Council Elections Why Don’t People Vote. BBC News. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-47666080. Accessed 4 Aug 2019.
- Bromley, C., Curtice, J., & Seyd, B. (2004). Is Britain Facing a Crisis of Democracy. London: CREST: Centre for Research into Elections and Social Trends.Google Scholar
- Butler, D., & Kavanagh, D. (2002). The British General Election of 2001. Basingstoke: Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Clarke, H. D., Sanders, D., Stewart, M. C., & Whiteley, P. (2004). Britain (Not) at the Polls, 2001. Political Science and Politics, 36(1), 59–64.Google Scholar
- Dempsey, N. (2017). Turnout at Elections (House of Commons Briefing Paper CBP 8060). London.Google Scholar
- Franklin, M. N., van der Eijk, C., & Oppenhuis, E. (1996). The Institutional Context: Turnout. In M. N. Franklin & C. van der Eijk (Eds.), Choosing Europe? The Elections and National Politics in the Face of Union (pp. 306–331). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
- Heath, A., McLean, I., Taylor, B., & Curtice, J. (1999). Between First and Second Order: A Comparison of Voting Behaviour in European and Local Elections in Britain. European Journal of Political Research, 35(3), 389–414.Google Scholar
- Hill, L., & Louth, J. (2004). Compulsory Voting Laws and Turnout: Efficacy and Appropriateness. Paper presented at the Australasian Political Studies Association Conference, University of Adelaide.Google Scholar
- Hix, S. (2000). Britain, the EU and the Euro. In P. Dunleavy, A. Gamble, I. Holiday, & G. Peele (Eds.), Developments in British Politics 6. Basingstoke: Macmillan.Google Scholar
- James, T. S. (2011). Only in America? Executive Partisan Interest and the Politics of Election Administration in Ireland, the UK and the USA Contemporary Politics, 17(3), 219–240.Google Scholar
- Johnson, C., & Marshall, B. (2004). Political Engagement Among Young People: An Update. The Electoral Commission. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/electoral_commission_pdf_file/0016/16135/Politicalengagementamongyoungpeople_14096-10669__E__N__S__W__.pdf. Accessed 24 Mar 2018.
- Norris, P. (1990). British By-Elections: The Volatile Electorate. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Reif, K., & Schmitt, H. (1980). Nine Second-Order National Elections—A Conceptual Framework for the Analysis of European Election Results. European Journal of Political Research, 8(1), 3–44.Google Scholar
- Rose, R., & McAllister, I. (1986). Voters Begin to Choose. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Stokes, D. (1992). Valence Politics. In D. Kavanagh (Ed.), Electoral Politics (pp. 141–164). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
- UK in a Changing Europe. (2019, May 2). The European Elections and Brexit. UK and EU. https://ukandeu.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/The-European-elections-and-Brexit.pdf. Accessed 7 Aug 2019.
- YouGov. (2019, June 24). Top Issues Tracker (GB). YouGov Trackers. https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/860hexugwi/YG%20Trackers%20-%20Top%20Issues_W.pdf. Accessed 4 Aug 2019.