Discuss the view that class is still the most important factor influencing the way people vote. [30 Marks]
Class alignment and the way this influences voting behaviour is an issue that divides many. Whether someone votes for a certain party due to their social class (in this case judged by NRS social grading) or whether this is influenced more so by other factors is difficult to decipher. Back in 1966, the Absolute Class Voting Index suggested 66% of voters were influenced by their occupational class and although this is said to be declining (37% in 2010) many still argue that it is the most important factor.
Those who feel that class is still the biggest influence on voting behaviour cite a number of reasons. Class seems to clearly affect whether people vote at all, let alone who they vote for. Turnout for the top class band AB was 75%, whereas turnout for the lowest class band DE was just 56% and this is particularly relevant for the results of elections. Those in the highest band are mostly expected and did in 2015 vote for the Tories (45% of them), compared to 27% in the lowest band. Only 26% of the top band voted Labour and due to the higher turnout in this demographic one can only assume that class impacts this, therefore impacting the result of an election due to the higher turnout of the AB class (i.e. more people vote Tory due to class than vote Labour).
Although there does still seem to be a blatant correlation between class and voting preference, class’ influence is declining. Since 1966, class dealignment has broke the traditional mould of manual workers voting Labour and non-manual workers voting Tory; this only now being true for just 37% of voters in 2010. This is also symbolic of the number of ‘floating’ voters, with just 17% of voters saying they have a ‘strong’ partisan alignment in the noughties, compared to the 1960s where almost 45% said so; this is down to class dealignment and the decline of mass party membership. This means...