This module focuses on the most fundamental component of democratic political systems – elections. In particular, it analyses key political behaviour issues related to models of voting, electoral system design, and party organisation. It adopts a broadly comparative approach, with an emphasis on advanced industrial democracies in the west – especially the UK, but also other parts of the EU and the US.
The module will examine the merits of different voting behaviour models; the politics of electoral system design and choice; the rise of anti-party / anti-politics sentiment; as well as the modern methods parties utilise as they attempt to market themselves to voters. There will also be classes on developments in party organisation; contemporary party ideologies; the nature of party system change and continuity; and finally the relevance of public opinion to modern government and public policy.