New working paper from Carvalho, E. and Winters, K.(2012) “I went with what I always do…”: A qualitative analysis of ‘Cleggmania’ and vote choice in the 2010 British General Election DO NOT CITE WITHOUT AUTHORS’ PERMISSION
Abstract: Using post-election focus group transcripts we provide new insights as to why ‘Cleggmania’, a highlight of the 2010 British general election, failed to translate into electoral success for the Liberal Democrats. Narrative and discourse analysis conducted on participants’ vote choice stories reveals a complicated choice calculus. Conservative and Labour voters’ narratives and those who leaned Liberal Democrats but ultimately remained true to their previous party cited values or identity. Liberal Democrat voters cited tactical and satisficing reasons or support for a principle or a policy. For Qualitative Election Study of Britain participants the effect of ‘Cleggmania’ was limited to strengthening the resolve of wavering or leaning Liberal Democrat voters. We also draw attention to the important role of constituency dynamics in decisions and conclude that qualitative research can provide insights into vote choice that cannot be realised either through existing survey data or lab based experimentation.