Forthcoming: 2010 British General Election Leader Evaluations: Replicating Electoral Focus Group Research

2010 British General Election Leader Evaluations:
Replicating Electoral Focus Group Research

Forthcoming at The Qualitative Report

Dr. Kristi Winters, GESIS Leibniz Institutes for the Social Sciences, Köln, Germany

Dr. Edzia Carvalho, University of Dundee, United Kingdom

 This research replicates and expands upon the qualitative electoral research of Winters and Campbell by using data from focus groups conducted in Essex, England to coincide with three leadership debates during the 2010 British general election. The Qualitative Election Study of Britain (QES Britain) broadly replicated Winters and Campbell’s research design but includes innovations in data collection to more accurately capture assessments. This innovation means the data coding are based entirely on the evaluations of the participants. In our analysis we innovate in the way we display each leaders’ unique evaluation structure. To capture the salience and direction of leadership assessments, we convey the dimensionality of popular perceptions for Brown, Cameron and Clegg using colour and scaling. Our results produce qualitatively informed evaluation structures for each party leader that contextualize quantitative survey findings.  Although this case study is limited to a geographically specific group of participants, our results mirror the quantitative BES results.  Such similarity in the qualitative and quantitative results increases our confidence that our results provide useful insights into the associations and evaluations ordinary people used in their assessments of the main political party leaders.

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New working paper – “I went with what I always do…”: A qualitative analysis of ‘Cleggmania’

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with what I always do…”: A qualitative analysis of ‘Cleggmania’ and vote choice in the 2010 British General Election DO NOT CITE WITHOUT AUTHORS’ PERMISSION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.

2010 British general election leader evaluations: a case study using focus group data

2010 British general election leader evaluations: a case study using focus group data

What does qualitative electoral research look like? Read our latest working paper on Leader Evaluations in the 2010 Election to see an example.

QES Britain Data accepted at UK Data Archive

The data collected during the Qualitative Election Study of Britain has been accepted for deposit at the UK Data Archive.  Priority will be given to the processing of transcripts (set for April 2011), then guidelines for use of the audio files.  Future releases may include researcher access to the video recordings.  All users must conform to agreed guidelines on participant anonymity and confidentiality.