Women, Electoral Volatility and Political Outcomes in Britain

Bernadette C Hayes, Ian McAllister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 1997 election represented a watershed in female electoral politics in Britain. Not only did the number of elected women MPs double that of its previous intake, rising from just 60 members in 1992 to 120 in 1997, but, for the first time in electoral history, women were systematically targeted by political parties as a primary source of electoral support. This was particularly case among floating voters, or women who were still undecided as to how they would vote just six weeks prior to the day of the election. Using the 1997 British Election Survey, this paper focuses on gender differences in electoral volatility and their consequences for female voting patterns. The results suggest that both Labour and the Liberal Democrats were correct in their decision to pay special attention to the female electorate. As a group, women were significantly more likely to delay their voting decision than men, and this greater volatility among the female electorate worked to the political advantage of both these parties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)971-983
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number9/10
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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