Volatility, Realignment and Electoral Shocks: Brexit and the UK General Election of 2019

15 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2021

See all articles by Edward A. Fieldhouse

Edward A. Fieldhouse

University of Manchester

Geoffrey Evans

Nuffield College, University of Oxford

Jane Green

Nuffield College, University of Oxford

Jonathan Mellon

University of Manchester

Christopher Prosser

University of London - Royal Holloway

Date Written: January 12, 2021

Abstract

There has been some debate as to whether the 2019 General Election was a Brexit election – even a critical election – or the continuation of long-term realignments in British Politics. In this article we argue that, while the process of realignment has its roots long-before the referendum of 2016, to properly understand the 2019 election we must recognise the interplay of long-term secular trends and the electoral shock of Brexit. We demonstrate how Brexit continued to structure electoral choices in 2019 as manifested in a crystallization of shifting electoral cleavages around social class, geography, education and age; the persistence of alternative political identities; and a reversal in electoral volatility. While these developments are consistent with the early stages of a realignment catalysed by the EU referendum in 2016, it is still too early to determine whether they should be considered a long-term critical realignment, or a temporary but very substantial interruption to politics as usual.

Keywords: realignment, Brexit, volatility, 2019 General Election, electoral shocks

Suggested Citation

Fieldhouse, Edward A. and Evans, Geoffrey and Green, Jane and Mellon, Jonathan and Prosser, Christopher, Volatility, Realignment and Electoral Shocks: Brexit and the UK General Election of 2019 (January 12, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3764477 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3764477

Edward A. Fieldhouse (Contact Author)

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Geoffrey Evans

Nuffield College, University of Oxford

New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom

Jane Green

Nuffield College, University of Oxford ( email )

New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom
07956676216 (Phone)

Jonathan Mellon

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Christopher Prosser

University of London - Royal Holloway ( email )

Egham Hill
Egham, TW20 0EX

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