Study Notes

Class alignment

AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Class alignment is the commitment of a particular social class to a political party, meaning that they will vote for that party come-what-may. Class alignment has fallen in recent decades, although there is still evidence that some exists.

There is no single definition of class, but market researchers and PSEPHOLOGISTS (those who examine voting behaviour) use the National Readership Survey (NRS).This system defines class according to occupation, which is relatively objective and often linked to other interesting factors such as education and income and housing:

The general assumption is that the working class would vote for Labour and the middle and upper classes would vote for the Conservatives. Given that assumption, there is still a lot of “class” voting, although Labour’s advantage is only in the unskilled working class/unemployed category.

In 2015 the % vote was (change from 2010 in brackets):

Note the new alignment emerging between the working class voters and UKIP, which affected both Labour and Conservative votes. This is discussed more in the study note about class dealignment.

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