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The Conservative Party and the ?Centre Ground? of British Politics

Quinn, T (2008) 'The Conservative Party and the ?Centre Ground? of British Politics.' Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties, 18 (2). pp. 179-199. ISSN 1745-7289

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Abstract

This article examines the claim that the British Conservative Party has been too right-wing and must shift to the centre ground if it is to win the next general election. Using data from the British Election Study and the Comparative Manifestos Project, it is shown that the Conservatives? policies since 1997 have not been extremely right-wing. Indeed, both data sets indicate policy convergence between the major parties in recent years, although New Labour?s electoral strategy of targeting some centre-right voters created problems for the Tories. However, the general perception among voters, as evident in polling data, that the Conservatives were ?fairly right-wing? was more indicative of the party?s image problem, whereby they were seen in the post-1997 period as angry, stuck in the past, and socially intolerant. ?Shifting to the centre ground?, therefore, is more likely to entail softening the Conservatives? image, toning down their language, and appearing more socially inclusive, rather than the wholesale abandonment of policies that were not particularly different from those of Labour.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2012 13:09
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:37
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/3511

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