Thatcherism and the changing geography of political attitudes, 1964-87

 Thatcherism and the changing geography of political attitudes, 1964-87


Sensors Micro&a Unit, Fact&y of Economics and Social Studies, Uniuersty of Manchester, Oxford Road, MancksterMl3 9PL, UK

POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY, Vol. 14, No. 1, January 1995,3-30

ABSTRAC: UsTin. g data from the British Election Studies this paper examines thechanging geography of political attitudes in Britain between 1964 and 1987.Attitudes are measured on multiple-issue dimensions identified by principalcomponents analysis of data amalgamated from the entire period of study. Thisallows for a measure of the ideological position of respondents that iscomparable between merent elections. Three particular aspects of attitudinalchange are explored: the extent to which attitudes are (a) ideologicallystructured and (b) geographically uneven; (c) the impact of Thatcherism on thegeography of political attitudes is also considered. It is demonstrated thatpolitical attitudes became increasingly regionally polarized over the period,particularly during the 1970s and 1980s. It is argued this reflects thegeographically uneven effects of recession.