The British general election of 2010: a three-party contest – or three two-party contests?
Article first published online: 21 OCT 2010
© 2010 The Authors. The Geographical Journal © 2010 Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers)
The Geographical Journal
Volume 177, Issue 1, pages 17–26, March 2011
How to Cite
JOHNSTON, R. and PATTIE, C. (2011), The British general election of 2010: a three-party contest – or three two-party contests?. The Geographical Journal, 177: 17–26. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2010.00386.x
- Issue published online: 17 FEB 2011
- Article first published online: 21 OCT 2010
- This paper was accepted for publication in September 2010
- contest types;
- target seats;
Geography is an inherent component of the UK electoral system, and several separate geographies interact in the translation of votes into seats. Many argue that Great Britain now has a three-party system, but we show that it is dominated by three separate two-party systems because of the geographies of support for the three largest parties. At recent elections, the translation of votes into seats has substantially favoured the Labour Party. At the 2010 election, however, that advantage had largely disappeared, in both the constituencies where its main opponent was the Conservative Party candidate and those where it was the Liberal Democrat candidate. Removal of that pro-Labour bias in the former case resulted from the Conservatives' largely successful target seats campaign.