chapter  17
16 Pages

The spatial analysis of UK local electoral behaviour: turnout in a Bristol ward

WithScott Orford, Andrew Schuman

There is growing interest in the factors that influence turnout in elections in the UK. This concern has become paramount with the extremely low turnout in the 2001 General Election. Although research in this area is well established, there has been very little concerned with the geography of turnout, particularly at the local level. This research aims to address this omission by examining the geographical factors that influence turnout in a local election in a ward in Bristol, UK. A GIS of the ward was constructed using voting data taken from the marked-up electoral register used in the local election. The results suggest that both contextual factors, such as the size of the household in which the voter lives, and geographic factors, such as the distance from the household to the polling station, are important in understanding the propensity to vote.