Election Synopsis Volume 1 No. 2, 2004
"This issue focuses on the central question of electoral behaviour: What influences the political choices of the electorate? Do voters make purely rational, instrumental, technical and utilitarian decisions, when choosing to vote for a particular party? Or do they vote purely in terms of identification with a specific party, which they feel can best give them a voice to express who they are? Can the election be won on the delivery of tangibles, such as housing and water; or intangibles, such as self-expression? And if voters’ choices are identity-based, is this because parties themselves coalesce around particular identities, profiling and mobilising around them, to the extent that voters are offered no choice but to vote in terms of their identity? In other words, have political parties gridlocked the electorate into identity politics, because they represent our society as a chessboard? Or, are parties responding to citizens who choose to vote for identity, and merely representing how people feel? Or, is the importance of identity merely an (incorrect?) perception in the minds of the political elite?"