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Charlie Jeffery and Dan Hough, "Understanding Post-devolution Elections in Scotland and Wales in Comparative Perspective," Party Politics, 15 (March, 2009), 219-240.

First paragraph:
What are the electoral dynamics of multi-level political systems? How do voters make choices in elections at different state levels? These questions are important for both analytical and practical reasons. Analytically, voting behaviour is a crucial part of the political dynamics in multi-level systems. Practically, parties need to adapt to, and may be able to shape, these dynamics. The United Kingdom (UK) is one of the countries in which these questions have become relevant.1 The devolution reforms introduced since 1997 have established legislatures with significant decision-making powers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This article aims to understand how voters understand and negotiate their electoral choices in Scottish and Welsh settings2 now that they are able to vote for both UK and devolved legislatures. Do voters behave differently in Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly as compared to Westminster elections, or do they simply treat devolved elections as mini-versions of Westminster contests?

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Surplus in provincial turnout in provincial compared with federal elections in Canada (average, 1972-2000)
Table 2. Turnout in Scotland and Wales, 1997-2005
Table 3. Performance relative to 'expected' vote (percent)
Table 4. Indices of dissimilarity around state-wide elections in Canada, Germany and Spain, 1980-2002
Table 5. Non-state-wide parties and dissimilarity in Spain (1982-2000)
Table 6. The Labour-nationalist trade-off in the UK
Figure 1. Voting intentions in Scotland: Labour (1998-2003)
Table 7. Recalled devolved vote and hypothetical UK vote, 1999 (percent)
Table 8. Recalled UK vote and hypothetical devolved vote, 2001 (percent)
Table 9. Recalled devolved vote and hypothetical UK vote, 2003 (percent)

Nex to Last Paragraph:
As this article has shown, this dynamic of sub-state distinctiveness in places with strong territorial identities - with its consequent strains on parties with a state-wide reach - is not unusual. In Spain, where different concerns and interests guide voting behaviour at different levels (Pallarés and Keating, 2006: 116-17), state-wide parties have found ways of accommodating themselves to the different sub-state contexts, although the Socialists rather more fully than the Popular Party (van Biezen and Hopkin, 2006: 22-4). And the SPD in Germany has had to contend with controversy in the state-wide arena because of its decisions in a number of the eastern Länder to enter sub-state coalitions with a post-communist PDS derided as beyond the pale by the SPD's state-wide opponent, the CDU (Hough, 2002: 135-8).

Last updated March 2009