floating voter

   Also known as ‘swing voter’. A term much used in early studies of voting behaviour to describe the voters who changed their mind about which party to support from one election to another. Today the term has lost much of its former impact. Modern studies point out that the electorate itself is constantly changing, with the death of many voters and the coming of age of others, itself a factor sufficient to impact upon the political balance of the country. But more fundamentally the phrase suggests that the electorate can be divided into two categories, on the one hand the faithful supporters who form a core block of support for their particular political party and on the other hand those who – on reflection of the issues – are liable to switch their allegiance. In fact, there are many voters who offer far less than fervent support, shading off through those who offer broad sympathy to those whose support is weak and conditional. Moreover, those who do float are often not independently-minded rational thinkers but rather those who are less informed about current affairs and less moved to turn out and vote. Non-constant electors might be: voters whose involvement with the party of their choice is low and are likely abstainers; those who experiment with alternative parties but generally return to their former allegiances; those who support a minor party but may be deprived of a candidate of their highest preference; and finally those who experience a genuine conversion and transfer their allegiance. In determining the outcome of elections, much more important than the swing voter is the ability of one party in comparison with another in getting out its core support. As people become disillusioned with their favoured party, they are more likely to abstain than switch.

Glossary of UK Government and Politics . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • floating voter — floating voters N COUNT A floating voter is a person who is not a firm supporter of any political party, and whose vote in an election is difficult to predict. [mainly BRIT] (in AM, use swing voter) …   English dictionary

  • floating voter — UK US noun [C] ► POLITICS SWING VOTER(Cf. ↑swing voter) …   Financial and business terms

  • floating voter — n someone who does not always vote for the same political party at elections …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • floating voter — ► NOUN ▪ a person who does not consistently vote for the same party …   English terms dictionary

  • floating voter — noun a voter who has no allegiance to any political party and whose unpredictable decisions can swing the outcome of an election one way or the other • Syn: ↑swing voter • Hypernyms: ↑voter, ↑elector * * * floating voter noun • • • Main Entry: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • floating voter — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms floating voter : singular floating voter plural floating voters British a voter who has not decided who to vote for in an election …   English dictionary

  • floating voter — noun a person who does not always vote for the same political party, but usually decides on the basis of policies Syn: swing voter …   Wiktionary

  • floating voter — /floʊtɪŋ ˈvoʊtə/ (say flohting vohtuh) noun → swinging voter …   Australian English dictionary

  • floating voter — noun Brit. a person who has not decided which way to vote in an election, or one who does not consistently vote for the same party …   English new terms dictionary

  • floating voter — noun (C) someone who is not sure which political party to vote for at an election …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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