Year

1976

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (Hons.)

Department

Department of Geography

Abstract

This thesis examines the pattern of voting of the 1974 Wollongong City Council Local Government Election. The analysis is conducted at three levels; first, overall, in which the effect of socio-economic factors upon the party vote at each booth is considered; second, within the Wards, in which the local context of voting is reviewed; and thirdly, the issue level.

Multiple correlation and regression analysis was used in an attempt to understand the pattern of variation in the relative magnitude of the party related vote. Residuals from the analysis suggested the operation of ward based factors, thus in Chapter 4 the scale of the analysis was changed in an attempt to determine whether or not local effects noted in the literature of electoral geography could be discerned. Because of data and system problems, however, this analysis could not be conducted in a way that gave results capable of being added to those from the previous analysis. Instead, the local effect was sought at the intra party intra ward level and among the votffiobtained by independents. At both levels local effects were found to exist, although there appeared to be other systematically operating factors within some wards that affected the voting response surface.

The thesis then turns to an examination of some well marked inter ward variations in the nature of local effects. One of the most important factors contributing departures from a regular local effect was found to be the 'common ticket' electoral strategy which results in a candidate gaining almost uniform support across the ward. Local factors influencing the flow of information could still be seen to affect these results and three case studies of this situation are included. Re-examination of the support for 'party' candidates in other wards indicated that two other electoral strategies also influenced the pattern of support for candidates: the 'variable ticket' strategy used by the Labour Party, resulted in a 'step' like response surface, the modified 'variable ticket' strategy employed by the Liberal-Independents, resulted in a more gradual distance decay in candidate support.

The issues component was also examined. It would appear that the issue of environmental protection was influential in determining the pattern of voting in the ward.

The three components (the party vote, the local context vote and the issues vote) were found to be highly inter-related. Although it was not possible to integrate the findings from each level of analysis in such a way as to permit the conclusion that some given portion of the place to place variation in voting patterns could be accounted for by these components, it is argued that this thesis demonstrates clearly the range of factors that need to be considered in any electoral study, their often complex inter-relationships, and the necessity for more studies based upon detailed observation in the field.

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