The consequential nationalist-globalist policy divide in contemporary Britain: some initial analyses

Thomas J. Scotto, David Sanders, Jason Reifler

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The verdict delivered by voters in the 2015 and 2017 British General Elections and the European Union Referendum surprised pollsters, pundits, the media, and even the victors. Political choices representative of globalist outlooks saw defeat at the polls. Liberal Democratic support was below 10% and voting to remain in the EU underperformed predictions. Empirical analyses demonstrate that there is a nationalist-globalist policy divide, partially rooted in demographics and authoritarian predispositions, which go beyond traditional valence factors in explaining the recent choices of the British electorate. Moreover, this outlook influences how satisfied citizens are with the way democracy works in Britain. Nationalist viewpoints, when juxtaposed against globalist outlooks, are salient in a way they were not during the height of Thatcherism, encompass left-right economic concerns and may portend a new era in British political culture.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties
Early online date7 Aug 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Aug 2017


  • public opinion
  • Brexit
  • nationalism
  • United Kingdom
  • British elections

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