The moving centre: preferences for government activity in Britain, 1950-2005

J Bartle, Sebastian Dellepiane Avellaneda, J Stimson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


The political ‘centre’ is often discussed in debates about public policy and analyses of party strategies and election outcomes. Yet, to date, there has been little effort to estimate the political centre outside the United States. This article outlines a method of estimating the political centre using public opinion data collected for the period between 1950 and 2005. It is demonstrated that it is possible to measure the centre in Britain, that it moves over time, that it shifts in response to government activity and, furthermore, that it has an observable association with general election outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-285
Number of pages27
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Issue number2
Early online date21 Dec 2010
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • public policy
  • government
  • British government
  • public opinion


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