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Education and Vote Choice After Brexit

Fri, October 1, 6:00 to 7:30am PDT (6:00 to 7:30am PDT), TBA


In this paper we examine the reasons for the emergence of the educational cleavage and provide a fine-grained analysis of its character. We show that the growing impact of education on vote choice in part reflects the expansion of the proportion of the electorate who have experienced higher education in recent decades. As a result, there is a more substantial demographic basis for an educational cleavage that reflects the political values of those who have received higher education. We then analyse the ways in which education matters for these values, issue positions and, increasingly, vote choice. Our emphasis is on the way that changes in the parties’ positions and emphases on socially conservative and liberal values, and the political issues associated with them, has influenced the parties’ appeal to different educational groups. We also estimate the extent to which education has now become a new cleavage supplanting and cross-cutting that of social class.
We refine our understanding of this educational cleavage by examining what it is about education that explains these differences in party choice through an analysis of the divisions in values and vote choices between people with differing types of higher educational experience and different career paths associated with them. We present new evidence that shows how education influences voters' selection into occupations where different value sets predominate. We show that education appears to influence political choices partially through its funnelling of people into environments that influence their values and voting.