‘In it together’? The political consequences of perceived discommunions of interest in British politics

Nicholas Allen, Katja Sarmiento-Mirwaldt

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The presence of shared interests between politicians and citizens is central to many accounts of political representation, yet there has been little empirical research into how citizens perceive these interests and whether they think a ‘communion of interests’ exists between them and their elected representatives. Using new survey data, this paper explores the extent to which Britons think their Members of Parliament share the same everyday experiences as they do. It further explores the relationship between these perceptions and indicators of specific and diffuse political support. We show that British citizens generally say that politicians are less affected by social and economic conditions and less reliant on public services than they are. The size of this perceived ‘discommunion’ affects voting behaviour and satisfaction with democracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalResearch & Politics
Issue number2
Early online date10 May 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 May 2015

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