Mandates Without Obvious Majorities?
The government mandate in its full form fails descriptively because few spontaneous majorities form in support of one party, and there is no guarantee that the plurality party is not actually opposed by most electors. A minimal version might still apply however in terms of retrospective voting — a majority might still vote against a government. This idea has been particularly prominent in the economic voting literature, This chapter examines the evidence for ‘economic’ voting. It confirms previous comparative research by showing there is only limited evidence of consistent effects from growth, unemployment and inflation on voting. This is explained in terms of electoral reactions to any set of economic conditions never being undifferentiated or unproblematic. As there is always some rational argument for voting against incumbents some electors will always do so, accounting for a general fall of incumbent votes towards their long term norm. Median voter positions are not predictable from the state of the economy, but they do match government positions over the long term and indeed provide the equilibrium towards which government policy tends.
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