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Does the factor theory of satisfaction explain political voting behaviour?

Peter Schofield (Department of Service Sector Management, Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK)
Peter Reeves (Salford Business School, University of Salford, Salford, UK)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 11 May 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explain voter perceptions and voting behaviour in the 2010 UK General Election on the basis of this theory, by evaluating the differential impact of government performance on key political issues defined as hierarchical voter satisfaction factor types. The validity of the three-factor theory of satisfaction in explaining consumer decision-making for products and services is well-established.

Design/methodology/approach

British Election Survey (2010) data are used to test the relative influence of hierarchical voter satisfaction factor types in predicting the perceived overall performance of the former Labour government and actual voting behaviour. Sequential and multinomial logistic regression models are used in the perceived overall performance of the former Labour government and actual voting behaviour, respectively.

Findings

“Basic” factors explain more of the variance in perceived overall government performance and voting behaviour than “performance” factors. There are significant positive main and interaction effects on Conservative and Liberal Democrat party votes from Labour’s underperformance on the “basic” factors. The results have important implications for political marketing and voting behaviour research.

Originality/value

The study establishes the relevance of the three-factor theory of satisfaction within a political marketing context. It demonstrates that, controlling for party loyalty, perceived government performance on the hierarchical voter satisfaction factors explains voter perceptions and voting behaviour to a significant degree. In particular, it highlights the criticality for voting behaviour of both the direct and indirect impacts of “basic” factor underperformance.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Professors Harold D. Clarke, David Sanders, Marianne C. Stewart, Paul Whiteley and the University of Essex for making available on-line the British Election Study (BES, 2010) database which provides the data for this study.

Citation

Schofield, P. and Reeves, P. (2015), "Does the factor theory of satisfaction explain political voting behaviour?", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 49 No. 5/6, pp. 968-992. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-08-2014-0524

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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