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Parties heed (with caution): Public knowledge of and attitudes towards party finance in Britain

vanHeerde-Hudson, J; Fisher, J; (2013) Parties heed (with caution): Public knowledge of and attitudes towards party finance in Britain. PARTY POLITICS , 19 (1) 41 - 60. 10.1177/1354068810393268. Green open access


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Despite comprehensive reform (Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act) and recent review (Phillips Review in 2007) of party finance in Britain, public opinion of party finance remains plagued by perceptions of corruption, undue influence from wealthy donors, carefree and wasteful spending and, more generally, from the perception that there is just ‘too much money’ in politics. In this article we argue that knowledge of and attitudes to party finance matter, not least because advocates of reform have cited public opinion as evidence for reform. However, because attitudes to party finance are part of a broader attitudinal structure, opinion-led reforms are unlikely to succeed in increasing public confidence. Using data generated from YouGov’s online panel (N=2,008), we demonstrate that the public know little of the key provisions regulating party finance and attitudes to party finance can be explained along two underlying dimensions – Anti-Party Finance and Reformers. As such, we consider whether parties and politicians should be freed from the constraints of public opinion in reforming party finance.

Type: Article
Title: Parties heed (with caution): Public knowledge of and attitudes towards party finance in Britain
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1354068810393268
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1354068810393268
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2011. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page(http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/openaccess.htm).
Keywords: donations and expenditure, party finance, political parties, public attitudes, reform
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Political Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1324670
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