The Divergent Dynamics of Cities and Towns: Geographical Polarisation and Brexit

Will Jennings, Gerry Stoker

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


We demonstrate the trend towards geographical polarisation in voting behaviour, as the populations of big cities have voted in increasing numbers for Labour, while the residents of towns and rural areas increasingly have opted for the Conservatives. Secondly, we argue and show that this trend reflects economic as well as cultural forces: the schism between places reflects both divergent paths of demographic and economic change and related variation in the cultural and social outlooks of voters. Thirdly, we discuss the major challenge—amplified by Brexit—that this geographical polarization presents for each of the parties as they seek to build electoral coalitions that reach beyond their existing strongholds. In concluding, we explore how the parties are presently responding to the place-based divergence of voting behaviour and policy problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-166
Number of pages12
JournalPolitical Quarterly
Issue numberS2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


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