3 - Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the United States 1946–1981, an initial comparative analysis.  pp. 39-72

Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the United States 1946–1981, an initial comparative analysis.

By David Robertson

Image View Previous Chapter Next Chapter



The bulk of this book presents separate analyses of fifteen democratic party systems, using a common methodology. We begin however, with a more compact study of four nations, sharing an ‘Anglo-Saxon’ political culture and a system of two dominant parties. Two (Britain and the United States) have already been analysed in detail using similar methodologies (Robertson 1976; Budge and Farlie, 1977, Chapter 11). So it has been established that the structure of party competition in Britain and the United States can usefully be examined through a saliency coding of party programmes subjected to Factor Analysis. The other two are frequently associated with an Anglo-Saxon political culture (Alford 1962) or treated as examples of the export of the ‘Westminster Model’ (Butler 1963), thus they permit a natural extension of the technique and approach.

POLITICAL PARTIES

Britain and the United States have so often been discussed as prototypes of the two-party competitive system or used as the starting point for a discussion of other systems that the leading features of their party politics need only be summarized here.

American parties

The United States, though so familiar, has perhaps the most atypical parties and elections of all. Its parties have the oldest continuous history, dating in something like their present form to the 1860s.