Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL2127: Electoral Politics

This module descriptor refers to the 2021/2 academic year.

Module Aims

Voting is the cornerstone of democracy. Candidates and parties offer competing views of how government should function and what policies should be enacted, and then voters get to choose between these competing visions. Yet, this process of turning voter preferences into political outcomes is not always straightforward. This module aims to:

  • Improve understanding of how electoral politics and electoral process shape outcomes such as who gets elected and how governments form.
  • Examine how the “fundamentals” such as economic performance affect candidate performance.
  • Assess whether or not campaigns have a significant effect on election outcomes (i.e., how much do campaigns actually influence decisions of whether or not to vote, or who to vote for).
  • Examine the role of media and advertising in elections (including the role of new and social media).
  • Appreciate different and competing theories of voting behaviour.
  • Understand the process for recruiting candidates to run for office, with a particular focus on who is encouraged/recruited to run.
  • Examine interventions that increase voter turnout and other forms of political participation.
  • Promote improved critical thinking to analyse news events and issues related to elections in the UK and abroad.
  • Promote understanding of the definition and use of predictive social science models.
  • Improve your ability to critically analyse texts and to communicate effectively.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here – you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. Demonstrate knowledge of electoral politics processes and institutions, and how these differ across different national contexts
2. Appreciate the role of voters, campaigns, candidates, media, and context play in affecting electoral outcomes
Discipline-Specific Skills3. Explain in a critical way how institutions and preferences combine to produce outcomes
4. Demonstrate understanding of the definition and use of predictive social science models
Personal and Key Skills5. demonstrate critical thinking skills, particularly as they relate to evaluating empirical (quantitative) evidence;
6. demonstrate the ability to work independently within a limited time frame to complete a specified task
7. demonstrate writing skills and/or other presentation skills to facilitate more powerful communication