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Competence over constitution : the SNP's re-election in 2011

Johns, Robert and Carman, Christopher and Mitchell, James (2012) Competence over constitution : the SNP's re-election in 2011. Political Studies. ISSN 0032-3217 (In Press)

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The Scottish National Party’s outright win in the Scottish Parliament election on 5 May 2011 confounded pre-election polls and commentaries as well as devolution’s architects who chose a (broadly) proportional electoral system to minimise the risk of a Nationalist majority moving Scotland to independence. But an extraordinary result in historical context looks much more ordinary when we explore voters’ attitudes and choices. According to data from the ESRC-funded Scottish Election Study 2011 (SES), the SNP won its majority for that most mundane of electoral reasons: most voters thought that the party would do a better job in office than its rivals, including its chief rival, the Labour Party.