Confidence Regained

Economics, Mrs. Thatcher, and the British Voter
Helmut Norpoth
The electoral consequences of Margaret Thatcher's economic policies


Elected to the office at the end of a decade of economic decline, Prime Minister Margaret the set out to cure Britain's ills with daring new free-market policies. Putting financial stability first on the agenda of macroeconomic priorities, the Thatcher government pursued this goal with rare tenacity. In Confidence Regained, Helmut Norpoth examines the electoral risks and rewards of this economic strategy.

Professor Norpoth paints a vivid picture of the fierce battle over the economic policies and record of the Thatcher government. Using electoral surveys, Norpoth reveals how British voters sorted out the competing claims of economics and politicians in their various partisan choices. Turning from election outcomes to government popularity between elections, Professor Norpoth charts the rise and decline of Margaret Thatcher's approval ratings and Conservative party support, showing how responsive these ratings were to economic performance.

The statistical evidence presented shows that economic views significantly affected voter choices in the Thatcher elections. But the author reveals that the Conservatives under Mrs. Thatcher owed their ability to regain the confidence of the British electorate not only to the nation's economic success, but also, in large measure, to the British victory in teh Falkland Islands.

Confidence Regained is an invaluable source to scholars of electoral politics, especially of British elections, but it will also interest historians of Thatcherism and scholars studying the role of macroeconomics in elections.

Praise / Awards

  • ". . . an important book. . . . It explores whether Thatcher's radical approach to the economy was responsible for her unprecedented success with the voters. Helmut Norpoth is a skilled explorer in the statistical jungle. . . . He takes a fresh stand on well-established disputes . . . and he gives a clear analysis of some of the economic developments of the early 1980s."
    American Political Science Review
  • ". . . a significant contribution for those interested in interpreting British politics in the 1980s both in the methodology of analysis and in the treatment of some substantive issues."
    American Political Science Review
  • ". . . an excellent contribution to the literature on 'economic' voting and to the understanding of electoral trends in Britain during the 1980s."
    Political Studies

Look Inside


1. Introduction - 1

Part 1. Economics

2. Mrs. Thatcher's Economic Policies - 9
3. Mrs. Thatcher's Economic Record - 33

Part 2. Elections
4. Economics and the Study of Elections - 51
5. The 1979 Election: Throwing the Rascals Out - 67
6. The 1983 Election: Reclaiming Voter Confidence - 93
7. The 1987 Election: Holding Voter Confidence - 113

Part 3. Popularity
8. The Popularity of Conservatives in Government - 131
9. The Popularity of Labour in Opposition - 167
10. The Popularity of the Liberals/Alliance - 191
11. Conclusion - 207

Bibliography - 217
Index - 225

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 248pp.
  • tables, figures.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 1992
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10333-1

Add to Cart
  • $79.95 U.S.