vote gain in
2001 was amongst the unemployed, although this ‘success’ still only produced
a vote share of 23 per cent within this particular category, still leaving a lead
of 31 per cent for Labour.8
However, in a ‘post-ideological’ age marked by partisan and class dealignment, these figures do not provide any real comfort for the Conservatives
because socio-economic background as a whole is no longer a major determinant of electoral choice. Instead, questions of overall policy competence,
leader images and issue saliency are now assuming that role.
The 2001 defeat