In much of the comparative literature on social structure and party choice, housing occupies an anomalous position. In Britain, its electoral consequences are undoubted, yet in other advanced industrial societies its impact is negligible. For example, in Britain Butler and Stokes go so far as to suggest that ‘housing has more to do with defining the sub-cultures of social class than all else but occupation itself’. Moreover, recent evidence has indicated that the electoral importance of housing may actually be increasing in Britain, rather than declining along with other traditional class predictors of voting. By contrast, in Australia and the United States, both societies with similarly sized home-owning and rental sectors, housing has never been advanced as a significant determinant of partisan choice.
* Department of Sociology, Research School of Social Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra. The 1979 Australian National Political Attitudes Survey was originally collected by Professor Don Aitkin and made available by the Social Science Data Archive at the Australian National University. The 1979 British Election Study was originally collected by Ivor Crewe, Bo Särlvik and James Alt and made available by the British SSRC Survey Archive at the University of Essex. The 1980 Presidential Election Study was originally collected by Warren E. Miller and made available by the ICPSR at the University of Michigan. Neither the original collectors of these data nor the disseminating agencies bear any responsibility for the analyses or interpretations preserved herein. My thanks to Bob Goodin, Ed Page and Peter Williams for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper; the usual disclaimer applies.