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Rational Switch

Vernon Bogdanor, 17 June 1982

Democracy at the Polls: A Comparative Study of Competitive National Elections 
edited by David Butler, Howard Penniman and Austin Ranney.
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 367 pp., £5.75, March 1982, 0 8447 3403 9
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... It was R. B. McCallum who invented the word ‘psephology’ to describe the study of elections. Yet in 1955 he wrote of the act of voting as the last haven of free choice in an increasingly bureaucratised society, an ultimate redoubt to be defended at all costs against the assault of the social sciences. ‘The secrecy of the ballot, the pencilled cross in the secluded polling booth’, was, he said, ‘the great eleusinian mystery of the democratic state ...

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