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UK expat political connectivity and engagement: Perspectives from the far side of the world!

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Research among expatriates eligible to vote in country of origin elections is sparse and tends to focus on legal and political considerations while ignoring psychological and sociological issues. This is surprising given recent research suggesting that of approximately 5.5 million UK citizens living abroad, only an estimated 13,000 registered to vote in the 2010 UK General Election. Drawing on social psychology, consumer behaviour and political marketing literature, this research provides insights into voting attitudes and behaviour of UK expatriates living in New Zealand. Adopting a qualitative research methodology incorporating diary completion and interviews, findings are reported in three key areas: contextual political and socio-economic influences on decisions to move abroad, levels of political connectivity, and finally levels of political engagement. Based on these findings, a segmentation tool and tentative engagement strategies are proposed to enhance the likelihood of expatriate participation in future elections.
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Keywords: expats; political connectivity; political engagement; political marketing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Canterbury, New Zealand 2: Manchester Business School, UK

Publication date: 2011-07-01

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