Academic study on the 2022 General Election
Jersey politics does not feature prominently in academic literature. Indeed, more generally there is comparatively little in the way of analysis or even description of the Island's political system.
The Policy Centre has sought to address this issue, in particular by publishing papers on Jersey’s political system and Jersey’s constitution in its Knowledge Centre. The Centre’s database of academic papers is also relatively thin on Jersey politics, with just two papers: Henry Johnson’s study of the abortive attempt to establish a new national anthem for the Island and Mark Boleat’s study of the 2022 general election.
It is therefore welcome that there is a new academic study of the Island’s 2022 general election. It is by two academics, Christopher Pich and John Reardon, who previously published an excellent analysis of the 2020 Guernsey election, included in the database of academic papers, which they described as “the strangest general election in the world”.
Pich’s and Reardon’s study A changing political landscape: the 2022 General Election in Jersey is published in the Small States and Territories journal volume 6 number 2, 2023, and is accessible from the database of academic papers. The paper considers the context, onset and implications of the election, drawing on interviews with key players, official documents, statistical data and news articles. The paper puts Jersey in context and has a comprehensive literature review.
The authors’ research highlighted three key themes connected with the election –
- The disruptive effect of the constitutional reforms in 2020.
- The emergence of political parties on a significant scale.
- The short term implications of the election.
The paper includes a useful history of political parties in Jersey and describes the campaign and results in detail.
The paper’s conclusion notes that the politics and government of all three crown dependencies remain significantly under-researched and specifically that there has been no analysis of voting behaviour, political culture or candidate recruitment. The paper notes that despite changes to the electoral system, additional options of who to vote for and a series of high profile campaigns by Jersey's Electoral Commission, voter turnout was lower than the 43.4% secured in the 2018 general election. It concludes with suggestions for future studies -
Future studies should investigate the barriers and factors associated with voter turnout and explore voter engagement and the voter journey across political events in more detail, and preferably from a voter perceptive. This in turn will provide strategists with much needed insight and additional understanding, which will allow them to develop targeted strategies and tactics to address voter disengagement and develop long-term relationships between the electorate and elected officials. Secondly, this study recognizes that there are very few longitudinal and comparative studies which focus on topics explored in this paper, particularly in small states and territories. Future research should consider longitudinal and comparative studies focused on singular contexts and/or across contexts to advance knowledge and identify areas of good practice which may strengthen voter engagement and voter turnout in future elections. Finally, future studies could investigate why new political parties often have little success at the ballot box particularly in small states and territories where political systems are undergoing significant change and in territories with high voter disengagement.