Cube Law (Rule)

Cube Law (Rule)
   A mathematical formula first noted by David Butler which states that if the popular vote is divided between the two main parties in the proportion of A:B, the seats in Parliament will be divided A3:B0. In other words, under first past the post, the margin of victory of the leading party was exaggerated, making it easy for a party to win a clear majority in Parliament. The exaggeration of the performance of the winning party narrowed for several years and the Cube Law seemed to lose its relevance, so that in 1992 there was hardly any exaggerative effect at all, the ratio of votes and seats between the Conservatives and Labour being approximately 55:45. In 1997, the degree of distortion was greater than it had been for many years, leading some commentators to invoke the Cube Law once again. In the 2001 landslide, there was an even greater disparity than the Cube Law would imply.
   Further reading: D. Butler, The Electoral System in Britain since 1918, Clarendon Press, 1963

Glossary of UK Government and Politics . 2013.

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