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The post-crisis Irish voterVoting behaviour in the Irish 2016 general election$
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Michael Marsh, David Farrell, and Theresa Reidy

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526122643

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526122643.001.0001

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Social and ideological bases of voting

Social and ideological bases of voting

(p.63) 4 Social and ideological bases of voting
The post-crisis Irish voter

John Garry

Manchester University Press

This chapter examines the social and ideological bases of voting behaviour in 2016. Referring to the classic debates in the comparative literature on political cleavages and upon earlier empirical investigations of the Irish case, the core question the chapter seeks to answer is whether there may be a strong link between voters’ socio-demographic traits, their broad policy beliefs and their party choice in this election. Building upon a similar study of the 2011 election, which found evidence of the emergence of class-based politics, the analysis on this occasion reveals some interesting trends, particularly relating to Sinn Féin. Its steady rise in electoral support over time has seen it emerge as a major player in Irish party politics, with important implications for how we might view the ideological basis of voting behaviour in Ireland. The analysis in this chapter finds that Sinn Féin’s strong socio-demographic profile (working class, left-wing and in favour of Irish unity) sets it apart from the other major parties, differentiating it in terms that would be familiar in a political cleavage-based analysis.

Keywords:   Political cleavages, Sinn Féin support, Ideology of voting behaviour, Class politics

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