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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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Party identification in the wake of the crisis: A nascent realignment?

Party identification in the wake of the crisis: A nascent realignment?

(p.82) 5 Party identification in the wake of the crisis: A nascent realignment?
The post-crisis Irish voter

Rory Costello

Manchester University Press

This chapter presents the first dedicated study of party attachment in Ireland in the wake of the economic crisis. Previous research shows that party identification has historically been an important factor in Irish voting behaviour, though – much like in other democracies – it began to decline from the 1980s onwards. This chapter examines how party attachment has evolved in recent elections. The core question it seeks to answer is whether the electoral turbulence in 2011 and 2016 was simply a symptom of a fundamentally dealigned electorate, or whether we are witnessing a realignment in Irish politics. In other words, has the number of floating voters increased in the wake of the crisis, or have people begun to form new party attachments that are likely to shape elections in the future? The analysis shows that while party attachments were ruptured in 2011 (most notably so in the case of Fianna Fáil), in 2016, by contrast, partisanship increased, and there were some interesting trends among young voters in particular, with many of them beginning to form new allegiances.

Keywords:   Party identification, Partisanship, Electoral change, Dealignment, Realignment, Young voters

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