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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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Why did the ‘recovery’ fail to return the government?

Why did the ‘recovery’ fail to return the government?

(p.99) 6 Why did the ‘recovery’ fail to return the government?
The post-crisis Irish voter

Michael Marsh

Manchester University Press

This chapter seeks to explain a significant puzzle of the 2016 election. There is now a very extensive literature linking economic performance with the electoral performance of government parties, with the relationship being a positive one. The 2016 election was an unusual illustration of a government being punished despite being able to point to a record of very significant economic growth and rapidly falling unemployment as Ireland’s recovery from the economic crash and bailout made it such a good example of the success of ‘austerity’ policies. Drawing on many studies that argue for certain contingencies in the relationship, this chapter explores a number of ways in which the good economy-government returned to office relationship went wrong. A key finding, contrary to general tendencies in the literature on economic voting, is that ‘pocketbook’ considerations were very significant in determining how voters felt about the government parties. The chapter offers some reasons why the Irish case is unusual and also questions the theoretical bases on which ‘pocketbook’ voting is downplayed in the economic voting literature.

Keywords:   Economic voting, Austerity and elections, Sociotropic voting, Pocketbook voting, Economic crisis

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