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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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What do Irish voters want from and think of their politicians?

What do Irish voters want from and think of their politicians?

(p.190) 10 What do Irish voters want from and think of their politicians?
The post-crisis Irish voter

David M. Farrell

Michael Gallagher

David Barrett

Manchester University Press

This chapter assesses how the record-breakings levels of electoral flux in 2016 may have impacted on attitudes towards representative politics in Ireland. First, it examines voter attitudes to the role of TDs (MPs) in 2016. The Irish tradition of high degrees of localism in representative politics is based on the strong attachment of Irish voters to a constituency orientation from their politicians. The analysis shows that this remains as strong as ever. There are, however, some changes in how voters make contact with their elected representatives – the second theme dealt with in this chapter. The intensity (or degree) of contact is resilient, but its form is shifting to more impersonal or virtual means of contact (especially among younger voters): the days of the ‘weekly clinic’ – that classic mainstay of representative politics in Ireland – may be numbered. Finally, the chapter examines what Irish voters thinks of their politicians overall – this latter theme referencing ongoing international debates about the emergence of populist attitudes. The evidence from the Irish case is a pretty positive one, with many voters indicating a favourable disposition towards their politicians – though this is not universal.

Keywords:   Localism, Constituency representation, Populism, Irish politicians

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