Party or candidate?

in The post-crisis Irish voter
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This chapter examines the significance of candidates in Irish elections. The act of voting is often judged to be party-centred, but in Ireland it is generally seen as taking place through the prism of candidates: Parties select their candidates with care to take account of that; candidate-centred behaviour is also shown by the large and growing number of independents elected in recent Irish elections – in record numbers in 2016. The importance of party versus candidate has been examined in previous studies: this chapter brings the discussion up to date for 2016. The financial crisis had a number of political impacts, and one was to increase the importance of party vis-à-vis candidate in 2011. This was because national issues, which parties are more capable of dealing with than individual candidates, became of greater importance. With the gradual recovery of the Irish economy in the latter half of the tenure of the Fine Gael–Labour coalition, this chapter considers whether the dynamics of party and candidate were altered as a result. The analysis shows that voters have returned to the more familiar habit of candidate-centred ballot choices, though significant party-centred behaviour persists.

The post-crisis Irish voter

Voting behaviour in the Irish 2016 general election

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