Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
Gallagher, M; Suiter, J.
2017 January
A Conservative Revolution; Electoral change in 21st Century Ireland
Pathological Parochialism or a Valuable Service? Attitudes to the constituency role of Irish Parliamentarians
Oxford University Press
In Press
Optional Fields
elections, campaigns
A widespread frame of reference for the study of Irish electoral behaviour is one that casts doubt on the salience of standard factors in voting choice such as policy closeness, evaluations of party competence, evaluations of leaders, or even party identification, which was discussed in the previous chapter. Instead, it is suggested, voters attach as much weight to candidates as to parties and, moreover, their choice among candidates is determined not by the policy stances adopted by these candidates but, rather, by their assiduity in tending to the resource-related needs of their constituents (for discussion see Marsh 2007; Marsh et al 2008: 146–60). There is indeed much evidence to the effect that politicians in Ireland attach great importance to the constituency service role and spend a lot of their time discharging it. The causes of this are disputed; some identify the intra-party competition generated by the PR-STV electoral system as a crucial factor, while others see the roots as lying in a political culture that goes back well before independence or in the low ratio of population to parliamentarians, and others again argue that elected representatives everywhere see this activity as part of the job and hence it scarcely needs a specifically Irish explanation.
Michael Marsh, David Farrell, and Gail McElroy
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