Voters, Parties, and Elections: Referendum Study

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This 2015 study was launched by the Voters, Parties and Elections group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland with the purpose of combining forces and sharing resources across a number of the political science departments in Irish universities to study the underlying voter dynamics in this important referendum on marriage equality.

Referendums occur frequently in Ireland (after Switzerland and Italy, one of the most frequent in Europe) and it is important that these exercises in direct democracy are properly tracked and monitored. Our large number of referendums attracts substantial global interest, yet to date no referendum study has ever been funded by the Irish Research Council, or its predecessors.

This 2015 study has been launched by the Voters, Parties and Elections group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland with the purpose of combining forces and sharing resources across a number of the political science departments in Irish universities to study the underlying voter dynamics in this important referendum on marriage equality. It is being funded by the individual researchers who make up the team.

The project follows in a long line of previous studies by Richard Sinnott and Michael Marsh, both of whom pioneered research on referendums in Ireland. But their efforts and those of others have tended to be ad hoc and dependent on piecemeal funding, generally from a commissioning government department in the event of a vote being lost. This Voters, Parties and Elections study seeks to build on their efforts and to take the study of Irish referendum dynamics to the next level.

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