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A Conservative Revolution?Electoral Change in Twenty-First Century Ireland$
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Michael Marsh, David M. Farrell, and Gail McElroy

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198744030

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198744030.001.0001

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How Generational Replacement Undermined the Electoral Resilience of Fianna Fáil

How Generational Replacement Undermined the Electoral Resilience of Fianna Fáil

(p.102) 7 How Generational Replacement Undermined the Electoral Resilience of Fianna Fáil
A Conservative Revolution?

Cees van der Eijk

Johan A. Elkink

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on party switching. The civil-war cleavage that differentiated the two main Irish parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, has been gradually diminishing in importance since the 1980s. This trend reached a crescendo in 2011, when the incumbent Fianna Fáil party saw a dramatic decline in voter support, with swathes of its core voters switching to the main opposition party, Fine Gael. This volatility must be seen from the perspective of a generational replacement. To understand the potential for electoral switching, as opposed to change after the fact, the chapter investigates the configuration of voters’ preferences expressed through propensity to vote questions in the INES. The general framework provides theoretical tools better to understand the scale of Fianna Fáil’s defeat, as unique commitment to that party had declined markedly from the position a generation previously and it was thus more vulnerable to punishment following the crisis.

Keywords:   party switching, propensity to vote, generational replacement, electoral resilience, Fianna Fáil

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