Understanding the 2015 Marriage Referendum in Ireland: Constitutional Convention, Campaign, and Conservative Ireland

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Title: Understanding the 2015 Marriage Referendum in Ireland: Constitutional Convention, Campaign, and Conservative Ireland
Authors: Elkink, Johan A.
Farrell, David M.
Reidy, Theresa
Suiter, Jane
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/7386
Date: Nov-2015
Abstract: On 22 May 2015 the marriage referendum proposal was passed by a large majority of Irish voters and the definition of marriage in the constitution was broadened to introduce marriage equality. This referendum is remarkable for a number of reasons: (1) it is uniquely based on an experiment in deliberative democracy; (2) the referendum campaign was unusually vigorous and active; and (3) the voting patterns at the referendum point to a significant value shift along the deep seated liberal conservative political cleavage of Irish politics. This article provides an overview of the background to the referendum initiative, the campaign prior to the referendum, and the key factors that drove voter turnout and preference. Based on a post-referendum survey, we find that while support for the government of the day, political knowledge, and social attitudes have the same effects as commonly found in other referendums, the variation among social classes was less prevalent than usual and door-to-door canvassing by the two sides of the campaign impacted through turnout rather than vote preference. The voting behaviour of the different age groups suggests strong generational effects.
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. Geary Institute
Series/Report no.: UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy Discussion Paper Series; WP2015/21
Keywords: Political campaignsElectoral behaviourReferendumsConstitutional conventionMarriage equality
Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Geary Institute Working Papers
Politics and International Relations Research Collection

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