Monday 5 December 2016

Post-crash cynical voters more likely to move away from established parties

Published 07/01/2016 | 02:30

There may be trouble ahead for established parties if European trends take hold. Above, Taoiseach Enda Kenny visits the home of Gertie Dunning in Carrickobreen, in Athlone, during the flooding. Photo: Steve Humphreys
There may be trouble ahead for established parties if European trends take hold. Above, Taoiseach Enda Kenny visits the home of Gertie Dunning in Carrickobreen, in Athlone, during the flooding. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The turn of the year is a good time for reflection. Thinking anew can mean thinking afresh. In this spirit, let's start the new year with a challenge to the conventional political wisdom.

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Most pundits believe Irish voters are stability-oriented, and that they will be inclined to vote for stability in the soon-to-be-called General Election. It is widely held among commentators that once the campaign proper begins, the average busy voter - who normally gives only limited consideration to the performance of politicians between elections - will weigh up the options and be more inclined to plump for the better-known devil.

This logic suggests that as the posters go up and the political class takes to the hustings, the mainstream parties - Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour - will collectively stage something of a comeback from the lowest levels of support they have garnered since the 1950s. Some have even spoken of an overall majority for Fine Gael.

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