Working Paper


Jane Suiter
Theresa Reidy
David M. Farrell
Johan A. Elkink



referendums electoral behaviour referendum ireland irish politics marriage equality voter turnout political campaigns constitutional convention

Understanding the 2015 Marriage Referendum in Ireland: Constitutional Convention, Campaign, and Conservative Ireland (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.
Collections Ireland -> University College Dublin -> Politics and International Relations Research Collection
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> Geary Institute
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> Geary Institute Working Papers

Full list of authors on original publication

Jane Suiter, Theresa Reidy, David M. Farrell, Johan A. Elkink

Experts in our system

Jane Suiter
University College Cork
Total Publications: 20
David M. Farrell
University College Cork
Total Publications: 13
Johan A. Elkink
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 4