Public Opinion, Politics and Society in Contemporary Ireland
By Pat Lyons
This book demonstrates what the polling evidence tells us about changes in Irish opinion since 1970 towards key issues: The economy - has the Celtic tiger economy changed Irish citizens? --- Northern Ireland - have aspirations for a united Ireland disappeared with the peace process? --- The Liberal agenda - has Ireland become less conservative and a more tolerant society on issues such as divorce, abortion, and homosexuality? --- European integration - have Irish attitudes toward the EU changed since accession in 1973? The main source of data used in this research is media commissioned opinion polls that have been undertaken on behalf of The Irish Times and Independent Newspapers Ltd by Irish Marketing Services (IMS), Lansdowne Market Research, and the Market Research Bureau (MRBI). Using a variety of techniques, this book investigates the success of opinion polls in predicting election outcomes and some key factors underpinning political satisfaction ratings. It demonstrates that while there has been considerable socio-economic change in Ireland, there has been much stability in public opinion. An important puzzle is also addressed - why is public opinion on many issues, as measured in polls, inconsistent? This study shows that quite often the public does not have overarching views but has instead bundles of opinion. The book concludes that opinion polls do provide a unique and valuable insight into Irish public opinion, however, poll results do not speak for themselves and need to be interpreted with care.
Publication Date: 6/1/2008