The malleable nature of party identification

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Party identification is one of the central concepts in the study of electoral behaviour, but scholars still disagree on what exactly it is. The classical view is that it is a perceptual screen through which citizens interpret political phenomena. The revisionist view contends that party identification is a running tally of citizens’ evaluations of performance. These competing conceptions have obvious and testable implications for the effects of citizens’ evaluations of policy performance on their party identification. This chapter tests some of these implications in the Irish context: first with panel data from 2002–7 that contain a unique set of questions on citizens’ evaluations of policy performance; and, second, with data from 2011 following the financial crisis. Party identification is found to be more malleable than the classical view suggests, and changes in party identification are shown to be affected by citizens’ evaluations of governments’ policy performance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConservative Revolution?:
Subtitle of host publicationElectoral Change in Twenty-First Century Ireland
EditorsMichael Marsh, David M. Farrell, Gail McElroy
Place of PublicationOxford UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9780198744030
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • party identification
  • declining party loyalty
  • voters’ government evaluations
  • pledge fulfilment
  • economic voting

Cite this