Elite Elections: The Irish University Seats
19 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2019
Date Written: December 13, 2016
Ireland's university constituencies provide a unique opportunity to test theories about education and voting.While most research on education and voting relies on demographic data, here we have an opportunity to compare a special constituency of solely highly educated elites, against the general population. For many years, political theorists have posited that education would lead to voters making "better decisions". Indeed, John Stuart Mill, the great 19th-century philosopher, argued that university graduates should be given extra votes, because their political knowledge and sophistication would enable them to better judge the issues at hand in an election. The basis of my research is the hypothesis, based on the aforementioned background research, that there will be a difference between the elections for the Seanad's university seats and the elections to the Dáil. In other words, because the educational demographics of the voters in the university seats are significantly different from the voters in the Dáil elections (and given the significant impact of education on political attitudes), we would expect the rest of the election to proceed differently.
Keywords: politics, ireland, irish politics, seanad, oireachtas, political theory, political science, university seats, education
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