Rage against the machine: Who is the independent voter?

Liam Weeks*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


One particular type of minor candidate outside of the party circle is the independent. Perhaps the most exceptional feature of the Irish political (party) system, the persistence and significance of independents have exceeded that of many minor parties. This presence is pretty unusual in most liberal democracies, where independents are seen as irrelevant at best, and a menace at worst. This article assesses the support bases of these candidates. Beginning with aggregate data, it details where independents have experienced success and the consistency (or lack) of their vote. Using individual-level data, the nature of the independent voter is determined. It is found that there are few social bases to such a vote. Localism, personalism and protest are significant factors, but an independent vote is more of an expression of apathy towards parties rather than a specific antipathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-43
Number of pages25
JournalIrish Political Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • electoral behaviour
  • Ireland
  • non-party politics


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