Title: Voting behaviour in the 2009 Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty (PDF 4.8MB)
Paper number and date: WP 11-4, November 2011
Abstract: Explaining turnout and voting behaviour in European referendums has lead to a vigorous academic debate, ranging from the argument that European referendums are nothing more than opinion polls on government popularity to viewing these referendums as fundamentally expressions of the attitudes of citizens towards the European integration project. The Irish referendums on the Lisbon Treaty provide new data with which to further test the various theories. While in 2008 the referendum was lost due to misperceptions of certain elements of the Treaty and inadequate political knowledge among the public (Sinnott and Elkink 2010), this article shows that in the 2009 referendum voted on the basis of their attitudes towards the European project rather than on the depth of their understanding of the issues.
Keywords: Electoral behaviour, European Union, Lisbon Treaty, referendum, Ireland