Representation of the People: Franchise Extension and The ‘Sinn Féin Election’ in
Awarding body: BA/Leverhulme
This study will assess how changes in voting rights shaped the outcome of the 1918 election in Ireland. Specifically, we will explore whether the extension of the franchise to all men over 21 and to most women aged over 30 contributed to the landslide victory of Sinn Féin, a victory that marked a turning point in British and Irish history. Our approach is to link census data on age, occupation, gender and literacy to electoral data at the constituency level. We will then analyse these data using the method of ‘Ecological Inference’, a modern statistical approach that allows estimates of individual level relationships to be extracted from aggregate level data. As a result we can uncover the voting patterns of the new voters and judge whether they disproportionately gave their support to the new, more radical, Sinn Féin rather than the traditional party of Irish nationalism, the Irish Parliamentary Party. As such, this study has the potential to change the conversation regarding the ascent of Sinn Féin and the rise to predominance of republicanism in Irish politics.
- Queen's University Belfast: Alan de Bromhead and Alan Fernihough
- University of Michigan: Enda Hargaden