The Intra-Party Dynamics of the Ulster Unionist Party: an ecological approach

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The Intra-Party Dynamics of the Ulster Unionist Party: an ecological approach. Main Research Questions. What is the social profile of the Ulster Unionist Party? Which variables best predict support for the Good Friday power-sharing agreement within the UUC?. The Northern Ireland Context. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • The Intra-Party Dynamics of the Ulster Unionist Party: an ecological approach

  • Main Research QuestionsWhat is the social profile of the Ulster Unionist Party? Which variables best predict support for the Good Friday power-sharing agreement within the UUC?

  • The Northern Ireland ContextDominant party in Northern Ireland from 1921 until 29 November, 2003The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) - British sovereignty; speaks for Protestant majorityRegular division within UUP since late 60sO' Neillism (late 60s), Sunningdale (1973-4), Anglo-Irish Agreement (1986), Good Friday Agreement (1998)

  • UUC StructureGoverning body of UUP is the Ulster Unionist Council (UUC) - Very powerful. Makes policy and decides fate of leadershipSplits within UUC after 1998 (pro/anti) Approximately 900 delegatesUUC subdivided into constituency (17) and affiliated body (10) sectionsVoting rights: Constituencies - 75%, Orange Order - 15%, Other Bodies - 10%

  • Methodology: why geodemographics?Survey research almost totally dominant in social sciences Neglect of geographical approaches due to 'fallacy of the ecological fallacy' re explaining social behaviourSurveys often weak in terms of geographical and other vital contextual factorsSurveys fail among 'sensitive' groups

  • Methodology: geodemographic synergies with other strategiesGeodemographics can provide individual level, as well as various contextual level data (difficult today to cross-reference with city directories, valuation rolls, etc)Can work in conjunction with census data Can augment survey research strategies

  • Previous Survey ResearchLate 2000 Survey of UUC (Tonge & Evans 2001; 2002). 1/3 response rateSocial Profile in terms of age, education, gender, income, occupation, county of residenceNo sense of comparison with Orange mass membership. Recent Orange survey - almost no responseMOSAIC data allows us to circumvent this

  • Previous Survey ResearchMixed results: Orange Order membership and age were clearly important (p < .001)R2 = .1 predicting 1998 vote and .03 in predicting 'Vote Today'Concluded that division lay between 'Orange skeptics' and 'rational civics' An Orange survey might alter this finding, but, again, almost no response

  • Research StrategyParty List (gender, title, postcode, section)Strategists assign vote (pro/anti-GFA)MOSAIC classifications assigned to party membersNI MOSAIC score 1-27 (status), 30-36 (rural)MOSAIC group and score used in multi-level and fixed-effects logistic regressions

  • Table 1: The Social Profile of the UUC and Orange Order by MOSAIC Classification (99% sample)

  • Table 2: UUC Social Profile (Party Section), by MOSAIC Classification (99% sample)

  • Findings: Postcode ProfilingMajor status difference between Orange leadership/membership and Orange UUC delegatesUUC profile is elderly and eliteExplains why Protestant alienation from the UUP may be greater than from the OrangeExplains why many Orange leaders and a majority of the membership wish to break the link with the UUC while Orange UUC delegates do not

  • Orange/Non-Orange Differential in Support for the Agreement

  • Orange Skeptics?: Protestant Working-Class Area, Co. Armagh

  • Non-Traditional Middle Class (East Belfast)

  • Traditional Middle Class (Co. Tyrone)

  • Findings: Ecological ApproachContextual factors explain most of the variance (party section, geography of residence) Sectional and Geographic splits within Orange and Elected members is criticalBig difference between UUC delegates who happen to be Orange and those who represent the OrangeImplications of breaking UUC-Orange link

  • ConclusionUse of MOSAIC categories improves accuracy of social profile and reaches difficult groupsGeographic approach greatly improved predictive power of model (R2 from .03 to .257)Suggests that key division for the GFA is not between Orange skeptics and 'rational civics' but between 'traditionalist'/non-'traditionalist' (whether Orange or not)

  • END

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