Drawing on an original survey of voters and parties, this
article examines the policy space in Irish politics in the context of the 2016
general election. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses show that four
broad ideological dimensions structure votersí policy views across a range of
salient issues. These are an economic dimension, a cultural dimension, a
religious dimension and an austerity dimension. Comparing the location of
voters and parties on these dimensions, gaps in the policy space are identified
where voters are not represented by any party. Most noticeably, a significant
segment of the electorate is found to have left-wing views on economic issues
but conservative/authoritarian views on the cultural dimension, and this
combination is currently not offered by any of the existing political parties.
The article also highlights areas where political parties are out of step with
the views of their own voters.