Political Opinion Polling in the Republic of Ireland

  • John F. Meagher


The Republic of Ireland was something of a latecomer to market research and consequently to political opinion polling. Conventional, quantitative, ad hoc market research, based on statistical sample surveys, did not emerge as a feature of the Irish business scene until the early 1960s. This was in marked contrast to the situation in the neighbouring United Kingdom which, like the USA, had seen the setting up of ad hoc market research and opinion polling organisations prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. However, the climate in Ireland in the 1930s was not conducive to business generally, never mind the new business sciences. At that stage Eamonn De Valera, the then Taoiseach (Prime Minister) was engaged in his ‘Economic War’ with Britain; this was to have a generally depressing effect on the economic climate in Ireland which was to last through the 1940s and 1950s. Ireland benefited from the worldwide economic lift-off which characterised the early 1960s. The two polling organisations which between them conduct virtually all published political opinion polling work in the Republic of Ireland were set up at that time: the Market Research Bureau of Ireland (MRBI) was established in 1962, and Irish Marketing Surveys (IMS) was set up a year later in 1963. While the balance of that decade was to see both of these companies grow from small beginnings to become substantial market research organisations, there was very little political opinion polling undertaken prior to 1970.


Market Research Opinion Polling Election Campaign Political Opinion Preference Vote 
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  1. 3.
    Cornelius O’Leary, Irish Elections 1918–1977 (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1979) p. 2.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Basil Chubb, Political Parties in the European Community (London: Allen & Unwin/European Centre for Political Studies, 1979) p. 127.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    John Whyte, in Richard Rose (ed.), Ireland: Politics without Social Basis -Electoral Behaviour: A Comparative Handbook (New York: The Free Press, 1973) pp. 619–51.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert M. Worcester 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. Meagher

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