Environmentalism undercover: The environmental dimension of public support for domestic water charges

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Research shows that environmental attitudes can affect support for environmentally-beneficial policies. However, it is unclear whether environmental attitudes can influence support for such policies when they are not being primarily framed through an environmental lens. Using data from the 2011 Irish National Election Study, this paper examines the issue using the case of support for the reintroduction of water charges. This was a contentious issue with debate largely focusing on the proposal as an austerity measure, but the proposal also had environmental implications. The results find that while individuals' willingness to prioritise environmental protection over economic growth did not affect their support for water charges, their willingness to make individual sacrifices for the environment did. Moreover, voters’ position on this policy impacted their vote choice. The findings are particularly important given the struggles that governments are facing in implementing environmental taxes and charges.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102088
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalElectoral Studies
Early online date11 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Austerity
  • Elections
  • Environmental attitudes
  • Ireland
  • Party competition
  • Water charges

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