The 1998 Good Friday Agreement (GFA) led to a major realignment in unionist politics in Northern Ireland. The Ulster Unionist party (UUP), hitherto the dominant force within the Protestant British tradition, was usurped in electoral popularity by the Democratic Unionist party (DUP). In its post-GFA rise, the DUP garnered majority support from members of the Orange Order, the largest organisation in Protestant civil society. Drawing upon a recent membership survey of the Orange Order conducted by the authors, this article examines the demographic and attitudinal bases of support for unionist political parties among its members, and tests whether the locus of support for the DUP is evenly distributed, or instead biased towards particular age groups, social classes or Protestant denominations within the Order, as well as assessing whether attitudinal variations may be influential in determining party loyalties.
|Number of pages
|British Journal of Politics and International Relations
|Early online date
|15 Jul 2010
|Published - 1 Aug 2011