As the generation of stable government becomes the most pressing political concern of the day, it is worth asking whether this issue was an important one in the minds of voters when they cast their vote. 

The Exit Poll allows us to identify how many voters were driven by the desire to have an effective government formed, and which parties they voted for. 

Professor John Garry, of QUB’s School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, analyses the results

In answer to the question 'What was the one issue or problem that most influenced your decision as to how you voted?', 9% of all voters said 'stable government'.

There are dramatic differences across parties. 

Over one fifth (21%) of Fine Gael voters emphasised stable government compared with only  2% of Sinn Féin voters and 2% of AAA-PBP voters. 

The issue of effective government formation was also low on the radar of Fianna Fáil voters (only 6%).

In contrast, there were two issues in particular that were emphasised by Sinn Féin and AAA-PBP voters but to which Fine Gael voters were oblivious. 

Almost one fifth of SF/AAA-PBP voters cited 'water charges' as the most important issue driving their vote choice, compared with a mere 2% of FG voters (and only 1% of Labour voters cited this controversial issue). 

Similarly, between 12% and 14% of Sinn Fein and AAA-PBP voters cited 'homelessness and lack of housing' as their top issue but only 1% of FG voters did so.

One might characterise these quite stark differences as relating to an underlying class divide in Irish politics, with working class and left wing issues of water charges and homelessness driving SF and AAA-PBP and more middle class conservative types who supported Fine Gael  being concerned with political stability.

This is true up to a point. When one looks at the social class basis of party support, Sinn Féin emerges as strongly working class.

Almost one quarter of C2DE social class voters supported Sinn Féin compared to only 10% of middle class ABC1 voters. 

In contrast FG voters tend to be middle class: 30% middle class compared to 18% working class. 

However, AAA-PBP emerges as essentially class-less in terms of support base (4.4% ABC1 and 5.4% C2DE). 
Similarly, Fianna Fáil attracts support almost equally across the class categories, as does the Labour Party (tending to be slightly middle class).

Analysis: Prof John Garry