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Bring me the spreadsheet of Leo Varadkar… March 31, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
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While we work through the implications of NAMA, let’s for light relief turn to an highly entertaining post on the self-same Deputy Varadkar’s blog wherein he number crunches the SBP poll (and isn’t that poll the gift that just keeps on giving?) to arrive at a most astonishing conclusion (hat tip to Cian) .

For he has decided that:

My spreadsheet is based on the swing indicated in the poll being replicated evenly across the country.  Of course, this won’t happen. 

So we could stop there? No, apparently not.

There will be regional variations (swing to FG and Labour  and FF collapse will be greater in Dublin) and lots of local variations especially where the PDs are gone or where there is a strong independent. 

Don’t worry if you think that’s not quite rigorous enough…

But these things usually even themselves out. 

Hmmm… And to puncture the doubts of the… er… doubters he continues:

  I am also assuming an that left-of-centre voters will transfer strongly to each other and that terminal transfers will favour the non-FF candidate.

Well, when you put it that way… well I know I’m convinced. Although… wait a second… we’ll come back to that.

So, what he’s come up with, and in fairness he does describe it as ‘counting chickens again’ is:

The result would be FG 72 seats, FF 45, LAB 33, SF 8, Greens 4 and Others 4 – Higgins, O’Sullivan, Lowry and Murphy. 

This is exciting. Perhaps too exciting. As is the following:

Based on these figures FF would slip to 45 seats with no seats in Kerry North, Tipperary North or Dublin SE.  They’d win one in all rest and two in Carlow-Killkenny (just about), Galway West (assuming Grealish goes FF), Louth (due to Kirk) and Laois-Offaly (only chance of 3).  Possible casualties include Michael McGrath, Martin Mansergh, Ned O’Keefe, Margaret Conlon, both of the Andrews or even Hanafin, Michael Mulcahy, Conor Lenihan, Peter Power and Beverly Flynn or Daragh Calleary.

What of his own?

FG would have its best election ever [Presumably so much better than under that slugabed Garret, hence the seventy two, our Garret only getting 70, the best FG performance... er... ever - wbs] with a remarkable 4 seats in Mayo (unlikely but possible), and the possibility 3 in Galway East, Cavan-Monaghan and Laois-Offaly.   Seems unlikely but the that’s how the figures fall.

Yeah, and the figures never lie.

Check out these…

A Gilmore Gale would bring Labour to 33 seats equalling the Spring Tide with fewer votes.  They’d take 14 seats in Dublin alone the same as Fine Gael.  A big problem for Labour, however, is the absence of candidates in areas where they could have a real chance with the right candidates; Galway East, Clare, Laois-Offaly, Louth and Cavan-Monaghan.

Well, perhaps. But what of this…

The collapse in Fianna Fail would grant a reprieve for the Greens with White, Gogarty and Cuffe losing out but Boyle making a surprise comeback but only if SF and FF transfers favour him over Fine Gael.

Now, I’m no expert, but the idea that SF transfers will go to the GP in any volume seems, a tad unlikely, given the breach that their participation in Government represents for many many on the left.

But what of the following, and once more in fairness to Varadkar he writes it through gritted teeth no doubt.

Sinn Fein will become a Dail party in its own right with two possible gains in Donegal and possible gains in Dublin Mid-West and South-West.

Yeah. Maybe. I’d say 6 on a good day. 8 on a remarkable one. Okay, the collapse of Fianna Fáil might bring about those circumstances. But… we’ll see.

So, cut to the chase Deputy.

The likely outcome would be an FG-Labour coaltion under Enda Kenny with 105 seats.  FF, Labour and SF combined would only have 81 and they’d need the Greens or Indepedents [sic] to get it together.  To do it without Labour, Fine Gael would need to do business with SF and the Greens.  That’s not going to happen.

I’d be highly highly dubious that if the numbers came up right FG wouldn’t make some effort to talk to the GP. Granted SF is a different matter, at least today.

And in this utopia there’s room for even better… better than utopia you say? Why yes, one where there’s no reason to give anything to those pesky Labour Party people and their social democracy…

However, if Fine Gael can push up towards 40%, a single party government becomes a real possibility.  FF nearly got an overall majority in 2002 with the same share of the vote.

Not that the Deputy isn’t a cautious fellow (and it may just be my browser, but he doesn’t allow for comments… wise man)…

But it all comes with a serious health warning.  The Election is months (or years away) and a week is a long time in politics.

How right he is. How right he is.

It may seem churlish of me to pour cold water upon his critique, particularly given how we’re more than happy to muse on the runes (or SBP polls – whichever comes first)… Still… I think we could all benefit from a good hard look at that spreadsheet of his. I really do.

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Comments»

1. Wednesday - March 31, 2010

A big problem for Labour, however, is the absence of candidates in areas where they could have a real chance with the right candidates; Galway East, Clare, Laois-Offaly, Louth and Cavan-Monaghan.

Can’t speak for the other areas, but I’m finding it hard to come up with anyone who could be “the right candidate” to win Labour a seat in Cavan-Monaghan. SF have almost as much chance of winning a seat in DL-RD.

I’d be highly highly dubious that if the numbers came up right FG wouldn’t make some effort to talk to the GP. Granted SF is a different matter

Not that different.

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WorldbyStorm - March 31, 2010

From the perspective of FG they are. :)

But yes, depends on how desperate FG are to get into power if some other alternative can be fashioned by other parties to them and Labour.

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Wednesday - March 31, 2010

From the perspective of FG they are.

It was the perspective of FG I was referring to!

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irishelectionliterature - March 31, 2010

In 1992 Labours Ann Gallagher lost out on the last seat in Cavan-Monaghan by 1000 votes.

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2. DublinDilettante - March 31, 2010

Great title, WBS. :D

I think the magical neoliberal thinking which informs Varadkar’s economics has spilled over into his psephology.

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3. Observer - March 31, 2010

My best guess is that an election now – on these poll figures – would give FF just 47 seats, as against 69 for FG and 31 for Labour. RED C suggests the Green vote would hold up quite well, enabling it to keep 3 of its six seats, while SF could grow to 11 with Others winning 6. In practice, and following the patterns of recent elections, we might expect to see others do a little better and SF a little worse than this, but there is no reason to assume any major change from these figures.

That’s Michael Marsh’s stab at it. More or less the same “astonishing conclusion.”

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WorldbyStorm - March 31, 2010

You’re right. Still astonishing. Even more now do I want to see the spreadsheet! ;)

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4. Wednesday - March 31, 2010

In 1992 Labours Ann Gallagher lost out on the last seat in Cavan-Monaghan by 1000 votes.

And in 1997 her vote dropped by about half (neatly coinciding with SF’s rise in that constituency, it must be said). Labour locally have never recovered, their candidate in 2002 and 2007 couldn’t even muster 1000 votes. I know these are strange times but the idea of them being able to take a seat there in the next election is just a little too far out to seriously contemplate.

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Paddy Matthews - March 31, 2010

They did come from nowhere to within 23 votes of taking a county council seat in Cavan last summer:

http://electionsireland.org/counts.cfm?election=2009L&cons=451&ref=

I can’t see them doing much in Monaghan, but the likely SF standard-bearer in Cavan has a truckload of baggage as far as the non-committed voter would be concerned.

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Wednesday - March 31, 2010

That was a good result for them all right. But he was the only candidate they stood for the Council in the entire county (though I think they might have a town councillor somewhere) and to my knowledge he was not previously a party member. Those facts say a lot about the state of the organisation in the constituency, don’t they?

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Paddy Matthews - March 31, 2010

They do – but from my memory there was even less of an organisation back in 1992.

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5. Wednesday - April 1, 2010

There was also less competition back in 1992, when the election was basically a straight contest between FF and FG. There is now a strong SF in the constituency and a couple independents who have polled well in various elections – you’d have to say the likelihood is that they rather than Labour will be the ones to benefit from an FF collapse, if it happens.

Of course you never say never in politics, especially these days. But Varadkar described Labour as having a “real” chance in the next GE and on the evidence that’s an enormous overstatement of their prospects in the constituency.

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