The third poll of Autumn… September 30, 2010Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
This is great stuff and no mistake. I haven’t been able to get the print edition of the IT yet, but… what was released last night is remarkable.
When people were asked who they would vote for if there was a general election tomorrow, the figures for party support when the undecided voters are excluded, compared with the last Irish Times poll on June 11th last, were: Fianna Fáil, 24 per cent (up three points); Fine Gael, 24 per cent (down three points); Labour, 33 per cent (up four points); Sinn Féin, 8 per cent (down two points); Green Party, 2 per cent (down two points); and Independents/ Others, 9 per cent (no change).
This clearly doesn’t tally with the SBP poll at the weekend, indeed it’s hugely divergent as regards both FG and Labour.
And just as the SBP poll prompted the thought that those who might relish its findings were precisely those who wouldn’t have much liked the TV3 poll, well, now we have another turnaround.
Now, perhaps this is due to the following:
The polling company Ipsos MRBI has dropped the adjustment it has applied to the figures for the past decade. It was has reverted to a simple exclusion of undecided voters for the top line figures which are compared to the same figures in the last poll.
But the core votes don’t tell us much more either…
The core vote for the parties (before undecided voters are excluded) compared with the last Irish Times poll was: Fianna Fáil, 19 per cent (up three points); Fine Gael, 20 per cent (down one point); Labour, 27 per cent (up five points); Sinn Féin, 6 per cent (down two points); Green Party, 2 per cent (down one point); Independents/Others, 8 per cent (up one point); and undecided voters, 18 per cent (down five points).
Note that last figure. As IELB noted last night, and he will have a longer post soon here, people are making minds up…
And there remain oddities:
Despite the improvement in Fianna Fáil’s position, just 13 per cent of voters are satisfied with the way the Government is doing its job (a rise of one point) while 83 per cent are dissatisfied (no change).
What to say?
In a way it doesn’t matter if it’s accurate or not, and most likely it’s not. 1 in 3 prepared to vote Labour. Maybe. Probably not. But it is significant in reflecting a churn of sentiment and worse again for some having potential effects on actual political activity and events, however tangentially.
Terrible terrible news for Fine Gael. And Kenny’s performance in the Dáil yesterday won’t have helped much. One wonders if we’ll see coup redux any time soon, particularly if the timeline to the election seems to lengthen much beyond the Winter (although that is, one imagines, contingent on the Budget being passed, and no end of fun yet to come as regards a certain M. McGrath and N. Grealish and their positions on various issues health related).
In that circumstance some might just think it worth looking for a replacement leader who would have a few, maybe more than a few, months to settle in. Particularly as sonofstan noted last night, on these figures FG could lose seats. Now there’s something I’m sure they hadn’t reckoned on. And for the first time there seems to be something of a prospect of the LP moving towards a parity of seats with FG (lower than the LP, I’m sceptical). Again, that’s something I’d imagine FG hadn’t counted on, so perhaps prepare for anything.
Sinn Féin remain mired in the 6-10% band that they have appropriated for the past seven or so years. Far from bad, but no breakthrough (though perhaps they might console themselves that given the movement elsewhere on the Opposition polling side they’ve done remarkably well to consolidate their vote).
Whether the rating for Labour is correct or not, and as I noted earlier in the week I’m dubious, it does provide them with a terrific fillip at just the point they need it. It doesn’t so much matter as to its accuracy as to the perception it conveys that the LP is in the game at a completely differently level to heretofore.
And the intervention by R. Quinn during the week as regards the Dáil pairings underlined that dynamic, so much so that it elicited particularly sour responses from Fergus O’Dowd and Alan Shatter of Fine Gael which merely pointed up the absurdity of the initial decision.
Of course another way of looking at this is that there potentially might be tremendous volatility in the FG/LP vote. But while possible somehow that doesn’t entirely convince me.
Note that as with the SBP poll the Independents and Others votes are holding up quite nicely. Surely, surely that must indicate a fair wind for Joe Higgins and one or two other further left candidates.
All this is to ignore something quite remarkable, polling results, consistent polling results across protracted periods of time whereby the traditional structure of Irish political loyalties have been significantly changed. In a way it’s not that Labour is polling so well in two polls as Fianna Fáil continues to poll so poorly. No wonder there is gloom on the FF benches, and maybe we’ll see more than Grealish and McGrath raise their head above the parapet. An historic low for Fianna Fáil appears to be right ahead.