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That Irish Times poll… February 13, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
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In a way that last IT poll arrived at the worst possible time. Too much else going on. And rendered, if not redundant, to some degree superfluous by the events of the week after it was actually taken. Yet, yet. Consider the overall disposition of the parties and others support:

Fine Gael 25% (down 6%), Labour 10% (down 2%), Fianna Fail 26% (up 5%), Sinn Fein 18% (down 2%), Green Party 1% (down 1%), Independents, Socialist Party, United Left Alliance and Others 20% (up 6%).

Few could look at that and not argue that it generally tallied with the dynamics reflected in the more frequent, and therefore more useful, RedC/Sunday Business Post polls. FG declining, the LP likewise. FF increasing its vote (though perhaps a little ahead of where it might be expected at this point), SF stabilising (to put it kindly), Independents and Others remaining in or around where they have been.

So in that respect it’s more in the specifics than the general that there is room for serious questions. Could Fianna Fáíl be quite that high already? Well, I guess it could. Could SF and the LP have, sort of kind of, switched places? They surely could.
Is it possible there’s a bleed of support – minimal enough, but there nonetheless – from SF to FF? Looks like it, doesn’t it? But as troubling for some is the bleed of support from FG and the LP to FF and Independents (the latter in this poll having gained support considerably). And what of the Independents? It is as if the woes of the ULA etc, or even those of the more high profile TDs – whose profile would be much greater than their attendant formations – are simply irrelevant. Which they probably are.

More broadly it may be that the promissory note deal, thin as it is, has pulled Enda Kenny’s chestnuts from the fire, because consider how firstly FG dipped so low, and worse again has been overtaken by Fianna Fáil. Another week, even a week earlier, and it would be talk about heaves and the coming women and men of Fine Gael – their arrival now stymied more than once by the curious – and in fairness rather effective, in party political terms – tenaciousness of Kenny. But party management only works so well and for so long when poll ratings are so poor, and…well… they’re poor.

Let’s remember that FG is in this poll at a lower level than it was in 2007. That can’t be good. Conversely this may be the sort of cement that Martin needs to successfully retain the leadership of Fianna Fáil. A safe pair of hands indeed. And what of Labour. Finally hitting 10 per cent. That’s an unhappy destination, last arrived at unless I’m mistaken, at election 2007 too.

Adrian Kavanagh at Political Reform has the following extrapolation of seats:

Fine Gael 45, Labour 13, Fianna Fail 54, Sinn Fein 24, Green Party 0, Independents, Socialist Party, United Left Alliance and Others 22. 

Note, by the way the tantalising figures there for FF and SF. Close, very close, to a majority in a 158 seat Dáil. And of course FF and FG would provide a clear majority agin the rest were the chips to fall that way. Of course they won’t, or not precisely. Three years to go, further fluctuations in support. But. This is interesting, and useful. And the point is not that this poll is fixed, but rather that it demonstrates what is achievable by FF and what can be lost by FG and the LP.

We’re seeing how much support or how little can be gained, and how that can be extrapolated. In that respect this is a time of great danger for FG and the LP. And opportunity for FF – and perhaps to a slightly lesser extent for SF.

On this FF is moving up to full party status again. But 26 per cent is still abysmally low in historic terms for that party.

The results of the local elections will be crucial to it in building the structures for successfully contesting Dáil seats again. Though that, naturally, holds true of everyone seeking Dáil seats.

And what, as ever, about those all too healthy Independent figures (note too that this was before the good news about Clare Daly emerged). All too healthy because it is now two years in and they retain their cohesiveness against all the odds, and by the way against my own instincts. What is going on there? And how does it shape what happens in the remaining three or less years of this Dáil?

We can bet that the political parties are studying them with varying degrees of unease and ambition…

On a more parochial note, I see that Kavanagh now suggests that in Dublin Central there would be an FF seat, an SF seat and an Independent seat. Interesting, though I wonder. Who would be the standard bearer for FF? Difficult to quite believe that one, at least as matters stand now.

But again, that’s it. It’s what could potentially happen given the swings in public opinion.

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Comments»

1. CL - February 13, 2013

Ideologically it makes no difference what combination from F.F, FG., Labour, and S.F, forms the next coalition govt. Old wine in old bottles.

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CMK - February 13, 2013

Off the point a bit, but indicative nonetheless of where SF are headed. Gerry Adams demonstrates his commitment to an ‘Ireland of Equals’ by having his prostate procedure done in the US and paid for, to the tune of 30,000 euro by a US capitalist. Now, I don’t begrudge, necessarily, Adams’ feeling that he wanted to get this done discretely and quickly and that the US was the best place for that. But it doesn’t bode well for how the SF elite perceive themselves that he didn’t opt to have it done in the public system here or in the NHS in the North. If he were in significant pain then he would surely have been prioritised. If it were a routine case he would have to wait like tens of thousands of other men for his turn. I would have thought it would have been politic for a putative ‘Left’ party to demonstrate some solidarity. But, apparently not.

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LeftAtTheCross - February 13, 2013

Not taking away from your point at all there CMK but if I was Adams I don’t think I’d trust any medical consultant in the NHS of Irish system (public of private) with a knife anywhere near my prostate. One can imagine the kudos in those circles to be the one who deprived Adams of erectile function.

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CMK - February 13, 2013

I suppose there would some kudos in, eh, ‘decommissioning’ Gerry.

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LeftAtTheCross - February 13, 2013

Ouch! :-)

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CL - February 14, 2013

Bill Flynn who paid for Adams’ operation is not just any American capitalist. He is chairman of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy. Any claims by Sinn Fein to be ‘anti-imperialist’ cannot be taken seriously.
http://ncafp.org/about-us/awards

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2. irishelectionliterature - February 13, 2013

I saw an interesting graph last week which was of combined SF/Lab support which has been around 30% since 2011 and combined FF/FG support which has been around 50% since 2011.
Now it may be coincidence but there might be some truth in the voting blocks.

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3. D_D - February 13, 2013

Am I right in thinking that the Irish Times poll actually had a category for Independents and Others, and not for Independents, Socialist Party, United Left Alliance and Others, and that this latter was Adrian’s elaboration?

Anyway, a point on the famous “objective conditions” in relation to the ULA. Whatever other measurements are used to guage the readiness of the working class for a -resolute- ULA (demos, strikes, campaigns, numbers joining – nonaligned members actually were the largest cohort in the ULA), this poll surely shows an ‘objective’ large minority support (20%, up 6%) for a new left force like the ULA, if it or its nearest equivalant was taken seriously by the left.

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Jack Jameson - February 13, 2013

Bear in mind that that 20% undet “Others” includes the likes of Shane Ross, Healy Rae, John Crown, etc, as well as Ming and Mick Wallace along with Clare Daly, RBB, Joe Higgins, Maureen O’Sullivan et al.

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4. D_D - February 13, 2013

And: “I understand that the share of the vote for “others” in the poll was 32% in Dublin” (Paddy Healy on another thread).

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