So many polls… and the Seanad? October 3, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
…and some interesting similarities and differences between them. But also some clear trends, and in that there’s bad bad news for the Labour Party.
Liberius has some interesting thoughts here in relation to the latest Sunday Independent/Millward Brown poll. There’s not a lot to say, all the movement bar one, is well within the margin of error.
Fine Gael 28% (+1), Labour 10% (+2), Fianna Fáil 27% (+2), Sinn Féin 19% (-2), Independents/Others 15% (-5)
It does though, in comparison to the RedC/SBP polls appear to overstate the Fianna Fáil vote and understate the Independent/Others vote. Now this may well be sensible. It is possible that there are a lot of former FF voters out there merely champing at the bit to get another go to vote for their favourite party. But, it’s a bit difficult to understand why when the SBP and the Sunday Times in their poll had Independent and Others polling well into the 20s that SI/MB would show them plummeting quite so sharply down into the mid-teens.
I can’t think of a single political event in the recent past that would precipitate such a fall and given the consistency of the other polls in this regard it is to be taken with some degree of caution. Otherwise it’s all pretty much as one might expect. FG is sitting within the band of support that the other polls indicates, that being the mid to late twenties. Labour is at or around 10%, fairly consistent. Even the SF vote while higher than RedC and B&A is close enough to their 17/18%.
So, a random variation? Sign of a growing disenchantment with Independents and Others? Indications that things are moving back to normal, whatever that may be in a context where Sinn Féin is now the third largest party in polling terms and consistently so?
Throw in this week’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll which as doctor five notes here has the following results:
FG 26% (+2), SF 23% (+2), FF 22% (-4), Ind 21% (+3), Lab 6% (-3), GP 2% (-)
The obvious divergences are IND/Others which are much higher than the SI/MB poll, FF which is considerably lower and SF which is quite a bit higher. But the Irish Times poll would appear to be closer overall to the RedC polls. Even that truly dismal rating for Labour is not that far off. The IT trumpets the fact that FG is the ‘most popular’ party but it’s not much of an achievement when SF, FF and FG are all in the 20s by their own rating, with SF the second largest party. I’m deeply unconvinced by the latter figure. I would still think the ranking is FG/FF and SF, with the latter most likely in the high teens. Still, what a difference a few years makes in terms of political change.
And out there we have the huge vote for Independents/Others, a genuine bloc that now sits in the political structure and looks like it ain’t going anywhere (though that may be true in more ways than one). Damien Loscher in the IT is quoted as suggesting yet again that what this indicates is an appetite for a ‘new party’, but let’s not forget the Others in the Independent/Other area, and additionally that it could well be, and this would seem to be borne out by the results of 2011, that voters are actually quite happy with the glory that is that most variegated of creatures, the Independents.
Let’s add one more aspect to this, Adrian Kavanagh’s seat projection for the IT/Ipsos MRBI poll, as IEL linked to here:
Fine Gael 54, Fianna Fail 39, Sinn Fein 38, Independents and Others 27, Green Party 0, Labour Party 0.
Now Adrian Kavanagh would be the first to accept that these are projections, not predictions, but it must make for grim reading for many an LP TD or member. And on that thought isn’t it interesting how placid the LP appears to be from the outside at this point in time.
I noted in relation the RedC and B&A polls that there’s a strange sort of stability out there. A comfort zone as it were. And that remains the case – for most. Will the referendum upset that, assuming that it is won by the government? Possibly, but then remember that the date was set in advance of the Budget, and quite deliberately so. That suggests that for all the cosmetic positioning over €2.5bn or €3.1bn the government is well aware that it is that which will cause them real problems, whatever about a transitory boost from a referendum win. And Labour must be increasingly aware that that positioning has done them no real good at all. Truth is people don’t like ‘austerity’ and sterile arguments about whether it’s a lot of austerity or even more austerity as if there’s any fundamental difference are lost on voters. And are – to put it one way – losing Labour, in particular.
Meanwhile Enda Kenny has been remarkably, perhaps bizarrely, fortunate in relation to the referendum. The unwillingness to debate the issue with those taking a different view is a bad sign, suggesting an essential unseriousness, or worse again a sort of arrogance. But then, he’s the Taoiseach and in this polity under its current structure that’s the way of it. That too is an educative moment in its own way.
I have to be honest, my potential vote in the referendum oscillates between abhorrence at the very institution of the Seanad and its voting process, as mentioned previously, and genuine anger at the manner in which the referendum campaign (and indeed the run-up to it, most particularly the refusal to place the fate of the Seanad in the context of the Constitutional Convention) has been approached by Enda Kenny and Fine Gael. The conceptual dishonesty that somehow change or reform or whatever one chooses to call it is impossible from the get go is irritating but not a deal breaker given the undemocratic nature of the Seanad.
However, the lack of willingness to engage with those who disagree though is something else again. As a citizen I think it’s reasonable to expect that the very least someone proposing wholesale constitutional change should do, whether one agrees with the proposition or not, is to make their case publicly and be willing to do so face to face with those who take a different line.
So what I’m trying to work out is the good from a bad process – i.e. the abolition of the Seanad but in a context where those proposing it are unwilling to even debate the issue publicly – an egregious misuse of the democratic system. I can’t decide. Do others share that feeling?