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Volatility, thy name is the Irish Electorate…or is it? April 28, 2007

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Irish Election 2007, Irish Labour Party, Irish Politics.
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A very provocative poll from MRBI/TNS in the Irish Times.

Fine Gael have recorded their best result in over a decade with 31%. Fianna Fáil has received 34% which is not the worst they’ve seen but is a long way from the 41.9 % they recorded at the last election. The Greens have dipped to 6% from 8%, Sinn Féin are up from 9% to 10% and Labour is looking at 10%, down 1%. Independents and such like are down 2% at 6%. The PDs are up 2% from 1%, but bearing in mind that the accuracy figure is thought to be +/- 3% it’s not difficult to see problems ahead.

Not much comfort there, it has to be said, for a broad range of people. Indeed the only people who could be cheered by it would be Fine Gael and Sinn Féin.

And for Fine Gael there is one remarkable fly in the ointment. MRBI/TNS have ‘adjusted’ the figures to account for the undercounting of Fine Gael in the past. The most egregious example of same is said to be the 2002 election when IIRC the last MRBI/TNS poll recorded 20% for Fine Gael and they actually received 22.48% on polling day. Now in fairness that remains well within the broad accuracy figure so it seems odd that the new weighting TNS/MRBI has placed upon this poll adjusts the figures for FG from a core vote of 23%, a vote of 28% if one excludes undecided voters and a final figure of 31%. Quite a jump I think most will agree. And perhaps a little overdone in the context of the 2002 figure.

At the same time the recent RedC poll indicates a certain momentum towards Fine Gael, so a substantial increase is not out of question.

But it is the undecided’s who may well determine this election and as it stands we now have 19% (up 1%) of voters still unable or unwilling to made a decision.

That’s one in five voters. Where do they go? The Independents? Back to Fianna Fáil? More to Fine Gael in some sort of Kenny Tide? Because, one way or another, they’re going somewhere, or most of them anyhow.

Best comment so far, to my mind? From an FF strategist on the Pat Kenny radio show on Friday morning who said that he was unaware of any reason for a PD increase and an FG increase and perhaps it indicated that people were beginning to make up their mind. If so that is something of a double edged sword for Fianna Fáil. Second best? Noel Whelan (yeah, he’s been lashed around here, but hey credit where credit is due) for his comment about ‘a certain brand of lagers don’t do election photocalls, but if they did…’ it would be the succession of appearances for Bertie Ahern, first the May installment of the Stormont Executive and Assembly, secondly the meeting between himself and First Minister Paisley at the Boyne and finally his address to Parliament in Westminster.

The only thing is… how far does the North impact on Irish politics, for good or bad?

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