jump to navigation

The third poll of Autumn… September 30, 2010

Posted 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.


1. Dotski - September 30, 2010

MRBI adjustment makes no difference (as I predicted on my blog-ahem)

Seats on theses ratings look like
LP 66
FG 45 (a good number of these the result of large LP surpluses)
FF 40
SF 7
GP 0


2. Bartley - September 30, 2010

Not to rain on the parade or anything, but has anyone factored in the over-statement of Labour support in the polls taken in the run-up to the last local and euro elections?

IIRC the poll numbers were hovering around 20%, whereas the actual share of the vote on the day was more like low to mid-teens.


jc - September 30, 2010

Labour received approx 14% of the vote in the local elections compared to a rough 20% in pre-election polls. This is a 30% discrepancy. Knock 30% off 33% and Labour would still be on 23%, which is 4% above its previous high water mark of 19% in the 1992 election. I think that Labour would be delighted with that result, which seems realistic based on the various polls of recent months. Labour on 23% is a game changer in Irish politics, even if it doesn’t lead to a Labour Taoiseach. Also, bear in mind that Labour will attract transfers from all over the map, which will likely give it a seat bonus. This, of course,requires sufficient (and the right) candidates.


WorldbyStorm - September 30, 2010

That’s true jc, though I think Bartley’s caution as to the larger figure is completely correct. And of course all depends on elections being called now, on these figures. More time to go, though how much…


Dotski - September 30, 2010

from elsewhere,


“….Evidence cited for this is Labour’s (relatively) poor performance in the 2007 Local/Euro elections, polling 14-15%, compared to 23% in MRBI, and 18% in RedC.

Of course, non-Dail elections always return quite different results to opinion polls, as people see it as quite a different question. In the locals, many of the FF-to-LP swing voters stuck with the local man, or went for the Indo. In the Euros, LP got as many votes as it needed to elect it’s 3 serious candidates, with many other LP supporters switching to other candidates, particularly in Dublin, where De Rossa was safe, but they wanted to see FF lose their only seat. Certainly, I was tempted. There were others who voted for Joe Higgins, SF, or even Patricia McKenna in protest at Labour’s support for Lisbon – a big issue in the Euro-campaign, and something up to 40% of LP voters still had misgivings about. In a General Election, you don’t really have that luxury. You’re electing a Government, and in the current climate, it seems unlikely to me that many will be wasting their vote in an election as important as the next one, particularly if a handful of seats could be the difference between Kenny and Gilmore being Taoiseach. This point in particular is a narrative that FG strategists are not keen to see take wings.”

Polls rarely pick up intentions for LEs & EEs, they generally pick up how ppl feel about GEs, and where that’s unusually different (and I don’;t think it’s a leap to think that this is such a time) they are going to be out on non-GE elections. MRBI and Lansdowne both have excellent records on GEs, and you can’t write that off on the basis of one day where there was no GE.


WorldbyStorm - September 30, 2010

Very true, a lot more competition on the left…


3. Terry McDemott - September 30, 2010

On the one hand it is a game-changer and a major breakthrough. On the other what are Labour saying that is radically different? (I don’t mean radical in itself but different from the mainstream). I am not asking for them to call for the overthrow of capitalism but given that the system has been shaken by an epic crisis to show some fucking ambition. Pat Rabbitte and Joan Burton have said they accept there has to be 3 billion in cuts-why? Who says? The markets? On the radio last week Eamon Gilmore was asked where Labour would find money and he said ‘social welfare fraud’- talk about fear of upsetting the SINDO. If Labour went for it and expressed the anger people fear they would lose a lot of media friends (such as they are) but win people who desire someting new. I fear Gilmore left his radiclaism in the stickies, Rabbitte in USI and Quinn certainly never had any.
By the way, Jack O’Connor praised the unamed Labour TDs who showed up at the ICTU protest yesterday: there was also an MEP (Joe Higgins) a Westminster MP (G. Adams) and several TDs (SF) who actually took part in the fucking march. No mention (or platform for them).


Mark P - September 30, 2010

Labour are showing ambition – ambition to be in a right wing government and take as many Ministerial posts as possible. They aren’t being insufficiently ambitious when it comes to challenging right wing policies. They have no desire to challenge such policies in the first place.

As for the ICTU protest, it is of course worth noting that all of the work publicising the event was done by the socialist left. ICTU did nothing to encourage a decent turn out, either because they are incompetent or because they didn’t want a big turn out.


Joe - September 30, 2010

A colleague who is a member of SIPTU tells me he received from his branch a note about the demo telling him participation was mandatory! So it’s not 100% true that all the publicising was done by the socialist left.
I, on the other hand, am a member of IMPACT and I’m on the email list for their news bulletins. I got zero info from them about the demo.


Mark P - September 30, 2010

What branch is your friend in?

ICTU in my view wanted a docile protest of perhaps three hundred, mostly bureaucrats. Just enough to get them on the news. They absolutely did not want a large or angry protest, something which would serve to put pressure on them as well as on the government. They didn’t produce so much as a poster and if the produced a leaflet they did their best to keep them safely stored away from human sight.


WorldbyStorm - September 30, 2010

I’m in SIPTU and I also got email notification, not hugely in advance, but in advance.

Terry’s point earlier is very well made. There’s such a palpable fear of saying anything that might rock the boat. It’s remarkable.


Joe - September 30, 2010

I don’t disagree with you Mark P, about what ICTU wanted.

As for what branch my friend is in? If it’s insurance, he’s got some, if it’s politics, he votes for the area man and if it’s religion, he’s saved.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: