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That Sunday Business Post poll… October 28, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

Many thanks to AK from the IELB (and in way this parish too) for the following analysis of the most recent Sunday Business Post poll.

Looking at the poll initially it’s Fianna Fáil’s 18 per cent that catches the eye. 23 or 24 per cent was assumed to be their bottom line as despite everything they had been solid at that level in Red C Polls since April.

As a sample Fianna Fáil polled just over 18% (74,302) of the vote in the 2009 European Elections in Dublin. On the last count Eoin Ryan had 76,956 votes. Fianna Fail are now at 14% in Dublin and even less transfer friendly.

Look at 3 seaters such as the two Tipperary’s. Fianna Fáil have 3 TDS, on 18% they could possibly lose all three seats. That’s how bad it is. Six months ago they would have easily held on to two. At that level few if any FF seats are safe. Not alone that but it’s going to be almost impossible to implement any kind of vote management in lots of constituencies where there are two incumbents. Fianna Fáil’s predicament in Dublin is exacerbated by the demise of the PDs, one of their major sources of transfers.

Again Fine Gael are solid with a gain of 1% to 32%. So Kenny’s leadership is safe for another while at least. They are 5 points up from their 2007 election performance. Given the perception that they are more supportive of the Governments policies than Labour, Its hard to see them going much higher.
Labour at 27% is an increase back to where they were in June. The cost of the bank bailout must surely have been part of this gain. Whilst Labour have committed themselves to the €3bn in cuts, it is worth asking did they commit themselves to the €5bn to €7bn being talked about at the minute? I suspect too that Labour would do well to take a leaf out of Sinn Féins recent proposals “…for TDs salaries to be cut by 20 per cent and Ministers salaries by 40 per cent.”
Sinn Féin are down 1%, they have come up with some decent policies (an example above) but still appear to have an issue in terms of the 10% support barrier. It’s a pity we don’t have a decent breakdown of Independents/others as they have gone from 6% in June to 10% now. Some of it must be a shift to some of the Parties on the Left but it would be interesting if they could separate Independents and small parties.

Back then to Fianna Fáil’s prospects…

Pat Leahy in his analysis made an excellent point regarding the drop in Fianna Fáil’s vote.

Why this change and why now?

One of the most important messages of the long and regular series of Red C polls is that a lot of the political flim-flam that preoccupies the political classes and political media goes over the head of ordinary voters. They simply don’t notice or care what politicians are saying most of the time.
However, some events do break through and register as profound and lasting movement on the political matrix. This is the first Sunday Business Post poll since the announcement of the full cost of the banking rescue (Black Thursday).

He’s right too. The cost of the Bank Bailout led many to question if Saint Brian was all he was cracked up to be and if Fianna Fáil even knew what they were doing.

It’s also a case that a lot of the disgust over the whole crisis has previously been aired towards the political classes rather than Fianna Fáil, “They’re all the same … only in it for themselves…” and other staples. Fianna Fáil now talk about ‘peoples faith in politics’ in what is an attempt to associate the opposition to themselves.

The problem now for Fianna Fáil is that we have another “event” in the Budget coming up. Last year we had Lenihan’s Levies and some other cuts that were direct to the pocket of workers. One factor that stopped a total collapse in FF support was the anti-Public sector cheerleaders who were only too delighted to see Public Servants pay being cut, ‘living in the real world’ and so on.

Now though everyone will be hit both in their pocket and through services. (as an aside I was talking to someone who works in a hospice. As patients pass away, their beds are no longer being filled. So preparations are well underway.) As we know ‘everything is on the table’ (bar of course judges pay and pensions).

The poll also asked if voters would prefer the government to make cuts in public services rather than raise taxes? 45% agreed, 33% disagreed. So we have a split over cuts and taxes and that is without even asking about the time-frame all this should be done in.

The budget cannot be done with just cuts alone. They will have to raise taxes too. There will be some of the usual ‘tough but fair’ statements about the budget. So if they are cutting, they will have to cut all payments. Child benefit looks as if it will be cut, payments for each child to be the same.
To please some of the papers they might put a limit on the number of children that can be claimed for. They will also put limits on the amount of dole money someone can get. This to hit the stereotypical family with 42 children living in a council house minting it in welfare where it wouldn’t be worth their while getting a job.

Services will be cut and I’m wondering, even with the Croke Park Deal in place can there be new Public Service Levies on the public sector. That is if that deal survives.

As for tax increases, I think they can get away with an increase in the levy. A Property Tax though is something that will kill them. How do you value a property at the minute? Then for many at the minute having a property is a liability rather than an asset. What about landlords, do they pay? What about NAMAed apartment blocks that are rented out as they can’t sell them? Then we’ll have Mr and Mrs Angry all over Ireland who are “paying a property Tax to pay public servants massive pensions”

This of course is only a small sample.

So the budget is going to hurt almost everyone. Some more so than others. Some are prepared to accept pain, others not. No matter what it wont be ‘fair’.

A few examples…
On Monday I listened to Dermot Ahern defend salaries of up to 200k a year for those developers in NAMA.
 Then there is the simple things such as a minister using the car or jet in a manner they shouldn’t have. Even the recent corruption charges councillors, they are small fry, yet they are being charged whilst nobody has yet to face any charges as regards the effective economic collapse of our country.

So I think the budget will make people even more aware of the failings of ‘the system’ allied to them being hit in their pockets. Fianna Fáil on 14% next time?

The one question asked by those that only take in ‘events’ will be asked again… “I don’t understand why they can’t go after the bankers?”.


1. Jonathan - October 28, 2010

Can I add something to this, a a person who’d be quite left-leaning and a bit of a lightweight as regards politics (I try to keep track of things, but work and health make it difficult to read every utterance by parties and so forth). At the last budget I watched the speeches by the opposition and the only one that impressed me was Sinn Fein’s Arthur Morgan. It was absolutely clear and unequivocal on the impact of the budget on the poor, and backed up with facts and well-made points (as I remember it). And Sinn Fein seem to have the potential to be a real opposition party, one that does challenge the cosy consensus of the big three that “of course, we (by which we mean ‘the peasants’) must feel the pain”. Is it fair to say that?
However, there are two massive drawbacks to Sinn Fein as I see it. The first is the Northern question. I feel very reluctant to vote for a party whose leadership is unelected in the Republic, and whose main focus seems to be the tribal politics of NI. Imagine if, by some bizarre chain of events, we ended up with a SF Tanaiste, when all (as I believe) the decisions would be made by the big boys in the North? I know it might seem laughable to advocate a split, but I think the Northern and Southern branches of SF need to be entirely autonomous (or at least of equal importance) before I’d vote for them.
The second is the paramilitary question. I personally have a big problem with a party that still celebrates gunmen and bombers as heroes, and turns up to memorials like that of the Edentubber ‘martyrs’. The Jerry McCabe situation also springs to mind. The idea of killing another human being is pretty repulsive to me. There may be situations where it’s necessary to resort to violence, and I don’t know how I would have acted had I lived in NI during the Troubles, but I think it’s wrong to celebrate killers, especially as their 30-year murder campaign kinda failed in its objective (to unite Ireland).
These are just my opinions. You may find them naive, simplistic, or even laughable, but I would hope that you would reply in the spirit of informing me if you feel I am wrong, rather than attacking me for this. If I wanted abuse, I’d go to politics.ie!


DublinDilettante - October 28, 2010

Jonathan, I think all the concerns you raise are entirely legitimate and not naive at all. From my own point of view, Sinn Féin are striking (sometimes plausible and even valuable, just for the sake of having dissenting voices in parliament) left-wing, anti-consensus poses because it gives them a Unique Selling Point amongst the Dáil parties. In reality, in Northern Ireland (where of course they’re in government with the far-right DUP), they are implementing precisely the same policies they rail against in the Republic.

It’s fashionable in left-wing circles to exclaim “I’m no pacifist” whenever the issue of political violence arises, and while I’m not one myself, an abhorrence of violence, which always and inevitably affects the poor more than anyone else, is not something to be sneered at, but to be commended. That said, all our major political parties are complicit in violence to some extent. I need hardly raise the issue of FF/Green support for Shannon’s use in the war on the Iraqi people, as well as rendition and (inevitably) torture.

The NI-based leadership is a problem for SF itself, as the Northern bloc is pretty clueless about events on the ground in the Republic and often steers the party clumsily here.

For what it’s worth, my advice is not to take SF’s anti-cuts rhetoric at face value (never advisable for the pronouncements of a party of any tendency) but to examine their actual record in power in Northern Ireland and at local level in the Republic. I believe you’ll find a better and more productive echo of your anger in other left parties, alliances and community groups, and won’t suffer the inevitable disillusionment when SF jump into bed with Labour and/or FG in a year or two’s time, as it’s very likely they will.


2. LeftAtTheCross - October 28, 2010


Nothing laughable there, the view you’re expressing is widespread enough.

On the first point, the all island nationalist focus of SF is such that a separation of branches between south and north would be unlikely I’d have thought.

On the second point, the historical violence. I’m no SF apologist but taking the long view one would have to make comparisons with the origins of FF/FG in the War of Independence, or with other national movements, the ANC, Fatah etc etc. If those movements can claim legitimacy, and receive it in the eyes of their local supporters as well as on the global stage, then why not SF?

I’m sure you’ll get other opinions from commentators who have stronger views on the national question.


3. Dr. X - October 28, 2010

I don’t find your opinions absurd at all, Jonathan.

In fact they’re pretty close to my own views on the Shinner question.

Caomhín O’Caolain is the only TD I’ve ever heard attack inequality in this society, and I’ve always found his exercises in that regard impressive; but like you, I find the whole ‘killing innocent people’ thing a deal-breaker.


LeftAtTheCross - October 28, 2010

I find the whole ‘killing innocent people’ thing a deal-breaker.

I’d fully agree with that.

There’s more than just 30 odd years that separates the WP and SF in that regard, it’s not just about the passing of time.


De Northside Socialist - October 28, 2010

“Caomhín O’Caolain is the only TD I’ve ever heard attack inequality in this society”

Do you remember Joe Higgins, former TD, now an MEP? Not afraid to attack inequality…


Dr. X - October 28, 2010

Higgins, Higgins. . . the name is vaguely familiar now you mention it.

I meant to say, of course, ‘sitting TD’.


4. Joe - October 28, 2010

Hi Jonathan. Good post. In general I’d agree with most of what you say. Realistically though, SF won’t do any real (as opposed to cosmetic) North South split nor will they stop commemorating their dead heroes – it’s part of what they are.
I have to haul you up on one line which I’m guessing you didn’t really mean: “but I think it’s wrong to celebrate killers, especially as their 30-year murder campaign kinda failed in its objective (to unite Ireland).” That doesn’t mean it would be all right to celebrate them if they had succeeded, does it? They were wrong to kill full stop, imho. In doing what they did, they put back for generations any hope of the people of Northern Ireland being united in any meaningful way.
This earlier quote is heartening though: “At the last budget I watched the speeches by the opposition and the only one that impressed me was Sinn Fein’s Arthur Morgan. It was absolutely clear and unequivocal on the impact of the budget on the poor, and backed up with facts and well-made points”. Keep it up, Arthur and SF.


WorldbyStorm - October 28, 2010

Entirely agree re your last point.

Re voting for SF, etc. I remember the first time I gave them so much as a preference in the mid 1990s I was actually sleepless about it the previous night. But then – and I take the point about qualitative differences between OIRA and PIRA ceasefires etc – I don’t think for anyone for a WP background to vote for them would be in some senses as difficult once ceasefires had occurred. Though a counter argument is that it was much much easier to ceasefire OIRA than PIRA.

I also think that we have to be careful about the perfect driving out the better. SF isn’t perfect to me at all. But… in the Dáil its the only formation that comes near to articulating my values (though some LP people are good).


sonofstan - October 28, 2010

Haven’t crossed that rubicon yet, but realised I might one day during the last locals when I was canvassed by their baby candidate – explaining to someone who was 12 when the GFA was signed that I wouldn’t vote for his party because of stuff that happened years before he was born, gave me pause: And once the founding generation are gone, well…. who knows what SF will be like? or capable of?


irishelectionliterature - October 28, 2010

My son asked me recently who the IRA were?
I nearly fell out of my standing.


eamonndublin - October 29, 2010

” once the founding generation are gone ” – SoS – I think the founders of SF are well gone from over 100 years ago.


5. Tomboktu - October 28, 2010

Fianna Fáil on 14% next time?

When I read that at work this morning, and when I recalled that AK is no mere punter, but is a professional in the field, I heard a choir of angels and nearly went to heaven at the prospect.

And me an atheist.

FF on 14% being seriously considered as a possibility. Oh wow, oh wow, oh wooowwww.


ejh - October 28, 2010

Yeah but it’s like seeing Liverpool in the relegation zone, you know that it’s not going to end up like that.


LeftAtTheCross - October 28, 2010

But it makes for nice thoughts as one drifts off to sleep of a night (on both counts).


soubresauts - October 29, 2010

Liverpool to escape relegation, you think? Reina and Torres may be about to leave…


Dr. X - October 29, 2010

14%? Maybe not next time, but Real Soon Now. . .


eamonndublin - October 29, 2010

I remember when Haughey died and an atheist friend saying that it was times like this they would love to believe in Hell.


6. irishelectionliterature - October 28, 2010

I’m no professional, an enthusiastic amateur.

After I wrote the piece I read Johnny Fallons Latest piece. Its is pretty good, especially considering its from a Fianna Failer (supposedly writing a biography of Cowen at the minute). It contains the line…
“whether or not Fianna Fail will recover and be a force again in politics is something that is very much in doubt”


Tomboktu - October 30, 2010

I apologise. I was mixing you up with another AK.


7. Captain Rock - October 28, 2010

‘Yeah but it’s like seeing Liverpool in the relegation zone, you know that it’s not going to end up like that.’

Now your talking…
On the SF question, and being of a syndicalist bent, their TDs were the only ones not to cross the picket lines on the Dail during last year’s strike.


8. soubresauts - October 29, 2010

Note that the Greens are also an all-Ireland party. See:

Of course, as regards the RoI, it matters little. However, the northern Greens might soon realize that they’d do better to hang onto the coattails of Caroline Lucas rather than John Gormley.


9. Jonathan - October 29, 2010

I just want to say thanks to everyone who replied to my comment, and apologies for not replying individually; you’ve given me much to mull! To be honest, my very strong misgivings aside, I’d be almost tempted to vote for SF simply because they act as a kind of spectre at the feast in the Dail, being the only voice articulating so much of what sickens me about where this country is going. Of course, it’s very easy for politicians to hold principles if they’ve no chance of ever putting them into practise. Then I remember reading the news in the eighties, when coffin after coffin was being lowered into Northern soil as a result of actions that they still view as entirely legitimate and laudable (correct me if I’m wrong on this), and my attitude changes.
“SF won’t do any real (as opposed to cosmetic) North South split nor will they stop commemorating their dead heroes – it’s part of what they are.”
And, in the end of the day, that’s why I’ll probably never vote for them.
My apologies to WorldByStorm for derailing the thread of his post! FF on 18%? It’s 18% more than they deserve…


LeftAtTheCross - October 29, 2010


Just to echo WBS’s comment above:

Re voting for SF, etc. I remember the first time I gave them so much as a preference in the mid 1990s I was actually sleepless about it the previous night.

and also SonOfStan’s comment:

Haven’t crossed that rubicon yet

You’re far from being alone in your attitude to SF, your reservations are legitimate of course.

Out here in Meath the local SF baby (to use SoS’s phrase) is making a big splash on the Navan Hospital issue. All very worthwhile local work and that. But I’d still question the depth of their politics, will they dump the social equality rhetoric as soon as they achieve their strategic aim of being in government onbth sides of the border and are in a stronger position to advance the national question? That after all is their agenda, the re-unification of Ireland. What other policies will they be willing to jettison for a chance to do a Helmut Kohl and grab their place in the history books? I wouldn’t vote for them in a fit.


eamonndublin - October 29, 2010

Leo Varadker said in todays IT that this Fianna Fail done more damage than the ‘RA . A damning rebuff of the war?


10. sonofstan - October 29, 2010

” once the founding generation are gone ” – SoS – I think the founders of SF are well gone from over 100 years ago.

I was wondering if I’d get a bite on that.:)


eamonndublin - October 29, 2010

hook line and sinker.


11. irishelectionliterature - November 1, 2010

It will be interesting to see if the Smears on Gilmore which have started will have an impact on the next poll.
If they couldn’t get him over his time in OSF ,SFWP,WP they made a great effort here with a sale of land by his wife to the OPW.

Gilmore wife got €525,000 for school site now worth just €100,000


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