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New Polls… January 29, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.

As Mark P has noted, two polls out tomorrow, one from RedC for the Business Post, the other for the Sunday Independent…

Interesting snapshot of the campaign, ach, I’ll quote his thoughts in full:

The two polls tomorrow are very close to each other, which gives them a certain credibility.

Party / MB / Red C
FG / 34 / 33
Lab / 24 / 21
FF / 16 / 16
SF / 10 / 13
Gre / 2 / 2
Oth / 15 /15

Things of note:

No bounce for FF. Greens well under the margin of error. Labour edging slowly down. SF falling back but still at a historically high level. Others gaining rapidly – although what that last one represents is very much open to interpretation.

Here are some comparative figures on the RTÉ website…

The Red C poll for the Sunday Business Post shows Fianna Fáil at 16% – up two points since the last Red C poll for Paddy Power at the start of the month.

Fine Gael support is down two to 33%, Labour unchanged at 21%, the Greens down two to 2%, Sinn Féin is down one to 13%, and Independents and Others up three to 15%.

And more from Conor…

The Red C Poll figures are out:


Tomorrow’s Sunday Business Post/Red C polling results. figures in brackets are from last Red C Poll for Sunday Business Post, in December.

The figures in square brackets relate to the 2007 general election.

* Fine Gael: 33% (34%) [27.3%]
* Labour: 21% (23%) [10.1 %]
* Fianna Fáil: 16% (17%) [41.6%]
* Sinn Féin: 13% (14%) [6.9%]
* Green Party: 2% (2%) 4.7%]
* Ind / others: 15% (10%) [6.7%]

Just to add very briefly, that would seem to be it for the Green Party in terms of returned representation. The Others is interesting. Both ULA and right of centre Independent candidates adding to that figure?

SF still doing well, but as he says dipping. Labour doing well too but… And the arrival of Micheál Martin giving only two per cent to FF, though that two per cent not pulled from the Independents, which surprises me greatly.

Lots to reflect on over the next few days.


1. WorldbyStorm - January 29, 2011

Sorry, just to add, we’ve been discussing the LP tactics/strategy over the past few days. Whatever it is, though it’s worked since 2007 it’s clear that in the context of the last week or two it hasn’t.


Mark P - January 29, 2011

The “it’s worked since 2007” part is important to remember when we are assessing their complete refusal to show even the slightest glimmer of soft social democracy.

Labour got 10% in the last election. They have the oldest parliamentary group of any party and they are so low on talent that their upper tier has been dominated by an ageing and small group of Democratic Leftovers for a decade.

From their point of view, and remembering that their point of view is that of right wing business as usual career politicians, more than doubling their vote, more than doubling their seats, is a huge achievement. They don’t really have much incentive to tack left, even in the kind of dishonest populist manner SF have been doing so.


WorldbyStorm - January 29, 2011

Well, even if I disagree with some of your terminology, I think you’re right. Indeed I dont’ think there’s any appetite to do so at all. Even, or especially, in an educative fashion.


Budapestkick - January 29, 2011

‘Democratic leftovers’

I’ll be using that.


DC - January 29, 2011

Imagine what they could have achieved if they had the drive and ruthlessness of, say, FF in 1927…and they were the losers in a Civil War. Not just a bunch of superannuated timeservers…


2. Conor McCabe - January 29, 2011

I dug up the Sunday Business Post Red C Poll from 23 May 2007 – four days before the general election.

The figures in brackets are the actual election percentages.

Fianna Fail – 38 per cent (41.6%)

Fine Gael – 26 per cent (27.3 %)

Labour – 11 per cent (10.1 %)

Sinn Fein – 9 per cent (6.9 %)

Green Party – 6 per cent (4.7%)

Apart from showing that Red C is not bad at all at calling the result – even its 3 per cent margin of error holds up quite well – it also shows that after three years of the most catastrophic financial crisis to hit this State, and after Fianna Fail loses nearly 60 per cent of its support, the best Fine Gael can get is a 6 per cent bump from its 2007 result.

I think this is worth highlighting because of the assumption often put about – the “well the reality is…” assumption – that disillusioned FFers will go with Fine Gael, presumably because it’s an inter right-wing vote transfer.

It seems that about 6 per cent did, but the rest have been looking for a home ever since – first to Labour, then a drop-off from Labour and over to Sinn Fein, and, more recently, a slow, steady stream to ‘independents’.

I mean, given all that has happened, Fine Gael’s support rises by 6 per cent (which is a 22 per cent rise in party support),

Labour rises by 10 per cent (a 100 per cent rise in party support),

Sinn Fein by 7 per cent (an 85 per cent rise in party support),

and independents by 9.3 per cent (a 140 per cent rise in independents’ support.

The historical split in the Irish working class, as well as in the Irish trade union movement, between Fianna Fail and labour – there’s one of the structural fault-lines in the continuation of civil war politics, and one that is collapsing now – yet Labour does not have the brains nor the inclination to see it.

Interesting to see Sinn Fein’s vote stall – ut seems that for more than a few the idea of voting Sinn Fein is still a step too far. The ULA will almost certainly do well out of that.


WorldbyStorm - January 29, 2011

Yeah. SF will still do okay. 7 plus seats should be very achievable. But not 15. Or close to it.

What’s really striking as well is that the LP doesn’t want to replace either of the other two parties, but merely try to rip away support from both. I don’t think that’s entirely feasible.

That’s very interesting about how badly FG have done.

The campaign will probably cause shifts but big ones… hmmm….


sonofstan - January 29, 2011

On Conor’s figures, at least three out of ten voters are not going to vote for the party they voted for the last time. Which is pretty damn huge, given that previous ‘seismic’ shifts in Irish elections have been of the order of 10+% ….


que - January 30, 2011

that rise in the indos vote is striking. I wonder is the drop in the SF vote(red c) not about voters thinking SF is a step too far but simply that there vote over 11% is fluid and when the indos get pointed out as a force for change it directly eats into SFs vote block which has been built up on creating an alternative way/and pro-active challenges like court cases etc. The INDOs had a good high profile week. Much talk, frontline audience and others, about indos being the new thing. Yet most of the highest profile indos are already in or pulled back.

If the SF drop is only because the Indos managed to secure that vote for an alternative view then we should see next week the SF vote drifting back. If not then we’ll not as good a story for sf


EamonnCork - January 30, 2011

I might be totally wrong here but I don’t see SF winning less than a dozen even if the breaks don’t go their way. Fianna Fail are probably on course for around 35 at the moment, quite a few of which will be the final seat.
By contrast there are about half a dozen constituencies where SF, as they did in 2002, will be just missing that final seat. It will only take a small swing from FF to SF to bring the parties much closer together. But that will need a very dynamic campaign from SF.
I don’t think the national polls tell us a great deal, you’d need to see constituency polls. Saying independent is for many people a kind of aspirational thing, a more polite don’t know. And there are constituencies where there is no viable independent candidate. Though we’ll see some independent TDs no-one has heard of before, the likes of Sean Canney (Paddy McHugh’s brother in law) in Galway East, Tom Fleming in Kerry South and John Dillon in Limerick County.
The preferred Taoiseach question is just a red herring. For one thing, if you put Joe Higgins name in there he might do the best of the lot of them because there is a great deal of affection out there for him. Sadly that wouldn’t indicate that the SP were going to win a bundle of seats.


WorldbyStorm - January 30, 2011

That’s a good point and it tallies with anon anon’s further down. SF in a band around or about 10-15 seats. FF 20 per cent and perhaps 30- 35 seats. And as you say SF suddenly more transfer friendly on the FF [or formerly FF] side of the equation.


EamonnCork - January 31, 2011

Another independent who’s in with a serious chance of winning a seat is John Halligan, formerly of the Workers Party in Waterford. He left the WP after voting for service charges at local level a couple of years back but he still seems like a man of the left (he described himself as a socialist during the last local elections and SF, for example, have been voting for service charges lately). Expect him to be battling for the last seat, perhaps with David Cullinane of Sinn Fein. Like Catherine Connolly and Catherine Murphy he’s not in the ULA but I’d imagine their politics would be congenial to quite a few people on this site.
On ULA election prospects, I’d say there’s a definite three, Higgins, Healy and Daly which in itself will be a fine achievement. I think Boyd Barrett has a 60-40 chance which would make four. Joan Collins about 50-50. If those two come in then ULA will be well into bonus territory. It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that Mick Barry and Gino Kenny will go close though they would both need to keep ahead of SF’s Jonathan O’Brien and Eoin O’Broin to make it. But, for an alliance which starts with no seats, to be in contention for seven is not to be sniffed at.
Interesting to see C na P being referenced. The thing there is that most of the excitement stirred up by the party came in the campaign. The 10 seats they took was regarded as a disappointing total and something of an anti-climax which may have contributed to their subsequent lack of confidence in government. Similarly the PDs 14, I think, in 1989 was a decent debut but at the time of their formation there had been predictions that they might become the second largest party so that was relatively disappointing too. As were the WP general election results compared to the strides the party were making at local level. It’s a bugger to try and break that 10 or 15 seat barrier in the generals. The problem is that FG and FF limp into last seats even when they’re going badly.
By the way, astounding decision by Martin to run just one candidate in Cork NC. Billy Kelleher was going to get in there anyway. O’Flynn almost definitely wouldn’t have but if they’re just going to run one candidate in a constituency in their leader’s home city where they had a comfortable two previously it bespeaks a huge defeatism. After all, they’re in an even less healthy position in the likes of Limerick City and Dun Laoghaire.
FF can now get a maximum three out of nine in Cork city. That, coupled with the talk of supporting a FG government, suggests Martin is less bothered about leading a revival than trying to spin a humiliation as a setback. Odd.
Finally, wouldn’t it be great if FG declared themselves all on for accepting FF support as a minority government? It would light a fire under Labour and force them to carve out a separate identity. Expect the likes of Dukes and Garret to extol the virtues of the FG minority government over the next while and point out that this would mean that the right could govern without even the slightest left wing input.
I love too the McDowell notion that the people are gagging for PD Mark Two. I actually think the man believes he made some kind of dignified withdral from the rude political fray as opposed to being humiliated by the vote getting machine which is John Gormley.


3. RepublicanSocialist1798 - January 29, 2011

I wish they’d separate the ULA from the independents. It’s a bit annoying at this stage. It’s a significant jump for them but it’s hard to know how much of it is for the ULA alone or for other Independents.

Looks like Martin didn’t get much of a honeymoon. They’re still in for a massacre. Labour will be worried about not closing the gap with FG but they’re doing better than the Spring Tide if that comforts them. FG are showing the same problem the English Tories had in 2010; they didn’t go above 35%. Though I’d say they and SF will be pretty meh about the poll.


Mark P - January 29, 2011

The ULA has written to the polling companies requesting that they be listed separately, with no result so far. It’s particularly irritating as the Greens get their own listing on 1% or 2%.

I think that most ULA supporters will be cautious about how much of the Others surge is for our candidates. There has been a lot of noise about prominent right independents standing lately (although most of the big media names appear to have bottled it), and there will be FF genepool candidates, and some non-ULA leftish independents, etc.

From a ULA point of view the main positive is the openness of the situation. All opposition parties are doing well, compared to the last general election, but so far at least none of the more established parties has the kind of surge behind it that could dramatically curtail opportunities for the left.

It will interesting to see if there’s a regional breakdown with either of the polls. “Others” in Dublin has tended to be much more left wing focused than Others nationally, at least over the last few elections.


RepublicanSocialist1798 - January 29, 2011

Ouch that’s a bit rude from the polling companies. And it is a joke given the fact that as you’ve mentioned before the Greens are averaging 2%.
There was a regional breakdown a while back with with the RedC Paddy Power poll, which I think was before Ross et al declared their intention to stand. It was 15% for others in Dublin which would be arguably between the ULA, Maureen O’Sullivan and Finian McGrath.
I’d agree with you that in Dublin others would be more left wing.


Jack Jameson - January 30, 2011

Question: Assuming the ULA is not registered as a Dáil party (it being an alliance of different parties), will it appear on ballot papers as ULA?


Budapestkick - January 31, 2011

No Jack, it will appear as whatever their respective party is.


shea - January 31, 2011

think we can can take a resonable guess. the information that came out with the last paddy power red c poll was brillient. braking support down by age location economic bracket etc. haven’t seen a comparable one this time but any way in dublin the indepents were 3rd behind labour on 15% i think. i’d guess thats a ula vote. finian mcgrath o sullivian who else would be clasified indo in dublin.

if you look at the figures regionaly and think who’s there don’t think you’d be far off making a guesstimate.

overall though people shouldn’t be counting seats just yet. theres still 3 weeks and FF have started to climb. labour are trowing everything they have at holding. maybe its a good thing there doing that now, how long can they keep it up for or maybe by there behaviour they have set the paramators for the debate over the next few weeks. reading the tribune yesterday, “whats SF policy on shooting looters” where not going to get a debate on default. more like where to decide who’s the best person to say to europe its not fair and after that see what happens.


4. CMK - January 29, 2011

Not strictly relevant to this thread, but it I think it’s of note.

I got a canvassing leaflet for Dr. James Reilly of FG this afternoon while shopping in his constituency. I was shocked to see him promise an average job creation rate of 20,000 per year. So, assuming a FG/Labour coalition runs its full term, there’ll STILL be 340,000 people on the dole. And that’s not taking into account the smaller public service he’s promising i.e. fewer public servants. If PS jobs were cut by 10% that would potentially leave an unemployment rate of close to 370,000.

It looks like they’re praying, with FF, that mass emigration takes the pressure out of unemployment. But, still, I was shocked at the paucity of their ‘ambition’ such as it is. There are many in that 33% cohort who are going to be sorely disappointed.


Observer - January 30, 2011

I was shocked to see him promise an average job creation rate of 20,000 per year.

I think you must have misread that.

FG’s plan is for a stimulus in utilities infrastructure which will create 20,000 per annum. I haven’t seen any mention of an average job creation rate of 20,000 p.a.


CMK - January 30, 2011

Can’t scan the leaflet but it reads exactly as follows:




In the same leaflet it states:




CL - January 30, 2011

Kenny speech today at the Mansion House outlined Fine Gael’s plan for the economy including workfare, privatization, small government, and low taxation.
And Richard Bruton has attacked Labour’s jobs policy for not dealing with ‘welfare traps…that are holding back job creation in the domestic economy’. Sounds familiar.


5. fergal - January 29, 2011

A vote for Labour is a vote for Leo Varadkar.Lab are part of the wider European social- democrat family who have simply given up on any kind of left -wing politics.Dominique Strauss-Kahn was a member of the French socialists,PASOK are the austerity boys of Greece,Blair`s imperial wars etc.The social democrats don`t stand for anything they have fully signed up to “financial” capitalism and can only see solutions for this crisis coming from within capitalism.The Irish Labour party can only to agree to the IMF-ECB loan as it cannot think outside the parameters of capitalism.
Thinking outside of these parameters will come from civil society eg Tombuktu`s idea of a cooperative bank


6. HAL - January 29, 2011

Wheres the, Dont knows?


7. Mark P - January 29, 2011

I just discovered that the mobile phone version of this site regularly displays “Join Team Ireland” Fine Gael Banner ads!

I wonder does each click on the ad cost FG money? And does it gain the CLR money?


WorldbyStorm - January 30, 2011

It does not. In fact there’s an option on WordPress to disable advertising but at a price! I think it gains WordPress money. I don’t entirely begrudge them it given that for the basic site I pay no money (though for storage space each year for files, pdfs/Left Archive I do).


8. Mark - January 29, 2011

These top line polls aren’t that useful. Need constituency breakdowns and some sense of the transfer pattern. 15% independents is 25 seats. That’s not happening with the last seat lottery. Is there even that many credible independent candidates?


9. que - January 30, 2011

mARK – http://irishpollingreport.wordpress.com/ does that type of stuff


10. anon-anon - January 30, 2011

A few percentage points have to be going to the ULA along with a few percentage points lurking for FF in the long grass. I wonder if some of the capitalist-purist candidates aren’t also capturing a few points from swing voters.

SF have to be happy given the usual media coverage re Adams’s economic knowledge/SF eco policy. I suspect that SF will have to cool its jets and acknowledge that the best they’ll do is 7 to 10 seats otherwise they leave themselves open to the charge that their election campaign failed. 1 year ago they’d have kissed lizzy’s bare arse if they thought they’d double their Dáil representation.

The ULA should prepare itself for 2 – 3 seats with anything else welcomed as gravy.

But the recent poll that matters resulted in FF enjoying a 21.37% share of the total vote in the Donegl by-election – coming in second. Donegal isn’t a reflective demographic of Ireland but it does show that there is a core support no matter what FF do. (There’s a letter floating around my constituency on Dáil letterhead claiming that council house tennants of 10 years residence can buy their homes on the cheap according to a FF TD with regard to recently passed legislation. FF can still ‘influence’ events favourably yet. [our roads were also gritted despite being frost free – elections, eh])

My predictions SF = 9.38%, FF = c. 20%. My crystal ball doesn’t pick up any vibes about the rest except that FG won’t get its coveted overall majority and Labour will be disappointed given the upswell of 2010.

The ULA, considering the paucity of MSM coverage, will have excercise an effective guerrilla marketering campaign and become door-step warriors. Small groups are effective when resources are concentrated on achievable goals. Whatever the results of this election, the capitalist system simply cannot deliver for a large portion of its citizenry now or in the future, and the ULA or is reps have the opportunity to lay down a solid electorial basis.

It’s BAU in Ireland. Bring on the locals.


WorldbyStorm - January 30, 2011

I think what you’re suggesting sounds pretty convincing. And I think your point re FF in Donegal is very important. The same is true – though not in the specific in terms of the Dublin South byelection. There FF did dismally in terms of their historic vote and yet retained a fair bit even under the Lee pressure. None of which guarantees them a good outcome (ie. 20% or so converted into say 34 or so seats) and they’ll have real troubles retaining seats in constituencies where their vote is split between competing FF candidates. But…

Re SF, I think they’ll be up around 10 per cent. Or in a way what they were meant to be getting in 2007 when they fell back to what was it around 6-7 per cent. Slow, incremental progress, but if they come close to doubling their 2007 representation well they should be happy. For them I think the lesson has to be that it takes a long time to build support, and while I’d love to see them and the ULA do very well I think there’s an inertia in the system that will prevent that from takingplace.

And then, as you say, on to the locals which will allow for the opportunity to further organise for the smaller parties…


11. Jolly Red Giant - January 30, 2011

There is a danger in equating the current situation and the current election with previos similar situations. It is not and the election will not be – the political, economic and social landscape has changed utterly in the past three years.

Election campaigns are all about momentum. In 2007 there was a momentum behind FG and LP up until the last week of the election. During the last week the momentum for FG and LP stalled and there was a shift in momentum towards FF. Part of this shift caused a squeeze on SF and the smaller left groups and resulting in FF holding a lot of seats that it wasn’t going to win a week earlier.

A few months ago there was significant momentum behind the LP as FF support collapsed. However, their decision to back the bailout and, in the last few days, to collude with FF over the Finance Bill has caused that momentum to shift dramatically with a lot of it swinging behind SF and the ULA.

FF are stuck in the mid-teens and will suffer a disasterous election – one they may not be able to recover from.
FG are stuck in the low-30s and will probably be very satsified with the result.
The LP are slipping badly as reflected by several LP spokespeople going off the rails on the media. At the moment the LP support is still sufficient to ensure a significant seat increase – but they are getting perilously close to a borderline where seat gains become difficult and their two candidate strategy could actually backfire on them. If their support continues to slide over the next couple of weeks then expect to see them panic bigtime.
SF would be thrilled to get into double digits seat-wise. However the potential exists for them to do substantially better if they drive on with the anti-cuts message. However, the leadership of SF is quite conservative and I have a feeling they will scale back a little with the intention of ‘what we have we hold’ rather than biting the bullet (no pun intended).
It is clear that the ULA is making progress, particularly in areas where prominent candidates are well placed to win. The ULA cannot and should not be anything but bold in pushing the election debate into ‘are you for or against the cuts’. The possibility now exists for the ULA to win five seats (DN, DW, DSC, DL and TS) however, if the momentum can be maintained and increased even a little over the course of the election then DMW and CNC certainly become possibilities and even areas where likely significant increase in votes were not expected could spring a surprise – DSW and DNE for example where Mick Murphy and Brian Greene have performed reasonably well in past elections.

There is no doubt that the LP and possibly even FG and FF (although their best approach might be just to keep their mouth shut) will direct all fire at SF and the ULA over the course of the election campaign. But it cannot be predicted what impact this will have or if it will succeed in shifting momentum. If voters on the ground get a sense that a candidate from SF or the ULA can win a seat then they are significantly more likely to vote for them and the LP attacking SF and the ULA could blow up in their faces bigtime.

This election is like no other election in the history of the state – the closest comparison is probably 1948 when Clann na Poblachta won 10 seats in what could be seen as a shift to the left after WW2. However, the possibilities for a significant re-alignment of the political landscape in Ireland is huge and for the first time ever is likely to see and significant right-left divide based on the austerity plans of the parties of the right.

One final point – irrespective of the result of the election the austerity programme of the newly elected government is likely to provoke significant public opposition and the main focus of the left will be assisting working class people in workplaces and communities battling jobs losses, cuts and increased taxation

Interesting and difficult times ahead. There will be advances and setbacks for the working class – and the left needs to grasp the opportunity, adopt the correct strategy and advance now while the opportunity exists.


D_D - January 31, 2011

An interesting, measured and justifiably optimistic post, JLG. Though it is better to keep our expectations in check; not that I’m challenging your projections.

You are dead right about the need for a bold and well-placed campaign in the final straight and to plug a clear message: ‘is you is or is you ain’t agin the cuts?’. Other clarity needed from the ULA is on ‘where is the money going to come from?’. ULA candidates – especially those being subjected to the more forensic attention of radio and television – need to be armed with clear, viable, economic alternatives. And, once this unified, clear, quantified and succinct economic prescription is readied the ULA and ULA candidates will be able to confidently go out and proclaim it even before being asked. The ULA and its components have the policies of course. The sharper the candidates are at expressing them the better.

Incidentally, David McWilliams promised this morning on the Marian Finucine Show to advise ‘independents’ on economics. Now that his ‘independents’ are out of the ring might he not be be asked to advise the ULA? Heresy! He is not a socialist but having a bright and honest brain he often says things we would say, and sometimes better than we say it. Furthermore, there is no need to adopt his policies; I merely mean that existing polices could be run past him for his comments and critique with a view to sharpening them up, a clarification I’m sure he’d have some suggestions about.

(David McWilliam’s offer was in relation to his association with the now abandoned grouping around Fintan O’Toole etc. Did some of us – even the all-seeing blogs – miss all this about the new FO’T group or did I miss some essential discussion of it somewhere? It’s a lucky escape I believe that FO’T is not running after all, as his third-strand entrance would have affected the left campaign [especially on the media which now generally presents a two-strand left alternative of SF and the ULA.)


12. CL - January 30, 2011

People want change but from F.G/Lab will get essentially the same failed Fianna Fail policies as they attempt to implement the neoliberal economic philosophy of the IMF/EU so-called bailout. Joe Higgins should be supported in his call for a referendum on this non-solution to Ireland’s economic crisis.
Gilmore today announced a 500m euro jobs package. A few weeks ago he was talking about a 20bn ‘stimulus’. Noonan and Kenny looked and sounded like two undertakers as they returned from Brussels after their meeting with Barroso. The crisis will intensify under a F.G/Lab. government.


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