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The last Irish Times poll of the election – sort of vaguely familiar as it happens… February 22, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
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Consider this. The core votes for the parties are as follows:

The core vote for the parties (before undecided voters are excluded) compared with the last poll was: Fianna Fáil, 13 per cent (up one point); Fine Gael, 30 per cent (up four points); Labour, 16 per cent (down three points); Sinn Féin, 9 per cent (no change); Green Party, 1 per cent (no change); Independents/ Others, 12 per cent (up one point); and undecided voters, 19 per cent (down three points).

The result in the Irish Times last poll of the election once undecideds are reallocated are as follows:

When people were asked who they would vote for if there were a general election tomorrow, the figures for party support (when undecided voters were excluded) compared with the last Irish Times  poll on February 3rd were: Fianna Fáil, 16 per cent (up one point); Fine Gael, 37 per cent (up four points); Labour, 19 per cent (down five points); Sinn Féin, 11 per cent (down one point); Green Party, 2 per cent (up one point); and Independents/Others, 15 per cent (no change).

Now note that we can assume some slippage from the current polling numbers of the political parties – I base that on the fact that for example SF was polling around 9 per cent in 2007 before the General Election of that year and fell back a couple of percentage points. And while it isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility that FG will run away with the vote this election I’d wonder if there won’t be some element of buyers remorse come polling day. Before the purchase – so to speak.

The last Irish Times/TNS poll before the May 2007 General Election saw the party strengths as follows:

The adjusted figures for party support are: Fianna Fáil 41 per cent (up five points); Fine Gael 27 per cent (down one point); Labour 10 per cent (down three points); Sinn Féin 9 per cent (down one point); Greens 6 per cent (up one point); PDs 2 per cent (no change); and Independents/others 5 per cent (down one point).

It’s also useful to look at the core votes for the parties:

The core vote for the parties is: Fianna Fáil 39 per cent (up four points); Fine Gael 21 per cent (down one point); Labour 8 per cent (down two points); Sinn Féin 8 per cent (no change); Greens 5 per cent (up one point); PDs 1 per cent (down one point); Independents/ others 4 per cent (no change); and undecided voters 15 per cent (no change). When voters were asked which of the alternative coalitions they would like to see forming the next government, the Fianna Fáil-PD coalition had moved into a six-point lead over the Fine Gael-Labour alliance, with the possible support of the Greens.

A couple of observations. That IT 2007 poll was extremely good in terms of predicting final voting tallies, though note that the larger disparities were for the smaller parties and all within the margin of error and given the large enough number of undecideds the mapping of their vote onto the parties was also extremely good.

The actual election result saw the following:

Fianna Fáil at 41.6%, Fine Gael at 27.3%, Labour at 10.1%, the GP at 4.7%, SF at 6.9% and the PDs at 2.7%. All others were 6-7%.

Past excellence in prognostication is no guarantee of future success – as they say, but that would tend to make one less rather than more dubious about the overall indicative use of this poll, particular because it seems to be of a piece with other polling data over the weekend.

On the evidence of this FG is likely to win in or around 35 per cent plus. Fianna Fáil one might hazard a bit better than 16 per cent. Labour perhaps at or under 18 per cent. Sinn Féin 9 per cent or so. The GP one or two per cent and others less than 15 per cent.

Now consider this.

The results of the 2009 Local Elections saw Fine Gael on 32.2% of the FPv, Fianna Fáil on 25.4%, Labour on 14.7%, Sinn Féin on 7.4%, PBP on 0.8%, the SP on 0.9%, the GP on 2.3%, The WP on 0.3% and Independents on 15.9%.

The divergence in this poll is a weaker FG, a considerably stronger FF, a somewhat weaker LP and SF and an Independents bloc in or around the same point.

I’ve always argued that Local elections provide little or no basis for assessing General elections, the context is after all local rather than national, there’s a plethora of Independent candidates whose chances of being elected are considerably greater due to the greater number of contests, etc and so on.

And yet, this election sees the largest number of Independent and smaller party candidates in a generation or more. In an odd way due to the removal of economic sovereignty in part due to the ECB/IMF ‘deal’ there’s the potential for more national concerns to be refocussed on the local.

And the supposed ‘fear’ of Independents being coalition makers seems strangely at odds with the reality of that 15% for the Independents, a figure sufficiently large that both the Green Party and Sinn Féin could comfortably be subsumed within it with room to spare. Unless the dynamic is that this isn’t just a refocussing on the local, but that there’s an aversion to the national.

None of which is to suggest that the results at the weekend are going to mirror the Local elections, but I would not be at all surprised if that undecideds vote of 19 per cent streams at least part the ways towards 2009 figures for FF and others. I think it’s too big a call for FF to make it much over 20 per cent, but they might just make it to 20%.

Which would suggest that talk of an FG return close to a majority may be a little premature – though by any measure they are set to have their best result since the early 1980s (who would have thunk it, Enda Kenny may outdo GFG’s electoral prowess…).

If this is the best Martin can do, though, what sort of catastrophe would FF have been facing under Brian Cowen?

Interesting to read Michael Marsh’s analysis in the Irish Times today which suggests that:

…that Fine Gael will win 72 seats, Labour 35, Fianna Fáil 26, Sinn Féin 11, Greens two and others 19.

As with all such estimates, there is a defined band here of a few seats either way, so the Greens could very easily get no seats. What may prove significant in this election is the dramatic change in the attractiveness of each party to voters casting a second preference.

Dotski’s analysis is as usual excellent and far more comprehensive than these ramblings above and can be found here…

Adrian Kavanaghs equally useful thoughts can be found here…

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1. Tweets that mention The last Irish Times poll of the election – sort of vaguely familiar as it happens… « The Cedar Lounge Revolution -- Topsy.com - February 22, 2011

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Northern Ireland and Campaigntrail.ie, Cedar Lounge Revol. Cedar Lounge Revol said: The last Irish Times poll of the election – sort of vaguely familiar as it happens…: Consider this. The core vot… http://bit.ly/hnUCtZ […]

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2. NollaigO - February 22, 2011

I am disappointed that CLR has not embraced my revolutionary approach of following the bookmakers. This site is still wedded to the discredited conservative approach of plámásing the pollsters, who are now going on holidays to spend their ill-gotten gains. Paddy Power will be on duty right up to the opening of the polls and beyond. Their razor-sharp antennae will be in a position to bring us all or any last minute swings.

Here is my interpolation of the latest PP odds on constituency candidates to possible Dáil seats:

Fine Gael: 70; Labour: 27; Fianna Fáil: 25; Sinn Féin: 13; Independents: 11; ULA: 3.

Additionally, the parties/independents are closely tied for the final seat as follows:

Fine Gael: 6; Labour: 6; Fianna Fáil: 5; Sinn Féin: 1; Independents: 2; ULA: 1.

Will exit polls take place?

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3. que - February 22, 2011

yeah i’ve been looking at Power as well.

I reckon that 12% of others is going to split a bit. I have spoken to fellas who are voting ULA except there is no ULA candidate in the constituency. It may well be that vote will split to other parties.

In a state wide opinion poll I can tell you I am voting for the Others (ULA/Shane Ross) but in the polling booth I’ll hit a problem.

I am expecting SF to do very well from those transfers.

Roll on Friday

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que - February 22, 2011

yeah i’ve been looking at Power as well.

I reckon that 12% of others is going to split a bit. I have spoken to fellas who are voting ULA except there is no ULA candidate in the constituency. It may well be that vote will split to other parties.

In a state wide opinion poll I can tell you I am voting for the Others (ULA/Shane Ross) but in the polling booth I’ll hit a problem.

I am expecting SF to do very well from those transfers.

And to tie into WBS point about the declining SF vote on polling day it may be that will pop it up again. But thats as much in hope as anything

Roll on Friday

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Jim Monaghan - February 22, 2011

Shane Ross. How could you? He is a rightwinger. Maybe an honest one but still a rightwinger.

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Mark P - February 22, 2011

I don’t think Que is really advocating a vote for Ross, Jim.

The point being made is that with the Ind/Others category polling at 15%, large parts of that are almost certainly for particular political currents (whether ULA or right independents in the Ross mold or left independents in the O’Sullivan mold). And many of the people who fully intend on voting for one or other of these strands will arrive to a ballot box to find that the only Ind/Other on the ballot paper is a local oddball who wants to replace voting with a lottery or something.

Or at the very least will find that their candidate isn’t Ross, but some substandard Ross knock-off.

I’d broadly agree with Que on that – the national score for Ind/Others will not be 15%.

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que - February 22, 2011

dont work Jim wont be voting Rossco.

my vote would be SF and then ULA

Mark P, exactly. Would think that similar to the SF the ULA will do quite well from that packet.

Pain in the hole that you folks are not in the opinion polls.

The exit polls, if done, will confirm whether i am justified in my comments about the other votes splitting but you folks will not know until the morning with the first tallies.

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que - February 22, 2011

worry not work. I am just home from work, its still on my mind

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4. Crocodile - February 22, 2011

Power’s odds are well worth checking out: they’re compiled by people who will have to stand over their hunches. Interesting example: they make Derek Keating – ostensibly FG’s no. 2 behind Frances Fitzgerald in Dublin M-W – a shorter price to be elected than she is.

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Mark P - February 22, 2011

The bookie’s odds are interesting, but they are not simply a reflection of the bookmaker’s opinion as to who will be elected. They are in very large part determined by the amount of money being bet on a candidate.

Short odds on an individual candidate doesn’t tell you that the bookmaker thinks they are likely to win, but that someone has bet a lump of cash on them. Quite small amounts can drastically alter the bookmaker’s odds in an individual constituency.

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Crocodile - February 22, 2011

That would be true if there was any significant liquidity in the market, Mark P, but a friend of mine is an odds compiler and he tells me that the individual constituencies have such small markets that the odds are indeed a reflection of the compilers’ opinions rather than any weight of money. Markets, eh?

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Mark P - February 22, 2011

The thing is though Crocodile, that even if most of them are a reflection of the bookmaker’s guess, in a very small market even one bet of 500 quid will drastically change a candidate’s odds. And unless you work for the bookmaker, you can’t know which short odds candidates are short odds because the bookmaker reckons they are certainties and which are short odds because one random punter put a sizeable bet on them.

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Crocodile - February 22, 2011

If you have a bookmaker that will take a 500 quid cash bet, Mark, please introduce us.

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5. D_D - February 22, 2011
6. irishelectionliterature - February 22, 2011

I think the Ind/Others will be around 15%. For the last three General Elections it has been
1997 9.8%
2002 11%
2007 6.62%

The sheer number of ‘Others’ will increase their % vote, thats before the actual appeal of some of them.

Just looking at Dublin first.
I’d expect at least 20% in Dublin Central,Dublin South,Dublin South East and Dublin West.

15% to 20%
Dublin South Central,Dublin Mid West, Dublin North

10% to 15%
Dublin North Central and Dun Laoghaire

5-10% in
Dublin North East,Dublin North West and Dublin South West.

Nationally over 20%
Wexford, Tipp South , Kerry South

15-20%
Waterford
Wicklow
Tipp North
Galway West
Galway East
Cork North Central

10% to 15%
Roscommon -South Leitrim
Sligo Leitrim -North
Limerick County
Laois_Offaly
Kildare North
Donegal South West
Cork South Central
Clare
Cavan Monaghan

under 10%
Carlow-Kilkenny
Cork East
Cork North west
Cork South West
Donegal North East
Kerry North
Kildare South
Mayo
Longford-Westmeath
Louth
Limerick City
Meath West
Meath East

It will certainly be far higher than 2002.

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7. EWI - February 22, 2011

Another couple of polls that people here will find of interest.

61% of Americans oppose taking away (public sector) collective bargaining rights:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-02-22-poll-public-unions-wisconsin_N.htm

62% of Wisconsins support the public workers there:

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/poll-walkers-anti-union-stance-turning-off-wisconsin-voters.php?ref=fpblg

Amazing what a bit of spine and a forthright defence of workers’ rights will produce.

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Budapestkick - February 22, 2011

Great stuff EWI, Begg and O’Connor could learn a thing or two and all this in a country with much lower union membership.

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8. Irish Independent/Milward Brown Poll 23rd February | Stephen Spillane - February 22, 2011

[…] The last Irish Times poll of the election – sort of vaguely familiar as it happens… (cedarlounge.wordpress.com) […]

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9. NollaigO - February 23, 2011

Breaking News:

Pat Kenny programme :

Fine Gael: 40%
Labour: 18%
Fianna Fáil: 15%
Sinn Féin: 10%
Others: 14%

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10. The last Irish Times poll of the election – sort of vaguely … | The Daily Conservative - February 26, 2011

[…] post: The last Irish Times poll of the election – sort of vaguely … Share and […]

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