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First Preference Vote in Presidential Election October 28, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
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From RTÉ:

2115 National FIRST COUNT: Higgins 39.6% (701,101), Gallagher 28.5% (504,964); McGuinness 13.7% (243,030); Mitchell 6.4% (113,321); Norris 6.2% (109,469); Scallon 2.9% (51,220); Davis 2.7% (48,657).

A few brief observations before the holiday weekend – longer ones early next week. That’s a good result for Michael D. Higgins, no question about it. Whether it can transfer to the government, and more particularly the Labour Party is a different matter. That’s an excruciatingly awful one for Gay Mitchell. And Fine Gael.

One would feel sorry on a human level for Gallagher, hero to zero, or 504,964 first preferences, and all in the space of three or perhaps four days. And yet, there’s a lesson there as to what that vote is made up of.

A terrible day for Davis, and Scallon. A so-so one for Sinn Féin, four per cent better than their vote in the General Election but a few points less than some recent polls give them nationally, although double digits given the media hammering is perhaps an achievement in itself [and they’re delighted about besting Mitchell]. It will be interesting to delve into the distribution of that 13.7 per cent nationally. Already some thoughts on that arise.

The distribution of transfers of Davis and Scallon will be informative. But I can’t see them pushing either Mitchell or Norris across the line to recoup expenses, or am I wrong on that score? But I wonder if the crowded nature of the field is partially responsible and whether that will prevent others from entering this race in future years…

A lot of other questions remain. Would Norris have been better to walk away after the first time? Would Pat Cox or Mairead McGuinness have made a concrete difference to the FG vote? Would a less contentious figure than McGuinness have upped the SF vote? And what of the spectre at the feast, that FF vote that went, it would appear, to Gallagher. Where next, and does Dublin West support a renascent FF down the line. But remember, no elections until the locals, short of another meltdown, so plenty of time for people to consider these results and consolidate.

And speaking of Dublin West the saga continues apiece. It’s a Labour gain. But it’s all seemed a bit academic given the weight of government numbers. Roll on the Budget and then we’ll see.

As to the referendums. All will be revealed tomorrow.

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Comments»

1. Tomboktu - October 28, 2011

Will the disasterous (for them) result in the presidential election and awful result in Dublin West mark the beginning of the end for Enda Kenny?

Although he can say Mitchell wouldn’t have been his choice, he had both a key role in the choice of Mitchell and in his poor showing. Kenny’s choice would have been a blow-in from the PDs (and FF before that), which riled the members so much that they went for Mitchell. And then, when Mitchell was selected, Kenny’s cintibution to the campaign was lacklustre.

Add to that the decision to let Varadkar get a no-hoper selected in Dublin West. Fourth. Behind Fianna Fáil. Ye really messed that one up.

Imagine a different scenario: Varadkar told he can’t pick a “no-threat” candidate and to make sure FG got a second seat if he doesn’t want a resuflle to the back-benches come mid-term. And suppose it worked. Now add the prospect of a vacancy in Wexford, if Mick Wallace is declared bankrupt. FG came sixth in that five-seater in February and could have had a real chance to win. Imagine: DW and Wexford on top of the 76 they won in February.

Now ask: How long before FG members begin to mutter “78 seats if only Enda hadn’t …”.

With 78, they could have told Labour to take a hike if any row surfaced, and they could put a gun to FF’s head to call an election or repay and replay the Tallaght strategy.

Or: with 78, they could have supped — with long very spoons in some cases — with Shane Ross, Stephen Donnelly, Noel Grealish, Mattie McGrath, and Michael Lowry.

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WorldbyStorm - October 29, 2011

I think that’s a good point. It’s hard not to believe FG doesn’t want shut of the inconveniently currently more successful LP.

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2. DSCH - October 29, 2011

On the face of things FF have been thrown a lifeline. Ironically it may be better for FF that Gallagher was outed as representing the shiftier face of the party. The 28% of the vote that he received is very much in play for the party at the next election.

Equally Coppinger’s struggle to close a 200 vote gap on McGuinness would suggest that FF isn’t as transfer toxic as in GE 2011. If the party can denounce the Ahern legacy after the publication of Mahon (but the evidence to date is that the leadership, like Gallagher with his travails, will make a hames of this), select some decent candidates and adopt a one candidate per constituency strategy, then the party could be in a position to benefit from FG slippage (and the FG vote is hardly rock solid.) 20% at the next election could deliver the party 35 seats – hardly a return to the halycon days of 1932-2007, but still the sort of outcome that the ULA can only dream of.

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WorldbyStorm - October 29, 2011

Long time no hear DSCH and very welcome. It’s a tricky one re FF there. Is that a function of Lenihan’s legacy or is it more. We need another byelection and soon!

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EamonnCork - October 29, 2011

I’d agree with DSCH’s analysis but the 35 or so seats would still be barely ahead of the 31 which Fine Gael got in 2002 which was agreed to be a complete disaster for a party with much lower expectations than FF. Say FF get 35 in 2014, they’re still looking at another couple of elections before they could get back into power, so you’re looking at perhaps 2022 or around then, a long long time in the wilderness for a party which has never before been out of power for more than five years.
The vampire is stirring a bit but I think there are a couple of things to be taken into consideration, 1. The Lenihan factor, and the massive publicity about his illness and death, would have come into play in Dublin West. 2. I don’t think the Gallagher vote was all an FF vote. For example in my own backyard of Cork SW he actually beat Higgins but Cork SW is traditionally the strongest FG constituency in the country. Given the likes of Sean Kelly or Mairead McGuinness to vote for, it would have gone strongly FG. Gallagher benefitted from the TV factor and also from the fact that in a neck of the woods like this one he was seen as the cloest thing to a mainstream candidate in an unusually divivisive field. I know it might be hard for you urban sophisticates to believe but there is still a constituency for whom Michael D would be a little outre.
Overall, I’m glad for Michael D who fought many good fights for a long time. The Dana vote should kill the idea of a lingering constituency which hews to the ideals of the likes of David Quinn and Breda O’Brien and is flourished over the heads of politicians by their ilk. In the end I think the McGuinness vote is disappointing, whatever about it matching up to the Dail vote I’d imagine Sf would have hoped to do better. The general election vote is a bit of a red herring. No-one really expects Labour to get that Michael D vote or anything like it in a general election.
It was a very very good day for Labour, two wins out of two.

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3. Crocodile - October 29, 2011

How could FG have chosen two less likely-to-succeed candidates than Mitchell and Loftus? Surely if Kenny wanted to follow through on his election success he would be pushing through younger candidates with some voter appeal. FF and even the Greens had good candidates in Dublin West (crap policies, of course) but FG might as well have been attempting some weird experiment: we can get showroom dummies elected, we’re so popular. Er, no.

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Northside Socialist - October 29, 2011

The Green party candidate in Dublin 15 is certainly well educated, but I don’t know how you can say he is a good candidate. Outside of election time he is almost invisible in Dublin 15 as a campaigner, apart from laughable press releases in the local rag, for example cleaning a section of the Royal canal with his chums from the local GP during the summer.

The FF candidate D. McGuinness is a locally based, young candidate, however is scraping a 2nd place (almost 3rd place) given B. Lenihan’s profile in Dublin 15 a good result? The local rags venerated B. Lenihan following his death and B. Lenihan made sure he spread enough gravy around D15, for example to the local GAA clubs, to ensure the local FF party had a reasonably good press on the ground. No doubt D. McGuinness will build on this vote for a general election, however it is a long way from the FF heydey of Dev and Lemass.

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4. sonofstan - October 29, 2011

If there’s any lesson from all the weirdness, it’s that no more than about 40% 0f the electorate- tops- is made up of party loyalists any more.

Which should scare every party.

Last presidential election, remember, Mary Mac won because she was the FF candidate in a pretty uninspiring field – now that she’s universally loved and so on, its hard to remember that few enough people knew who she was back then, and there was a lot of hostility because she was a nordie. FF got her elected. It’s impossible to imagine any party being able to do that now. Voters identify as consumers, not as partisans.

MDH’s vote certainly wasn’t any benchmark of Labour support – he won every constituency in Dublin, but his highest vote was in Dublin South, where there are three FG TDs, one *independent* FG TD (Ross) and only one Labour seat – and his lowest was in NW, where there are two Labour seats out of three.

SF are probably the only party where there is any meaningful correlation between party support and vote in this election – slightly Ironic since MMG was supposed to be an independent in order to reach outside their core.

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irishelectionliterature - October 29, 2011

Mary McAleese was actually The PD and Fianna Fail candidate in 1997 http://wp.me/pDoVn-4e

Re the SF vote, the panel on RTE pointed out that the McGuinness vote was lower than the SF standing in recent polls (20% in one the said).

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sonofstan - October 29, 2011

Sorry, wasn’t clear – what i meant re SF was that at least McGuinness can be fairly sure that most people who voted SF in the GE and who voted this time, voted for him, and that most of those who voted for him will likely vote SF again – MDH and Labour can probably be sure of the first, but not the second, and FG sure as hell can’t think the first…….

I’d forgotten that about McAleese, but I think my point stands – it was FF what won it, not herself.

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shea - October 29, 2011

‘Voters identify as consumers, not as partisans’

how do you think that will play out. when a minority where floating voters the main parties tried to appeal to them and used marketing techniques tailoring what they did said wore etc to appeal to them but if a majority are floating voters then does that change things for the parties in that the variable is bigger than the constant. would it be optomistic to say the voter now and in the near future will have more power over the politician or are we in for a period of ultra conservatism in that a fixed position is safer for political parties?

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sonofstan - October 29, 2011

My guess would be the latter – all 4 medium -> big parties rushing to occupy the contested middle.

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Tomboktu - October 29, 2011

And, I would suggest, we’re in for a period of celebrity candidates getting elected – George Lee, Mick Wallace, Shane Ross, Sean Galagher would have made it if the presidency was a multi-seat constituency . . .

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WorldbyStorm - October 29, 2011

Urgghh… 😦

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shea - October 29, 2011

thanks for that i think theres a wild card element we’ve been to the dive to the centre, it was manageable for the parties to chase the center because the center was small. if floating voters are about 60% then thats a lot of ground to coverge on the centre maybe the wild card is celebrity candidates but maybe it actual politics if parties get there mind to where people are at now..

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5. #Aras11 Irish Presidential Race: MDH 39.5, SG 28.5, MMcG 13.7 (& constituency maps) | Rebel-Alliance.org | Irish Presidential Election – 27th October 2011 - October 29, 2011

[…] Cedar Lounge Revolution – First Preference Vote in Presidential Election: From RTÉ: 2115 National FIRST COUNT: Higgins 39.6% (701,101), Gallagher 28.5% (504,964); […]

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6. One Race But Three Victors « An Sionnach Fionn - October 29, 2011

[…] its all over bar the shouting (or gnashing of teeth) and three clear victors have emerged from the election […]

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7. Pope Epopt - October 29, 2011

It could have easily been a lot worse. Michael D. is a decent enough old stick, and at least will be articulate, which is the most important characteristic needed for the post.

28% for Gallagher though, after all that’s known about him! The FF vampire stirs.

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WorldbyStorm - October 29, 2011

+1

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8. Joe - October 29, 2011

EamonnCork’s point above I think is on the money – 40% tops (I’d say a lot less) of voters are party loyalists now.
At the next election people could easily do to FG what they did to FF in the last.
And worse, people are easily turned by celebrity candidates. Gallagher had 40% support a week ago. He ended up with 28% – a fantastic result for him.
I think and fear that the electorate would jump at an Irish Berlusconi if one presented himself now. An anti-political party right-wing free market agenda party led by the right populist would be lapped up by the electorate.
I was at Billy Bragg last night and he gave a lecture which I’d heard from him before on cynicism. Sorry, Billy, I just can’t shake it at the moment.

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WorldbyStorm - October 29, 2011

Very much agree.

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make do and mend - October 29, 2011

“I think and fear that the electorate would jump at an Irish Berlusconi if one presented himself now. An anti-political party right-wing free market agenda party led by the right populist would be lapped up by the electorate.”

I’m afraid you’ve hit the nail on the head. The younger voters, especially, around here lap up the celebrity entrypeenury mythical bullshite.

They almost seemed programmed for such an eventuality.

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WorldbyStorm - October 29, 2011

A friend of mine noticed where she worked that Gallaghers stock rose madly in the last ten days amongst co-workers only to crash and burn on Tuesday. That of course is the down side of celebrity candidates, the votes aren’t solid – at least not first time out.

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EamonnCork - October 29, 2011

They’ve had a couple of decades where the entrepreneurs have been accorded the same kind of infallible status as the clergy were in our parents time. It’s no wonder they fall for it.

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WorldbyStorm - October 29, 2011

The interesting thing is the elision between entrepreneur and business owner [not that Gallagher wasn’t in some respects the former though Kenny neatly skewered any pretensions in that regard on Monday], but it’s highly convenient.

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EamonnCork - October 29, 2011

It’s interesting that the constituencies where Gallagher beat Higgins, the two West Corks, the two Donegals and Roscommon would also have seen some of the top votes for the pro-life referendum in 83 and against divorce in 1986. The correspondence is surprisingly consistent across the board which suggests that Gallagher appealed to a kind of rural conservative instinct, people who wouldn’t think of Michael D as one of them. I’m not sure if this is a solid basis for an FF recovery. And you also have to take into account that Gallagher denied FF at every opportunity and that it was only when he was tied to the party that the vote slipped.
I also think the arc of the narrative was irresistible to an audience treating the election as a kind of reality TV contest. Isn’t that what happens to unsuccessful contestants on Big Brother or The Apprentice or whatever, they’re caught out on live TV the way Gallagher was on Monday.
By the way, if you fancy a laugh read Harry McGee’s hand wringing denunciation of the unfair waay Gallagher was treated. His finest piece since the legendary The Night Brian Cowen Got His Mojo Back. There are a lot of journos out there who won’t be happy till we’re back in the old familiar stable universe where FF and FG dominated completely, and the former more than the latter,

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WorldbyStorm - October 29, 2011

It’s like someone said to me during the week, no polling data and the commentariat had a nervous breakdown Mon/Tues over whether Gallagher would win.

I met a lot of people on Mon and even well into Tues who were convinced that the Gallagher wave was unstoppable. But, as you say, this is simply the dynamic of reality TV. Up, down, out.

BTW, interesting point re the nature of the Gallagher vote.

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que - October 29, 2011

Eamann

One of the constituencies CNW where gallagher did okay was one of the few places to see population decline.

Seems like they have decided to back the same horse to desolation

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rockroots - October 30, 2011

“By the way, if you fancy a laugh read Harry McGee’s hand wringing denunciation of the unfair waay Gallagher was treated. His finest piece since the legendary The Night Brian Cowen Got His Mojo Back. There are a lot of journos out there who won’t be happy till we’re back in the old familiar stable universe where FF and FG dominated completely, and the former more than the latter.”

Not that I’m any kind of fan of Gallagher, but I did find it astonishing the way he was targeted over the closing days of the campaign. It’s been known for months that he was on the FF executive, so to reveal that he was a fund-raiser for the party… well, it would be much more shocking if he hadn’t been. His faltering defence let him down, but it was probably no more unconvincing than the denials from Norris and McGuinness. If there was a conspiracy against him it would have to stretch to include the FG-leaning media and SF, and maybe even FF, which all sounds a bit far-fetched. (I say FF because I don’t believe for a minute that the party leadership wanted him to succeed – M Martin grasped at any passing TV celebrity to nominate before shutting down all discussion of the subject, rather than endorse the FF traitor Gallagher.) But I certainly get a sense that the parties as a whole, and especially the more influential media, did not want an independent candidate of any hue to win this election. I guess it would challange too many long-established certainties?

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9. CL - October 29, 2011

The entrepreneurs, aka developers, are greatly to blame for the current economic debacle. The left has a lot of work to do in rooting out this Thatcherite ideology which seemingly has suffused all aspects of Irish society.

“This week developer Michael Taggart became the biggest victim so far of the property crash when the banks appointed an administrator to his company, Taggart Holdings. With the property downturn continuing to worsen, many other builders and developers are likely to join Taggart on the scrapheap in the coming months.

What a difference a year makes. This time last year Michael Taggart was basking in the glory of having won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, feted by the great and the good of Irish business. This weekend he is confronted by the ruins of his business empire which collapsed this week owing the banks an estimated €190m.”
http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/from-hero-to-zero-newsmaker-michael-taggart-property-developer-1510073.html

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EamonnCork - October 29, 2011

Ironic too considering the perpetual whine from the developers that they weren’t treated with sufficient respect and deference in their heyday. Yet half a million people voted for a classic example of the breed. I suspect we’re more likely to hear of him going to the wall than of creating a new political paradigm. He was just Ganley without all the intiguing Ernest Stavro Von Blofeld stuff.

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CL - October 29, 2011

“Sean Fitzpatrick, Non-Executive Chairman of Anglo Irish Bank and director of Experian, the global information solutions company, has called for Irish entrepreneurs to be celebrated and lauded for their achievements and an end to the “corporate McCarthyism” which the current regulatory regime is coming close to resembling.”
http://www.finfacts.com/irelandbusinessnews/publish/article_1010395.shtml

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10. Martin McGuinness justifies his candidature. - Page 129 - October 29, 2011

[…] […]

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11. The Democratic Post-Mortem « I . D O U B T . I T/ - October 31, 2011

[…] First Preference Vote in Presidential Election (cedarlounge.wordpress.com) […]

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