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That “Behaviours and Attitudes” Poll….. and the Fine Gael dream contest. February 25, 2012

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.

A stunning poll result from the “Behaviours and Attitudes” Sunday Times Poll. That is if its any way accurate….
Before we go any further Dotski over at IrishPollingreport doesn’t highly rate these pollsters and outlines why.
That said they’re not Quantam Research
State of Parties:
FG 32 (+2)
LAB 10 (-1)
FF 16 (-4)
SF 25 (+4)
IND 17% (No change)

Even if the polling methods are odd, the Sinn Fein support probably overstated, I still think we can read something into the rise and falls support since their December poll.
Sinn Fein will be thrilled, they are on an upward curve and there is a clear gap between them and Fianna Fail as the main opposition party. Not just that but a prospective Sinn Fein / Fianna Fail coalition would have a Sinn Fein Taoiseach! (A bit to go yet though)

In the short term I don’t think Fianna Fail can rise much. A few things recently reminded us of Fianna Fails time in power. John O’Donoghue (and Noel O’Flynn) making announcements that they wanted to stand again and The decision on The National Childrens hospital reminded us that it was Bertie that got it located in the Mater site in the first place. Aside from all that they’ll have their Ard Fheis soon which whilst it may rouse the party faithful it will rise the rest of the nation and then there’s The Moriarty Tribunal findings coming at some stage too.

Labour will be disgusted with this poll. 10% is an awful long way from “Gilmore For Taoiseach” . They will surely continue to leak support. Its well worth looking at their support in 1987 where after 5 years in government making ‘Hard Decisions’ with Fine Gael they ended up with just 4 seats in Dublin. They won 18 this time last year. At 10% its not just the backbenchers that are in trouble but Gilmore himself would be in danger with a Dun Laoghaire based Ceann Comhairle.

No indication as to which parties constitute the Independent vote and it remains steady at 17%. So we’re none the wiser as to the status of the ULA or its parts.

Finally, while this is great news for Sinn Fein, its even better news for Fine Gael. Their poll numbers are up, they are comfortably the biggest party. Taking “tough decisions” and still are popular. I’d argue that what is really good for them though, is the rise in Sinn Fein support…….
It would be the Blueshirt dream… an election with Fine Gael fighting it out to stop Sinn Fein being the largest party… an election to Stop a Sinn Fein Taoiseach for the 2016 celebrations. You could have policies and promises galore but people would be voting to Stop Sinn Fein …. thus sidelining Fianna Fail, Labour and everyone else.


1. Oireachtas retort - February 26, 2012

I think the Ard Fheis will probably do more harm then good PR wise. Rallying the troops will involve plenty of pointing to achievements (yup) and the like which will stick in the national craw as they sit down at six in the evening. See the reaction to Hanafin’s interview last week. A year on things are still very raw if not seething. There seems to be a belief that a kicking in one election is sufficient penance but we will be probably be getting a drip drip of events of the last ten years for decades to come.

Commenting on John O’Donohue’s announcement during the week Pat Leahy said it was too early and the Bull wasn’t showing near enough humility. We’ll be certainly be waiting on that score in the bull’s case but it sums up FF’s problem in that there will probably be absolutely nothing they can do regardless of merit that will not draw collective red mist for a generation at least. How does a political party hope to compete with a massive government and an ascendant SF within that situation?

Word of them aiming for an Ard Fheis to rival the government parties and the optics that goes with it at least gives us the comfort that from now on Fianna Fáil’s bad decisions only effect Fianna Fáil


2. que - February 26, 2012

“an election to Stop a Sinn Fein Taoiseach for the 2016 celebrations.”

Read that a few times.

Who would have thought that could be written 2 years ago?

dinnae see it happening but even as an in extremis it would have been too far out 2 years ago to even plausibly write it down.


3. WorldbyStorm - February 26, 2012

Hmmm… got to say that that’s a bit of a surprise. When I read it first I thought it was FF at 25 and I thought ‘here we go’. But SF on 25. Well… good for them. It’s built on hard work, even if I disagree fundamentally with their stanc eon household tax, but… hey, this is going to shake it up.

Replacing FF? No longer a pipe dream.


Ramzi Nohra - February 26, 2012

I think this is where doubts about the poll’s accuracy become manifest though.
Are one in four people really planning to vote SF? Maybe so but I am sceptical


WorldbyStorm - February 26, 2012

Well, put that 1 in 4 of those ready to vote and the number obviously goes substantially down from 1 in 4. It does seem high, and yet, there’s a lot of people out there who were former FFers who gifted their vote to the LP. Now the LP has had a run through in government where would they – in the main turn? Not to FG if they went LP first. So the only other option is the somewhat FFish SF!

That said I actually tend to agree with you, very early to believe that they’re up on 25%. Seems very high. Perhaps 15 to 19%?


que - February 26, 2012

even if you took the view that its fairly wide out (and give it a moe of +-6% and its still a good poll) then a reading of it regarding the long talked about transfer repellance must be that particular issue is well and truly taken care of.

which is a bigish thing on its own.


Ramzi Nohra - February 26, 2012

Yeah you’re both right – still very positive.


Ramzi Nohra - February 26, 2012

For SF i meant !


4. Jonathan - February 26, 2012

Presumably, the Blueshirt Dream (a Stop Sinn Fein 2016 election) will depend on just how much the economy (both global and Irish) has disintegrated by then. Labour are finished anyway, but (and correct me if I’m wrong) FG’s credibility is based on ‘tough decisions now; prosperity later’. If that prosperity doesn’t materialise, though…. For one thing, some people are predicting petrol/diesel at €2 a litre by the end of the year; what will it be by 2016? Substantially higher, and I believe you have something that people really will riot over.


alastair - February 26, 2012

>Labour are finished anyway

They’re polling a bit better than they were when in govt, with hard decisions to make et al, back in the 80’s, so I think it’s a little premature to write them off so soon


WorldbyStorm - February 26, 2012

Where pray tell is the apology?


5. John Meehan - February 26, 2012

Thanks for the health-warning (via Dotski) WBS.

Perhaps we are best “parking” these poll figures, and waiting for publication of the next credible poll numbers – and then making a comparison?


WorldbyStorm - February 26, 2012

Ach, IELB wrote the post above. He has to take the credit.

Agree though John. Red C is my usual base line, and the SBP ones, not the incidental ones they do for Paddy Power. At the least it’s regular and offers continuity.


Sam - February 26, 2012

They might be wrong, but as far as everyone bar FF and Lab are concerned, they are wrong in the right direction. If you catch my drift.


6. CL - February 26, 2012

Looks like Labour is following the Greens into that well known dustbin, and for similar reasons. Labour is now part of a right-wing govt. attacking working class living standards.
According to the poll support for the Sinn Fail/Fianna Fein populist nationalist grouping is now about even with the right-wing F.G/Lab group. Who said TINA?


que - February 26, 2012

You really regard SF and FF as forming a combined nationalist grouping?


CL - February 26, 2012

Certainly they both claim to be nationalist.


CL - February 26, 2012

and ‘Republican’


7. TheOtherRiverR(h)ine - February 26, 2012

“Not just that but a prospective Sinn Fein / Fianna Fail coalition would have a Sinn Fein Taoiseach! (A bit to go yet though)”

Like the Labour party in the 70’s and 80’s coalition is going to be an ugly debate within the party.
At the minute I can’t see it – most people I know in SF would resign if that were to happen. And theyre well aware of what it was like during the 2007 campaign when it was pretty much unspoken. Most want to see the FF beast dead and that would mean FF-FG. And they’re not stupid within the party. The most likely outcomes of coalition with FF are well known.

The usual caveat is I can’t say what the opinion will be like in 2016. For most power is one hell of an aphrodesiac.

As for the “Stop a Sinn Fein Taoiseach for the 2016 celebrations”. Gay Mitchell bascially troted that line and he’s going to be replaced in 2014 by Senator Coughlan. If there that stupid to follow the same strategy then they deserve to lose.


8. irishelectionliterature - February 26, 2012

I read the findings of the poll this morning (in the shop ) and it looks as if there’s a large jump in support for SF amongst younger women voters (18 to 35 age group I think). This makes sense given the prominence of Mary Lou McDonald. Whilst there are women in the cabinet and Junior Ministries they are mostly (Lucinda aside) all over 50.
The lack of a female TD hurts Fianna Fail badly here. Yes they have Senator Averil Power but even the Indo went to town on her last week over the cost of her iPhone (not written by the husband).
So there’s quite a number of young women voters with Mary Lou and Clare Daly as their only prominent political role models.

Yes its hard to believe that 1 in four people are voting Sinn Fein but then again it was hard for me to believe that 4 or 5 in every 10 was voting Fianna Fail for years. Even still I find it hard to see how 1 in 6 intend voting Fianna Fail .


WorldbyStorm - February 26, 2012

Interesting, the current issue of the Phoenix suggested that some LP polling indicated that MLM was doing well with precisely that demographic.

+1 re FF


9. shea - February 26, 2012

Has anyone contomplate a FF FG coalition after the election or labour getting spooked and FF backing up the government before an election?


10. Vincent Salafia - March 1, 2012

Why have you completely left the Green Party implosion out of this? I found this thread from reading the poll analysis on politicalreform.ie, where the Greens were rightly predicted to win no seats in the next election. Someone put a health warning in a comment under the artcile, linking to here. So, what is the warning?

This site has always been biased in favour of the Green Party. Patheic really.


WorldbyStorm - March 1, 2012

Hah, hah. A bit late to the party aren’t you? [assuming it isn’t a wind-up, come on, it’s a wind-up isn’t it, given that we’re leftists, Republican Socialists, WP members, etc here]…

The Green Party imploded at the last local elections and then popped out of meaningful existence at the General Election this time last year.

But by all means throw around the accusation that we’re biased in favour of the Green Party by not paying any attention to them whatsoever.

To be honest I think it’s more your problem than ours.


WorldbyStorm - March 1, 2012

Nah, it’s a wind up, isn’t it. Good one though.


11. Vincent Salafia - March 2, 2012

OK, So you tell me. Why did you leave them out – despite the fact they featured in the poll along with all the other parties.

We all know that the Greens are unenlightened capitalists, passing themselves off as leftists.


WorldbyStorm - March 2, 2012

Well I didn’t leave them out because I didn’t write the piece, but my guess is that IELB didn’t see them as worth discussing for the following reasons.

Because now they’re outside of government.

Because they have no national representation.

Because bar an handful of TCs and one or two councillors they have no local representation worth speaking of.

And most importantly because they’re entirely irrelevant to any discussion on Irish politics at this point int time.

And that’s why IELB and myself have paid them little or no attention at all since their demise, and precious little before it come to think of it because they had such a small impact on the previous coalition. They’re just not at the races.

It’s still an odd complaint to accuse us of being pro-GP because we don’t write about them in the post above.

But let’s be honest here, it looks like your sense of this site is very different from the reality. Perhaps, it has something to do with this post here from 2006 written by one of our contributors.


Now I’ve no problem with you taking issue with that post, though I stand over the right of joemomma and any other contributor here to write about whatever they like within the usual guidelines and it’s important to note that there’s no uniformity of opinion on this or other matters. But if you take it upon yourself to critique us so harshly as to call us ‘pathetic’ for some supposed bias towards the GP… well it might be reasonable to do us the courtesy of reading the varying viewpoints that have been expressed here over the years in relation to the GP without arguing that we’re shills for that group.

So what have we written about them. Consider this.


Not exactly gushing and uncritical on their behalf. Indeed I directly position my critique of them and in some ways ODS from the left.

I conclude:

And if this seems harsh on the GP, well it should be because for all the genuinely thoughtful approaches on some issues, and indeed the entirely correct centrality of climate change to much of what they championed, so much of what they implemented in government has been sluiced away by the likes on one P. Hogan. That’s all it took. That’s how marginal their impact actually was.

If you can read that post and see it as pro-GP you’re a better man than me.

Or how about this from January: https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/that-latest-paddy-power-red-c-poll/

Just to note that ‘Independents’ includes Others and the Green Party. Irritating in the latter instance, difficult to determine national support in the former.

I’m calling it irritating that they’re mentioned in a national poll at all given they have no national representation. I’m not overflowing with the love for them.

And nor is this when in December I ask:

Why are the Green Party, a party without national representation still recorded separately in the opinion poll? One wonders what the results would be if it were ULA, or Socialist Party, or People Before Profit, all of which have members actually in the Dáil, and significantly greater local represenation than the Green Party. Indeed the skewing effects of asking about the GP are potentially so great – after all 3 per cent is margin of error that it’s hard not to see this as profoundly negative.

And here’s another from last December https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/the-ghost-of-christmas-past-the-green-party/

After their 30 year anniversary…
And that is what makes latest pronouncements from the GP so difficult to take entirely seriously. I don’t mean this in a personalised way, but by any measure the GP leadership that was failed. It failed at national and representational level [perhaps the only one who could be said to evade that blame, at least in part, would be Trevor Sargent who due incidental circumstances was taken out of play early on – and it was notable that of all GP candidates he was one of the few with even a slim chance of reelection earlier this year]. In any other party it would be near impossible that personalities associated with such failure would take the leadership, such as it is [though tellingly something of a similar process is evident in Fianna Fáil].


Moreover look at what is being proscribed, a sort of weak repositioning that seems to ignore their handiwork between 2007 and 2011 and an attempt to place them somewhere apart. The latter would be fine, well actually it wouldn’t – it would be an absolute cop out, if it weren’t for the fact that in Government the GP acted broadly in a right of centre fashion, albeit with some modish but half-hearted tilts towards equality, etc. This latest piece in the Irish Times, by Eamon Ryan, is masterful, but perhaps not quite in the way it is intended:


there is little here to suggest that genuinely ‘Lessons have been learned from the mistakes which were made in government.’. The article doesn’t bother to mention any, and given the corporate centrality to those mistakes perhaps that’s not such a surprise. There’s no hint of genuine radicalism, no hint that the party might reposition itself on the left of the political spectrum (and there might be good reason why it won’t from electoral reasons, Dublin South is hardly an hot-bed of radicalism at the best of times) and that being the case it’s difficult from a left perspective, a red-green perspective in my own case, to hold out much hope for the future. Which leaves those of us who are red-greens in a situation where there is no explicit vehicle for our politics either inside or outside the Dáil, and on the face of the latest rhetoric emanating from the GP unlikely to be one anytime soon. That’s problematic in itself. On the broader front of climate change it’s absolutely disastrous.

Then there’s the review of Mary Minihan’s book on their time in government – I didn’t write it but I concur with it entirely.

Smiffy who wrote it put it this way…

I voted for the Greens in 2007 because I believed (and still believe) that climate change is the single most important issue facing society.  If they achieved nothing else in government, they should at least have managed to get the Climate Change Bill through during their time in office.  At least with that, they might have walked away with some consolation for participating in, and with responsibility for, what was arguably the worst government in the history of the state.  However, they did not.

With friends like that…

And here’s one from the middle of last year…
Anyhow, there are other differences. The Swedish GP while not defining itself as left wing is clearly positioned on the left of centre in a way that the Irish GP simply hasn’t.


And here’s another from June… which asks “The Green Party elects Eamon Ryan as leader. Why?”


And before the last election I was clear that the GP had made a strategic error…

And whether the ‘right thing’ was done yesterday [in leaving Govt.] or not in truth in the months and years subsequent to NAMA the opportunities for departure were rich, and not taken. Even now, after the events of the last two weeks the GP still hesitated and ultimately drew back.
All of which points perhaps to the fact that the show has moved on and others will be making history soon enough. Their time has been and for the moment, and presumably for a long while, has gone.

And before that again:

What did for the Green Party was not so much that it entered Government, though that was no great surprise to some, but it remained in Government – to the open dismay of many who would have wished it well.

And how about this from April 1st 2010.


I know many good and genuine people in the GP. I share that party’s analysis as regards climate change, but as noted above, it failed to shift that issue in the Irish context entirely. An enormous failing. And I don’t consider it a left wing party even if there are some leftists within it.

And if it’s doing nothing of any particular interest politically I see no reason why any contributor here should apologise for not paying it any attention.


12. Pollwatch: Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI 20th April | Stephen Spillane - April 19, 2012

[…] That “Behaviours and Attitudes” Poll….. and the Fine Gael dream contest. (cedarlounge.wordpress.com) […]


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