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RedC Poll, May 13 May 14, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
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Well, another month, another poll. And this from RedC, which has provided a consistent month by month series of polls (bar an hiatus for some of last summer) across the last twelve months and more. So, what to report? Fine Gael down 2 points to 29 percent. Fianna Fáil upticks by 2 points to 19 per cent. Labour slides another point to 13 per cent. Sinn Féin continues to move upwards, gaining 2 points to break the 20 per cent barrier. Finally, Independents and Others who remain on an healthy 18 per cent.
Richard Colwell of RedC argues:

It appears that active campaigning for the referendum, whether it be for the Yes or No camp, is good for political health and. As a result, we may see more active campaigning from all the parties over the final two and a half weeks.

And yet the referendum is trending towards the Yes vote despite, for example, SF making significant gains. Or as Colwell notes:

Despite the apparent resolution of Irish voters to support the fiscal treaty, this does not appear to have been reflected in support for the government parties. Instead, the opposite appears to be the case, with Fine Gael in particular losing support, while Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil, both arguably more prominent in the campaign so far, making gains.

It’s no real surprise that the issue of the Treaty is detached from party politics, at least to some degree. In a way this is due to it being painted in near existential terms by all and sundry. Whether in the longer term it has an effect one way or another, and assuming it is won, will be interesting to see.
Meanwhile this poll is bad for Fine Gael, and bad for Kenny. It’s odd, I’ve recently started watching Leaders Questions in the Dáil after a break of some years and it has struck me that the man seems very uncomfortable in that position. I’m reminded in a way of Jack Lynch who won in 1977 with a massive land slide for Fianna Fáil but within two years was replaced by Charles Haughey. I doubt that that will happen to Kenny, at least not for a while. But one too many sub-30 poll ratings will do for him.
The Fianna Fáil rating is a bit of an oddity. I’d love to think it was a function of margin of error, not least given the ludicrous ‘should I go or should I stay’ antics of the party’s only back bench TD. But it’s hard to know. If it’s a trend it is almost inexplicable. Why now? As seen above RedC suggest it is a function of campaigning for the Treaty. That’s an odd one too given the very high profile dissidence expressed.
Or is it that with the general discomfort the Government is experiencing one or two are beginning to forget what preceded it. But no doubt heartening news for them, and Martin in particular, that there is some hope they can claw back vote share. 19 per cent is far from stellar but that the needle has moved upwards even slightly is a good sign for them.
Labour moves yet closer to its standard operating level. In a way it seems to be that the election level it achieved was built on much less than might have been expected. All the rhetoric now seems to have been based on… well.. rhetoric. Surely, it did achieve 19 per cent. But tellingly at no point in the last year and more has it regained that level of 19 per cent. And ever since with minor exceptions the direction has been trending downwards. It’s a thought, isn’t it, that it has now lost over a quarter of its vote in one year.

Sinn Féin by contrast has continued it’s seemingly inexorable rise. And if the LP has lost 6 points SF has, by contrast, gained 11! Of course SF is in a slightly better position, some would say, to pull votes for all over the shop. Indeed the SBP notes that votes are coming in equal numbers from the LP and FG to it. That’s quite something really when SF can pull FG voters to it, though it appears these are former FF voters who gifted their support to FG last year.

That Independents/Others vote is interesting. That’s a point above the 2011 election position. And it seems that a decline that occurred in January, albeit from stratospherically high ratings of 20 plus per cent, has been arrested. But this is still remarkable stuff that that vote remains relatively coherent. I’ve noted this previously, the longer people self-identify with any given party or group or category the more likely that they will vote for it at the election, and that means that a large cohort of the electorate, jsut shy of 1 in 5 voters, has done just that with Independents and Others. Of course, the flip side of that is that the Independent/Other vote isn’t growing which may mean that constituent elements such as the ULA and allied formations may well be stuck. I seem to recall that the last RedC poll put the Socialist Party on 1 per cent nationally. Enough to retain their TDs but not much more. And one presumes its the same with PBP and the other TDs. That said, if this remains a feature of the political landscape it suggests Independent/Others retaining their place in significant numbers come the next election.
But look again at the rise in FF’s vote. This is mirrored by a fall in the FG vote and… and this is particularly revealing, a rise in the SF vote. This suggests that FF may have it wrong in seeing SF as the main enemy. It may be that FG is the key to unlocking at least some of its former vote share. And that makes sense because a fair chunk of that vote, particularly the more centre/right leaning element went to FG.
No end of questions raised too about what this means for the future fortunes of FF as the local elections draw near, though IELB will have some thoughts on that and other matters soon enough.

Comments»

1. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - May 14, 2012
2. Oireachtas Retort - May 14, 2012

After Saturday’s Irish Times effort the Indo goes for Sinn Féin today. The polls haven’t spooked so much since Richard Bruton and the gang lost the run of themselves

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3. LeftAtTheCross - May 14, 2012

“Sinn Féin needs this country to be prosperous. We need entrepreneurs and business leaders to be adventurous and to be successful.”

We were having a discussion a few months ago about the difficulties of a political party sticking to a long-term strategic narrative in the absence of a clear (and overtly publically acknowledged) ideological foundation.

As SF now goes after the FG vote, where’s the class politics, where’s the socialism?

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Jim Monaghan - May 14, 2012

Can someone get Adams to read the speeches of the Syrizia leader or would that be too ultraleft?
On a footnote what are the numbers for parties pro and anti austerity or Troika.. It would mean splitting the independent vote along these lines.

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que - May 14, 2012

Am confused by what the issue is here. SF goes after the FG vote you say. Yet all Doherty does is say some people who voted FG will switch to SF.

Now considering that in the March poll that 47% of the C2DE polling group was going for either Fianna Fail or Fine Gael then it seems fairly obvious that getting FG and FF voters to vote left is a pretty concerning issue.

If saying at a future date some of those voters might switch from FG/FF to SF or even to ULA etc isnt socialism or class politics then clearly there must be something wrong with the definition of what is class politics or socialism cause those definitions are not worth much.

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LeftAtTheCross - May 14, 2012

Que, it’s the bit where he states:

“Sinn Féin needs this country to be prosperous. We need entrepreneurs and business leaders to be adventurous and to be successful.”

Very Seán Gallagher. Not very Seán Garland. That type of class politics. Clear enough definition I think.

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Oireachtas Retort - May 14, 2012

Can imagine the rage on Mount st if they couldn’t present themselves as the opposite of Sinn Féin

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WorldbyStorm - May 14, 2012

🙂

Re the broader point I’m in two minds. I see que’s point. Are we seriously to believe that there won’t be any businesses or entrepreneurs in the short to medium term? Seems doubtful and shouldn’t we seek to harness that energy? And it’s certainly true that a chunk of the vote that went to FG this time was originally FF.

But… I also think LATC has a real point here. How does a party of what seems to be close enough to traditional social democracy position itself in relation to business/capitalism and so on? It simply can’t be uncritical or overly laudatory of business/capitalism. Perhaps British Labour is a bad example but the way it oriented itself to business was part and parcel of its downfall.

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que - May 14, 2012

WBS, I think your post nicely reveals the dilemma in each paragraph. On the one hand the reality that in the medium term businesses have a role in society until a different model can be rolled out. There must be a recognition that in the absence of an alternative those businesses have a role. While on the other hand any left leaning party who gets put into the position of facing that reality (by becoming relevant rather than niche) is then presented with the problem of trying to solve it without reallu having had the opportunity of developing an ideological framework capable of responding. I think thats what drove Labour off course. People like Blair could see that UK Labour was not developing and from frustration, and due to Labour’s staidness could, and launched his own new labour – which when failed with the problem of how to engage with business just towed the line as we all know well.

But chicken and egg how could they ever have been prepared to face that reality if even accepting it is regarded as a total abandonment of the road to socialism. I’ve never felt comfortable that this problem has been resolved in a manner that takes into account the reality of the current model and its resilience.

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WorldbyStorm - May 14, 2012

That’s pretty much how I feel. No sense that there’s progress on it at all. It may be impossible to square that circle, or it may be that an evolutionary approach is necessary, in other words that by socialising, for want of a better term, the structures of employment while encouraging some forms of flexibiltiy in individual ownership, etc etc it is possible t
generate innovation and align with broader societal goals.

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shea - May 14, 2012

if SF are cleaning up in the cde2 sector then instead of compromiseing with capital to win support of them they are in a position where capital has to compromise with them or they could be if they want to be. war of position and all that.

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CMK - May 14, 2012

shea, I think it’s a little optimistic to think that capital is in the mood for compromising with a rising, but still minor, centrist political party. Given that capital can seemingly change governments at will in some EU states, I’d say it’ll be a long time before the same capital gives any thought to SF.

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shea - May 15, 2012

there not in the mood. i can reach my hand out towards them and meet them in the middle or they can stand still and i have to move futher to get to them. if i stand still then they have to get closer to get to me.

not suggesting the destruction of capitalism by th word compromise just how it incorporates people in to its hedgemonic which reading the docherty quote SF seem to be lineing up to do. thy are strategicly in a better position mopping up cde2 than trying to get a foot hold in another demograh with competeing interest.

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que - May 15, 2012

@Shea

Its Fianna Fail, Labour and Fine Gael who are cleaning up in C2DE – so those classed as skilled working class, semi-skilled working class, and casual/transfer dependant vote overwelmingly for the above 3 parties – 62% in March and thats excluding the extra percentage who vote for their equivalents. If they are to be called the parties of capital then they are over whelmingly the voices of the working class.
A truth that we all dislike

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LeftAtTheCross - May 15, 2012

Been dipping in and out of this today:

It seems relevant to this discussion.

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shea - May 15, 2012

where do you presume the rise in SF support is coming from. in the last general election they where in the dcimal range between 9% and 10% since then they have been riseing steadily to 21% in this weekends poll. maybe it is coming from the abc1 sector but i some how doubt it. whle they don’t have a monopoly on that section ithink cleaning up is a fair upamism to use under the circumstances. rather than looking to the other field there is still plenty of ploughing to be done in the one they are in.

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Ed - May 15, 2012

The problem is not with appealing to people who currently vote for FG or FF (or Labour). The issue is with bowing down before the cult of the ‘entrepreneur’, which is what Doherty did with those comments. Nobody on the left should have any truck with that – even if they’re not anti-capitalist, even if they see a role for private business in the economy for the forseeable future, if people ask them if they’re ‘pro-business’, they should just say ‘business has plenty of parties to look after its interests, we’re concerned about the rest of the population’,

If it was a question of broadening SF’s appeal, which of course they have to do – fair enough, SF won’t be able to take power only winning votes from unemployed people or those who live in council estates. But Doherty could have made the point that when political pundits talk about the need for parties to win middle-class support, the Irish Times definition of ‘middle-class’ really describes the upper and upper-middle class, not the people on average incomes. He could have come out with a few basic stats about how many people earn below 50, 40 and 30 grand. That would have pushed back a little against this bullshit consensus that there’s a ‘middle-class majority’ made up of very affluent people who all take two holidays a year and send their kids to private schools.

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WorldbyStorm - May 16, 2012

“f people ask them if they’re ‘pro-business’, they should just say ‘business has plenty of parties to look after its interests, we’re concerned about the rest of the population’,”

Great way of putting it Ed. That’s very much how I feel about it.

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4. Maxmillum - May 14, 2012

We were having a discussion a few months ago about the difficulties of a political party sticking to a long-term strategic narrative in the absence of a clear (and overtly publically acknowledged) ideological foundation.

– You know where it is – in the Workers’ Party

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5. Pollwatch: Sunday Business Post/RED C May 14th | Stephen Spillane - May 14, 2012

[…] RedC Poll, May 13 (cedarlounge.wordpress.com) Share this:SharePrintShareEmailDiggReddit […]

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