More on that RedC/Paddy Power poll… January 17, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
As noted by doctorfive last week saw a new RedC poll for Paddy Power bookmakers. Due to one thing and another I didn’t have time to analyse th figures in any detail before now, but they are worth slotting into a broad overview of the political situation.
The headline figures:
FG 29%(-3), Lab 13% (=), FF 21%(+3), SF 16%(-4) and Ind/others 21% (+4)
A number of obvious thoughts. This poll tallies well with the SBP/RedC poll released on 1st of December.
FG 28(-6), Lab 14(+1), FF 20(+1), SF 17(nc), Ind 21(+4)
Indeed the movement has been marginal, subsequently.
But look at the key changes, though bear in mind the last Paddy Power poll was in May 2012. Sinn Féin has moved to a new normal of mid to high-teens across the latter half of last year. Fianna Fáil has broken through the not unimportant 20 per cent barrier, while Fine Gael’s movement has been to break through the equally important 30 per cent barrier – albeit in the wrong direction. Independents remain oddly, some would say improbably, high at 21 per cent, a good four per cent higher than they were at Election 2011. Labour has arrived at a new normal too of low to mid teens.
What does this suggest? Well, a disenchantment with the political parties, where none are trusted sufficiently to be gifted anything like an commanding lead. Fine Gael’s decline is most interesting because one would have thought that it would become the natural repository of right and centre votes. But perhaps there are fewer right and centre voters willing to trust it. And in truth a lot of the gloss has gone off it in relation to obvious issues in the past three months – one could argue that the most recent developments as regards abortion provision shift its image away from a sort of technocracy towards something rather different, if no less conservative. And it’s not as if there aren’t options. Fianna Fáil’s long march back continues. But in fairness there’s still an hell of a way to go before it arrives at anything like major party status.
Though also in fairness it would do well if a vote were held on these figures. Adrian Kavanagh notes the following seat projections:
Fine Gael 56, Labour 18, Fianna Fail 37, Sinn Fein 23, Green Party 1, United Left Alliance 4, Independents and Others 19.
One can quibble about the detail in individual constituencies, but the overall trends seem sound enough (by the way he has Seamus Healey down as an ULA TD in Tipperary, and sees all but RBB of the current ULA representation holding their seats).
Sinn Féin might be, all things considered, reasonably pleased. Their support consolidates, but it is perhaps lower than they’d like and they will be hoping that it is stabilising rather than decreasing still. That said let’s note that even close before the 2011 election the idea of them getting 14 TDs was fantastical, 23 would be excellent, and there’s plenty of time for them to prise more from the LP. Without doubt, though, they are now a substantial part of the political process in this state. Quite a turnaround from 2007.
Labour will be pleased that the blow-back from the last few weeks and months hasn’t been worse. But there’s more to come, so who knows how that will impact?
Mind you, there are other aspects worth of consideration. It’s telling, is it not, that as FF improves its position that of Independents doesn’t improve quite as well in terms of representation – they are reaping an higher vote share but they’re not seeing massively increased Independent TDs returned on foot of it. That said there’d be few amongst their number unhappy with that sort of projection. And is that a straw in the wind that the Green Party might, just might, see the hint of a possibility of some progress. They’d like to think so. But…
One thing is very clear, actual government formation in this sort of schema would be a nightmare. And while, like shares, the figures could go up from here, say for FG or the LP, few would be counting on that. Does it imply that the dynamic could be one where FG and FF coalition would become all but inevitable? Well, perhaps, but it will be instructive to see whether ‘stability’, that word of the moment, overcomes the antagonism in this polity to moving beyond two alternating centre/centre right parties towards something… different.
Another thought, those ‘new’ party mavens might want to get moving and fast. There’s not a lot of time left to start organising, and it seems unlikely that the situation will be as propitious subsequent to this as it appears now. Though whether it is that good for a new party remains to be seen. There seems to be something an antipathy to the larger parties in general, particularly when 1 in 5 of the electorate still won’t put their x beside the name of any one of them.