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That weekend RedC SBP poll… May 29, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.

It’s worth noting briefly some of the features of the latest RedC/SBP poll. As ever the figure that really stands out remains the solidity of the Independent/Others block. It is possible to make a case that the graph for them since September 2011 has been broadly speaking upwards and note that they have only once in any of these polls dipped to 17 per cent. That remains an enormous pool of potential and actual voters. It would make one wonder is there a sort of virtuous circle effect in operation – that the sheer number of Independents/Others is sustaining their public profile and is consequently allowing them, unlike in previous Dáils to retain their poll ratings or even increase them. Could it be that that is sufficient to offset the inchoate aspect of their presentation and their lack of unified direction? Whatever, it remains a novel development in Irish political activity.

Sinn Féin might well be pleased to see their vote stabilise after some dips across the last five months. 16 per cent is a very solid rating and only a couple of percentage points shy of the Labour Party at the 2011 GE. For them to consolidate there would be by any measure a positive in terms of being this far out from the next election.

For Labour the situation is more mixed. They too have stabilised. But the general direction of their progress had been downwards across the past couple of years. The real question is is there any way they can claw back votes. To ask it is to invite derision, for there appears to be no clear mechanism by which they could do so. And that’s deeply problematic. Because it suggests the long term outlook, even short of their destruction as a national political entity (which was always unlikely), is poor. Not enough has been considered as regards their position if Sinn Féin jumps ahead of them in terms of seats and national profile. It’s not just the actual political impact, or the demoralising effect, it’s also the problem of being the fourth party in a multiparty system.

Whereas Fianna Fáil. Well, it moves slowly upwards, clawing back support. It’s worth noting that the big jump in its level of support was between January and February of this year, where it peaked at 26 per cent – up from 21 per cent before falling back slightly to 24 per cent. Was that a psychological and political watershed, where before that FF remained untouchable and after that it had gained 9 points on its GE 2011 level? The central question is whether it can shift past 30 per cent. Once I’d have said no, and it is true that there is a block on its ambitions in the form of both the solidity of the SF,

Independent/Others and to a lesser extent the LP votes. And yet, what appears to be taking place is a drift of votes from FG. That might be a profitable source of increased support. Indeed Richard Colwell makes just that point:

Also, the fact is that many of those who claim to be going back reluctantly to Fianna Fáil, actually have a history of supporting them for years before. Looking at those who claim to be undecided in today’s poll, 63 per cent voted for government parties at the last election. At the same time, 40 per cent voted for Fianna Fáil in 2007.
I asked last month what Fianna Fáil needed to do to break through the apparently solid support Fine Gael had been retaining for several months. Today’s poll suggest that might not be as difficult as I had envisaged. Perhaps the question should now be what Fine Gael can do to stop its support falling any further.

Could FF get 40 per cent again? Unlikely. But… in the current context 30 per cent would be a great improvement on 2011. 35 per cent better again.
Which brings us to FG. This is pretty disastrous, albeit the response to the poll has been muffled. It’s not just that FG has fallen to parity with Fianna Fáil, it is that Fine Gael now is one percentage point lower than it’s General Election 2007 rating of 27 per cent. Pat Leahy argues that:

Obviously, if Fine Gael fell consistently into the low 20s and Labour dipped below 10 per cent, there would be political effects within those parties. Don’t forget that it was an opinion poll which triggered the heave against Enda Kenny in 2010. There is no prospect of a heave against the Taoiseach. But you probably couldn’t say that with the same degree of certainty about Eamon Gilmore.

That’s interesting, what he says about Labour, but I wonder if it is quite so certain that Kenny’s position is secure, and one has to also ask at what point does he become insecure? 25 per cent? 22 per cent? 20 per cent?

Looking at the poll numbers in total I think it’s fair to say that a lot of the volatility has gone out of the situation. Labour, Sinn Féin and Independents/Others remain there or thereabouts, the action is between FF and FG. But as always, and not to be too optimistic, there’s huge opportunity in that Independent/Others bloc. If the will is there to use it.


1. Irish Labour Party crisis for joining austerity coalition government | Dear Kitty. Some blog - May 31, 2013

[…] That weekend RedC SBP poll… (cedarlounge.wordpress.com) […]


2. Sunday Independent/Millward Brown Interesting/Irritating Poll of the Weekend | The Cedar Lounge Revolution - June 2, 2013

[…] What’s most noticeable is how this is in or around the most recent RedC poll for the Sunday Business Post. […]


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