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March 29th Poll from RedC/SBP March 29, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

Just out, and what’s this?

RTÉ reports that:

The latest opinion poll shows support for the Government parties has dropped to its lowest level since the Coalition took office in March 2011.

The figures for the various forces are as follows:

FG 26% [-3], LP 9% [-2], FF 22% [NC], SF 21% [+5%], IND/OTHERS 22% [NC].

The movement, such as it is is all margin of error stuff bar SF (and FG?). That’s interesting that they should do so well. But it hardly is surprising that the events of the last fortnight and before should cause problems for the government (and intriguing that FF’s recent shindig hasn’t reaped any rewards, at least not so far). One wonders if they regret not dealing more decisively from the off and telling people where they’d run out of road. Telling too that the Ind/Other category remains rock solid.

Closing fast on the local and European elections that’s good news for SF and Ind/Others. So so news for FF and not good at all for FG and LP.


1. doctorfive - March 29, 2014

FF gave gained less than five points on 2011 17.4%



2. Paddy Healy - March 29, 2014

In a general election Labour has traditionally benefited from late transfers from Independents, Sinn Féin, Greens etc. But now Sinn Fein and Independents have more than twice the support level of the Labour Party. This is an “appalling vista” for the Labour Party.
But as Adrian Kavanagh has conceded, Red C polls consistently exaggerate support for the Labour Party.
We don’t have full details of the poll. But in recent times there is normally 30% who have no opinion. Red C first of all eliminate 10% on the grounds that they will not vote. Then half the remaining 20% is allocated on the basis of the outcome of the last election. This means that Labour gets an additional 1.95%% (19.5% in last election) and Fg gets an additional 3.6%(36% in last election) and Sinn Fein gets an additional 0.95%. This is based on the assumption that voters, in significant numbers, return to base in an actual election as has happened in previous elections. But these are UNPRECEDENTED and RAPIDLY CHANGING circumstances.
Hence the national vote for Labour is probably about 7% not the 9% allocated by Red C. Outside of Dublin the vote could be 5% or less.
This means that Labour will hold a handful of seats in a general election. This amounts to a virtual “wipe-out”
They may hold a seats in 9 or 10 seat constituencies in the local elections but their local authority representation will probably be halved.


hardcorefornerds - March 29, 2014

“This means that Labour gets an additional 1.95%% (19.5% in last election) and Fg gets an additional 3.6% (36% in last election) and Sinn Fein gets an additional 0.95%.” If 10% of respondents are allocated based on 2011 results, that only has a marginal impact – far outweighed by the responses of the remaining 70%. You can’t just add on the percentages to the end figures as you have done – it’s proportional, and only changes anything where there’s a difference between the 2011 and current figures. Even in the most extreme case of Labour, it’s not much more than a one-point difference (if they’ve lost 10 percentage points in the polling), not two as you have it. Why RedC do it all, except for the attraction of tinkering with statistics, is a mystery to me.


hardcorefornerds - March 29, 2014

Think of it this way – the 10% are assigned in proportions that are by and large similar to the current distribution, and where there’s a difference in percentage point terms it only shows up as a fraction (about a tenth, but more accurately around 1/8th because of the 20% not included at all) of the change in the end result. It might help to use raw figures in place of pefcentages, too. If 10% of the 700 who expressed an opinion said Labour, that’s 70. Add in 20% of the extra 100 – that’s another 20, but divide the new total of 800 by the sum of 90 and the result (11.25%) is much closer to the original, unadjusted figure, because it has such a greater weighting.


3. sonofstan - March 29, 2014

It would be extremely interesting to know the voting history of all these new SF enthusiasts – and over more than one election; because while it might be the case that a lot of those notional votes were Labour last time, I bet a lot of those were FF before that – which is almost worse news for FF than for Labour.


shea - March 30, 2014

SF have broken 20% a few times in these polls and yoyo ed back down to about 16% some of that vote your talking about yeah the shinners are holding it and FF are probably not to happy about it but some of that vote seems to be bouncing around the place.

independents is still the fascinating one.


WorldbyStorm - March 30, 2014

Yep. Agree re Indo’s. Still SF have to be happy that their vote is now regularly double the 2011 vote. It’s some achievement. And even if on the day it fell to say 13% that would still see them reap seat gains.


4. Jim Monaghan - March 30, 2014

As time goes by SF are getting less “toxic”. The war and it’s downside is becoming more and more history. Therefore I see SF attracting more transfers. In many constituencies the competition os really for the last or last two seats so positioning and transfer friendliness is key


WorldbyStorm - March 30, 2014

Jim could you check your emails, been trying to contact you for some time now with no response. It’s probably not the usual WBS one that it’s coming through on (I’ve problems with my email at the moment). Thanks.

Definitely agree re your point. I was talking to some people the other day in their late 20s and early 30s who hadn’t a clue about the Gregory Deal and were shaky on the Tallaght Strategy. Fair enough, esoteric enough for the general public but consider how Bertie Ahern is now gone a period of time close enough to the best part of a decade. Cowen is history. Etc, etc. And there’s been a proper cessation almost two decades long.

This is not to say that the antagonism has gone, indeed in some ways I sometimes think it’s stronger than it was in some quarters because now SF is a visible and important presence in southern politics. There are those who will never ever vote for the party. But… as you say transfers are likely to increase and… it seemed to me telling that even the coverage by the Mail of the Cherie Blair and McGuinness hug at Tony Benn’s funeral couldn’t quite get the tone right given that the Queen had shaken hands with the man. They hate him but they can’t attack him in the way they used to.


5. March 29th Poll from RedC/SBP – an extrapolation… | The Cedar Lounge Revolution - March 30, 2014

[…] as shea noted in comments under the earlier piece on the poll, look at the Independents and Others. 32 seats. Remarkable (and consider too that in 1969 there was […]


6. roddy - March 30, 2014

I am a great believer in history repeating itself and I see parallels now with SF and early FF.Before the usual suspects jump in ,there are major policy differences between SF now and FF then (although early FF was more honourable then compared to what it became).The similarities I refer to is when armed struggle was abandonded in both cases and all effort put into party building success was unbelievable. In both cases those who clung to militarism were marginalised and thrown into disarray for decades.Things seem to happen in cycles and endlessly repeat themselves.


WorldbyStorm - March 30, 2014

I’d agree with your analysis roddy. There’s definitely a huge energy that comes from very disciplined groups that go wholeheartedly into politics. On a lesser scale we saw the same with the WP. One of the things that has impressed me about the SF TDs (and Seanadoiri) has been how good they have been in the Dáil chamber. Not all of them by any means but there’s some very strong voices there and it has blunted FF’s ability to jump back into the political ring considerably as well as being deeply problematic for the government.


7. Jack Jameson - March 30, 2014

The potential implosion of Labour bodes well for where future progressive-minded politicos look for a political voice or home, be it Sinn Féin, Independents, or SP and PBP/SWP.


8. Jolly Red Giant - March 30, 2014

I agree with what Paddy has said above. In fact I would go further and suggest that the wipe-out of the LP will not just be virtual. The more time goes on the more seats the LP will lose and it could not be ruled out that they could lose every single seat they have if things continue as they are going. I believe that the LP will suffer an almighty hammering in the locals. Furthermore – unlike previous meltdowns by the LP after their participation in a coalition – it is distinctly possible that the LP could actually disintegrate and be unable to recover any coherent political structure. The only thing likely to hold it together is the continued affiliation of a number of trade unions – but it is likely that even that link will be tenuous and unable to maintain a LP coherent structure.

Since the foundation of the state the LP has had a small but coherent support base linked directly to the trade unions. Over the past 25 years, particularly since 1992, that support base has been consistently eroded as the LP has moved more towards representing the interests of professionals and the liberal middle class. It has relied over the last 20 years (since 1997 election) on presenting itself as a plausible opposition to neo-liberalism while still embracing neo-liberalism. The LP is incapable of going back to its roots as it has severed any such connection. Much of the support the LP received in 2011 was from public servants who accepted the claims that the LP would limit the impact of troika austerity – that support is now gone as public servants recognise the LP did the exact opposite. The elimination of any prospect of its support being maintained could result in the LP going bye-bye. Political parties cannot operate without an existing base of support on a class basis and once that no longer exists then the party can cease to exist (case in point being the disintegration of the Progressive Democrats).


que - March 30, 2014

That reads like its plausible. LP out-sourced the management in the 90s because it had no dynamism within it but now the newbies are being rejected then who could replace them. There is something very moribund at the heart of labour and thats ignoring the gilmores of this world.


9. Paddy Healy - March 31, 2014

In my earlier post, I did not mean to imply that the Red C process merely involved the addition of half the “don’t knows” in proportion to the party performance in the last election. But this is part of the process. The suggestion by hardcorefornerds that the Red C process has very little effect on poll outcomes is incorrect.
I explained the situation last year using the Millward Brown figures for Sep1,2013.
The key conclusion is: “Because The Labour Party is polling so badly (5%) in the raw vote and did so much better relatively speaking in General Election (19.4%), its elevation is disproportionately large in the Red C Process”.
My preference would be for polling companies to simply supply raw figures so that changes over time can be monitored and the outcomes from different polling companies can be compared.
In the current unprecedented political situation a process of calculation based on previous political behaviour of respondents to questions in polls is unreliable.
Here is my original example from last year:
Why Labour is disproportionately elevated in RED C Polls
Below “MB Raw” is the actual figure for each party given by Millward Brown in the poll published in Sunday Independent on Sept 1 2013. There were 36% who offered no opinion. I am using “raw vote” rather than “core vote” because polling companies have different definitions of “core vote”. EF stands for Elevation Factor found by dividing final poll figures by the raw vote of the party concerned. The EquivRed C figure is my estimate of what the Red C outcome would be based on the MB Raw figures. This estimate is based on the assumption that 10% will not vote and half the remainder of “don’t knows” are assigned to the political parties in proportion to the vote each received in the 2011 General Election. The final Millward Brown figure is achieved by simply discarding the 36% who offered no opinion.
The figure for General Election 2011 were: FG36 FF 17.4 SF9.9 Lab 19.4 Others(including Greens) 17.2
The MB elevation factors differ marginally due to rounding
The EquivRed C Elevation factors differ substantially with the Labour Party receiving a factor of 2 as against a factor of 1.6 in MB. The nearest to the Labour Party is FG with a factor of 1.65 in EquivRed C.
Comparison of the absolute differences between poll outcomes or numerical elevations can be misleading. For example an increase above the raw vote of 5 points for a party on 5(MB Raw) is a totally different matter than an elevation of 5 for a Party on 17(MB Raw).
Because The Labour Party is polling so badly (5%) in the raw vote and did so much better relatively speaking in General Election (19.4%), its elevation is disproportionately large in the Red C Process.
There might be some degree of justification for the disproportionate elevation of the Labour party in RED C Polls if there was a reason to believe that Labour voters in the last General would return to Labour in an actual general Election in significant numbers. On the contrary, the evidence is that AFTER PARTICIPATION IN COALITIONS, Labour voters do not return in great numbers in the subsequent General Election.
MB Raw % Final Outcomes
Labour 5 EquivRed C 10 EF 2.0 MB 8 EF 1.6
FF 16 EquivRED C 24 EF 1.5 MB 25 EF 1.56
FG 17 EquivRED C 28 EF1.65 MB 27 EF 1.59
SF 13 EquivRED C 19 EF 1.46 MB 21 EF 1.62
Others 13 EquivRed C 19 EF 1.52MB 20 EF 1.60
No Opinion 36


10. roddy - March 31, 2014

I have always found Red C to be very accurate with regard to the SF vote.The final Red C before an election is usually spot on as to how SF will do.


11. Paddy Healy - April 1, 2014

My point is that past outcomes and attendant assumptions of Red C in processing raw data are an unreliable guide to future elections because we are in an unprecedented political situation which is rapidly changing.
It is my view that because the discrepancy between the SF vote in the last election (9.5%) and its current rating(21%) is so great, it is probable that SF will do better than predicted by Red C in the next election. In the case of the Labour Party the discrepancy is huge in the opposite direction. Consequently the Labour Party will probably do worse than predicted by Red C in the next election.


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