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2nd preferences at the European Election May 9, 2014

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

John Goodwillie points in comments
to the data from the latest RedC polls on the European elections in Dublin. Well worth a look for those hoping to parse potential outcomes from the upcoming contest. Check 2nd preferences (with the caveat that this is a small sample). Eamon Ryan has some intriguing 2nd preferences. Though so does Brian Hayes (and who are the 5% voting for him who are transferring to SF?). 19% of Murphy’s vote transfers to SF, 43% to Brid Smith. Whereas only 12% of hers transfers to Murphy.

And a further thought about the latest SBP/RedC tracking poll. Odd that it was released mid-week and not at the weekend. Anyone know why that would be. But… more interestingly, just look at the figures again.

Fine Gael 25 (-1)
Labour 11 (+2)
Fianna Fail 21 (-1)
Sinn Fein 18 (-3)
Independents 25 (+3)

Independents and Fine Gael neck and neck? That’s something else. Perhaps it is true that the local’s and European elections are no cost in the sense that they precipitate no immediate change, but… this poll – and those contests, will solidify some votes in the patterns we are seeing here. Which is good good news for everyone concerned. And just by the by, let’s note that at the last general election Independents/Others were at 15.4%, Fine Gael at 36.1%, FF at 17.4%, LP at 19.4% and SF at 9.9% (one caveat, the GP, now in with Ind/Others, was on 1.8% leading to a comparative figure of 17.2%). That’s some realignment of the vote, is it not?


1. Paddy Healy - May 9, 2014

John Goodwillie( hello John) says;”Smith is attracting a lot of votes from people who simply like the idea of people before profit and cannot be counted as ‘far left’ voters in Sonofstan’s phrase”
There is nothing surprising about the second preferences of Brid and Paul. If Paul is eliminated first the total will be 12% for Brid. If Brid is eliminated first, the total will be just over 8% for Paul.
Unlike the name and cause Sinn Féin, the organisations Socialist Party, People before Profit and Socialist Workers Party are largely unknown outside a small fraction of working class people. Both are fine able candidates (I will be voting for them)
Joe Higgins would probably have won a seat because he is widely known for his association with bin and water campaigns. He got 12.4 % on first count before any recession in 2009.
Why is Brid a more effective candidate than Paul. It has nothing to do with their abilities or committment and even less to do with their political parties.
Brid is a councillor in Ballyfermot where she is fighting on behalf of working people for decades. She is widely known for her work in Ballyfermot. Because of the way local authority housing works in Dublin, because Brid Smith(Not PBP) is widely known by Ballyfermot people, their cousins in Tallaght, Blanchardstown, Coolock etc will also have heard of her work. The Ballyfermot relatives will recommend her. That is the way the Dublin working class “grapevine” works. While Paul works very hard, but he is not personally implanted in any working class community to the extent that Brid is. His vote is more dependant on a layer of left wing people generally. That is why 43% of his votes will go to Brid. But most people who will vote for Brid will never have heard of Paul or his party and more will transfer to Sinn Fein than to Paul.
For the same reason that Brid is an effective candidate, Joan Collins, clare Daly and Ruth Coppinger would also be effective because they are deeply implanted in their communities and therefore known on the Dublin working class “grapevine” . The individual campaigners are much better known than their parties!! Ruth could well win the Dublin West bye-election and I hope she does.
Sinn Fein can get a big vote with a virtually unknown candidate because their CAUSE is known (remember the support for Hblock hungerstrikers in Dublin working-class areas).
The left must accept that there is a problem which each group cannot solve on its own. Neither group has mass support for their party as a party.
BTW the vote of 15.4% for independents in the last General Election could mislead. A third of it,at least, was cast for local and/or “no hope” candidates, who take part in all general elections and whose transfers scatter. Outside of election time, an opinion poll of 25% for others would result in an election vote of about 30%. Or to put it another way the part of the others vote in the last general election which compares to the 25% in the current poll is about 10%


2. sapteuq - May 10, 2014

Paddy you make some interesting points, but look at those 2nd preferences again! People voting for Brid Smith are most likely to identify with Nessa Childers. People voting for Paul Murphy go 43% for Brid Smith next. This is not, as you suggest, just because of profile. Look at who they transfer to.

Paul’s preferences go mostly to Brid (43), then to Lynn Boylan (19), some to Childers (13). Brid’s transfers make a long circuitous route through Childers (22), Boylan (20), then a fair slice to Jim Tallon (16!), before some go to Paul (12).

It’s very clear to me from this that Paul’s voters and Brid’s voters are two quite different groups. Paul’s vote is harder and more conscious. Brid’s vote is a general “anti-establishment” vote. The lazy practise of lumping in the Socialist Party with PBP/SWP as if they are the same receives a blow with these figures.


3. Paddy Healy - May 10, 2014

I said: “His vote is more dependant on a layer of left wing people generally. That is why 43% of his votes will go to Brid.” So we agree on that!!!
Your conclusion that the distribution of 2nd preferences does not take into account the different histories and implantations of the candidates. I suspect that if the candidates were Kieran Allen and Ruth Coppinger, the distribution profiles would be reversed.

A key part of the function of genuine socialists is to lead the “general anti-establisment” people against austerity. But firstly ,SP put up the wrong candidate despite my advice. This is no reflection on Paul.

The failure of the SP and SWP to grow in Britain at least in proportion to the growth of UKIP shows that there is a serious problem.

Similarly, a functioning United Left Alliance supporting an agreed candidate such as Joe Higgins would have transformed this election in Dublin.
But competition between the sects, as in the UK, meant that the ULA could not survive.


Jolly Red Giant - May 10, 2014

Paddy – The ULA fell apart because nobody joined it – from day one the ULA was only going to have a future if a significant layer of new activists joined the ULA – that did not happen. In contrast – a significant new layer of activists have joined the AAA (I don’t know anything about the activist base of the PBPA) – my own branch of the AAA has more than a dozen new activists (along with 2 SP members) and we never were able to get anyone to join the ULA. How many new members has the WUAG recruited in the past six months. How has the approach of the WUAG demonstrated to be more effective than that of the SP and SWP.

In the Euros – it would have been utterly daft for the Socialist Party to run Joe Higgins as candidate in the Euros (and you are the only person I have ever heard mention such a daft idea). The people of Dublin West would have regarded it as an utter betrayal, it would have completely undermined the left challenge in Dublin West – and the voters in the Euros would have regarded it as a case of Joe steps in, Joe steps out and Joe steps in again and would have treated the candidacy with utter derision.

The recent (flawed) opinion poll demonstrates that 16% of the electorate would vote for a left candidate – despite your protestations after the first poll that is 4% more than Joe Higgins in 2009. This election is of a different character – in 2009 Joe Higgins was in direct conflict with FF and SF for the last seat – in 2014 Paul Murphy and Brid Smith are smack bang in the middle of a major scramble for all three seats. There is still an opportunity for the wider left – in the guise of Seamus Healy, Clare Daly and Joan Collins (and any other TD on the left) to influence the outcome of the Euros in Dublin (and the by-election and locals) by participating in a joint press conference and joint activities with the SP, the AAA and the PBPA over the next two weeks. I am still waiting for your indication that you support such a move and will argue within the WUAG for the WUAG to engage with the idea. Or are you going to demonstrate the sectarianism that you consistently accuse the SP and SWP of engaging in.


4. Paddy Healy - May 10, 2014

There are none so blind – – -.The time for knock-about polemics is over. I rest my case.


5. dilettante - May 10, 2014

Might there be a Tallaght factor in the transfers between Hayes and Boylan?


6. Paddy Healy - May 10, 2014

Regional and local factors are a very strong influence on transfers in all 3 constituencies. Look at the transfers within the main parties in Mid-Lands North West and think regional location!!
The Late Conor Cruise O’Brien once commented on the “insanity” of a small number of voters who transferred on 2 nd preference between Paddy(Heavy Gang) Cooney (FG) and IRA hunger striker Martin Hurson. Conor couldn’t understand the mindset of a person who prioritised saving Martin Hurson but whose next concern was to retain the local minister rather than the FG candidate from the other end of the constituency. Conor suffered from the same ailment as some left-wing groups. They don’t live in Ireland they are merely resident here!!
I’m off now to persuade people from far flung villages of South Tipp to vote for WUA candidates from Clonmel and Cahir rather than for their more local FF,FG and Labour candidates!!!


Jolly Red Giant - May 10, 2014

Seamus Healy is a TD, hard-working and respected by many. Seamus Healy should combine with other left TDs to call for the maximum vote for left candidates in the Euros, by-election and locals (including South Tipp). From you comments you appear to suggest that it would be pointless – but you have no evidence for that. The one thing that could be said is that such a proposal would not do any harm and could well do a lot of good for the left. Do you or the WUAG feel that it would be beneficial for the left in general for Paul Murphy or Brid Smith to be elected in the Euros and Ruth to win the by-election and as many AAA, PBPA, WUAG, UL, indo lefts to be elected in the locals? if so then you, Seamus and the WUAG should act accordingly. If you feel that it would not be beneficial for the left for left candidates to win the MEP, by-election and as many seats as possible in the locals then you should be honest enough to say so rather than coming out with this hyperbole.


dilettante - May 10, 2014


In fairness to Paddy, I think he was replying to my post there…

But seeing as how you ask, the 2nd preferences indicate that the left vote in the Euros should be for Brid Smith. With the transfers from Paul Murphy she would be much more likely to get elected.
If Paul is ahead of Brid on first preferences then he is less likely to get the transfers needed to be around for the final count.
So maybe “Support Ruth Coppinger for Dublin West and Brid Smith for the EP (and transfer to other left and anti-austerity candidates)” ?


Jolly Red Giant - May 10, 2014

Actually if you look at the poll – and it is dodgy even on 1st prefs – Paul Murphy is much more transfer friendly than Brid Smith – outside of the transfers from the SP Smith is around 3% from the other candidates while Murphy is 8%-9%. So Brid Smith might jump if Paul Murphy went out but would then get stuck (12% is less than half what she would need) – whereas Paul Murphy would likely hang in much longer and pick up transfers.

But this is all conjecture as it is daft to read anything into 2nds on a poll.


hardcorefornerds - May 10, 2014

JRG is right – I just did a quick calculation and Murphy receives approx. 35 2nd preferences in the poll, as against 25 for Smith. And if you look at where they’re coming from – mostly Boylan, but also Costello, Fitzpatrick and Ryan – it supports the idea of Smith as the anti-establishment candidate, as she gets few or none from them; the exception being Childers. Not impugning Murphy’s own (doubtlessly impeccable) anti-establishment credentials, but more ‘soft left’ voters are perhaps more likely to give him a 2nd or later preference.


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