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SP/AAA and PBPA/SWP results — an alternative reading June 3, 2014

Posted by Tomboktu in AAA, PBPA, Socialist Party.

In the local election, both the Anti Austerity Alliance and the People Before Profit Alliance won 14 seats. Those figures have been hailed by both groupings as successes, and they certainly are when compared with the number of seats they had before the council elections. Adrian Kavanagh, of NUI Maynooth, has described their results as especially good.

I wondered to what extent the two outcomes are due to the two parties/alliances distinguishing themselves and to what extent are they due to getting their “share” of the votes for “none of the above” (that is, none the mainstream parties). Put another way, the question is: if the AAA and PBPA candidates had simply run as independents, would have have fared better or worse on average than they did as AAA or PBPA candidates?

The answer is: they did a small bit above average. It would seem that the rising tide of “others” that the opinion pollers lump the AAA and PBPA into may simply have lifted the AAA and PBPA to their 14 seats each. Sums are below the “fold”.


A total of 17 “entities” contested the council elections — counting all actual independents as an entity for the calculations. Four of these are the big parties of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and Labour. In addition to the AAA and PBPA, the others are: CPI, DDI, Eirigí, Fis Nua, GP, LRP (in Letterkenny — one candidate), SKIA (in South Kerry — one candidate), UL, WP, and WUA

I excluded the four big parties (and in a second run, I also excluded the Green Party, but it did not change the findings significantly).

Outside those four parties, 766 candidates ran, and 237 were elected. Here are the success rates

  • All of those outside the “big four”: 31%.
  • The actual independents (that is, not counting CPI, DDI, UL, etc.): 33%
  • AAA: 36%
  • PBPA: 33%

Taking the Green Party out of the calculation, so that the “big four” becomes “Big four and GP” leaves the election rate for for all others unchanged.

In contrast, Sinn Féin were streets ahead of the four parties that have been in government (south of the border), getting 81% of the their candidates  onto councils. Labour lagged behind the PBPA and AAA, getting 27% of their candidates elected.

But for the moment, the AAA and PBPA are not distinguishing themselves in success rates from the “others”.



1. hardcorefornerds - June 3, 2014

These maps of vote share by constituency for the different groupings may be useful too: http://irishpoliticalmaps.blogspot.ie/2014/05/irish-local-elections-2014.html Fairly clear geographic separation between PBP and AAA

What was the success rate for the other main parties? It seems curious that it is essentially the same for PBP/AAA as for independents, given the latter definitionally lack structure or planning as a group; I would assume, though, that a relatively low rate goes with establishing and expanding a voter base, something which SF has already moved past, at least the initial stages.


hardcorefornerds - June 3, 2014

I did notice however, that the ratio of Independents to ‘Others’ (the small parties) was about the the same for vote share and seats, at 5-6:1, which surprised me but matches with what you say here. I would have expected proportionally more of the independent vote to have been ‘wasted’; as it stands, the congruence is still perhaps just coincidence though.


2. Mick Hall - June 3, 2014

What struck me most when reading this was Sinn Féin is now amongst “the four big Parties.” Say what you like about the shinners leadership, and some on the left say a great deal, there is little doubt their overall election strategy is holding up.They have increased their core working class support base and are gradually moving beyond it.

On the mainly Trotskyist groups, surely they need to unify, if only out of self interest, for when campaigns like PBP etc gain electoral support as they have in the past, that support can wither away quickly, often unfairly, when a unified national party fails to emerge.

Or perhaps this is a whole new ball game, interesting times


3. Jolly Red Giant - June 3, 2014

1. It was noticable – indeed often commented on by political activists left and right – that the scale of the transfers between AAA candidate was huge. In several cases there was a transfer on FPVs of more than 75%. The general conclusion drawn was that people who voted for the AAA did so for political reasons. Most of the AAA candidates were relatively unknown and the transfer pattern indicates that people consciously voted for the AAA and transferred between candidates.
2. It was also noticable that the AAA were receiving a massive amount of no.2s from SF. In Limerick North the AAA received 313 from 1021 SF surplus votes (31% and among the other candidates was former IRSP and 25 year term councillor John Gilligan who got 205 votes). In Limerick East it was 45%. In Cork North Central it was 41%. In Tallaght South it was 41% (PBPA received 21%) and 40% (PBPA received 22%). Castleknock 43% (PBPA got 12%). The transfers were lower in the opposite direction (this is from looking at the AAA ballots as I don’t think there were any counts where it could be checked – from what I could see it was in the 20%-25% range – there were some papers where it went 1. AAA 2. SF and 3. AAA because of the order of the candidates on the ballot paper).
3. It is utterly pointless for any ‘unity’ between Trotskyist groups to occur outside of agreement on priciples of how to operate a unified group and when you are talking about the SWP it is pretty much impossible to get agreement on anything (or more correctly an agreement that they won’t break). The AAA (and the Socialist Party) are willing to work with anyone else on the left – the SWP appears to have adopted the attitude that the rest of the socialist left should be stomped on in the interests of the PBPA.


4. Tomboktu - June 3, 2014

What was the success rate for the other main parties?

SF: 81%
FF: 65%
FG: 50%
AAA: 36%
Ind: 33%
PBPA: 33%
GP: 26%

The remaining entities had fewer than 20 candidates each:

UL: 33%
WUA: 33%
UL: 20%
WP: 11%
SKIA: 100%
CPI, DDI, FN, LRP: 0% each


WorldbyStorm - June 3, 2014

Very interesting analysis Tomboktu.


5. Jim Monaghan - June 4, 2014

Nice to see 24 elected. But it is over egged. Far too over egged.


Jolly Red Giant - June 4, 2014

Between the AAA, PBPA, other left groups and left independents there were about 40 councillors elected. This is the largest number of left councillors elected in the country since 1920 (during the height of the revolution in Ireland and a period of widespread strike action and workplace occupations). The next closest was 24 by the WP in 1985.

The election of 40 left councillors is an important development and will assist in the development of anti-austerity campaigns.


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