55 seats plus? November 2, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
The Phoenix has a piece listing how FF is ‘poised for fifty plus seats’ at the next election. And the argument is that FF may cut and run sooner than the supposed 18 months M. Martin is meant to be waiting for. Apparently the conventional wisdom is that Martin wants FF to be up around 30% before collapsing the government in order to guarantee 60 seats and ‘dominate’ a coalition government. The Phoenix suggests that FF is well placed to gain, as it stands, on current polling figures a good twelve seats or more which would comfortably put it over the 50 mark and therefore any further improvement in its poll rating will see it gain many more.
And yet, if one looks at Adrian Kavanagh’s projections they offer a rather more mixed view. Keep in mind FF has 44 seats on 24.3% of the vote. Kavanagh points to them getting between 48 and 52 seats on current polling (with FF on 26/27% and the weekend poll sees them just about 53). Not stellar. And while it is true that FF should do better I’m of the opinion that the job for them becomes increasingly more difficult each 5% or so that they try to claw back. Getting to 30%, not impossible. They did it in three polls in July. And the seat numbers? Very high fifties.
But what has been striking is that that high has been followed by further lows. I’m not saying 30% is the upper limit. But breaching beyond that is proving difficult. There are other factors – FF now has its finger prints over the Budget – albeit its message has been equivocal in respect of that. It faces a much more dynamic electoral battleground. Bertie Ahern won 77 seats and 41.6% of the vote in 2007. Is that likely to be repeated after everything? For a tranche of FF voters has detached and still show no sign of wanting to return. And SF is now much bigger and has an incumbency factor in constituencies. As do other forces which while they are smaller still prevent or block FF seats from returning in the numbers necessary.
Though what exactly is necessary? Forming a government next time out shouldn’t present FF with a huge problem even with 55 plus seats. Labour, possibly SF, certainly Independents and perhaps the SDs, might make up numbers in various combinations. The point is it can be done. But getting there for FF, and getting beyond that to a more comfortable place where it is less dependent upon the vagaries of those combinations. That may prove a greater challenge.