Some thoughts on that ST/B&A Poll and the end of this government January 24, 2017Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
FF 29% (+1)FG 23% (-3)SF 17% (-2)NON-ALIGNED IND 15% (+6)AAA-PBP 5% (+1)LP 5% (NC)GP 3% (NC)INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE 3% (-2)SD 1% (NC)
I’m finding the current run of polls less and less interesting. In part because so much is so static. In part because there is still no appetite to fold the government by FF, and considerable enthusiasm to keep it going by those in it. The movement on the left of the spectrum is fairly low key – I can’t imagine anyone in any of the formations listed being overjoyed by this or upset by it either, bar the SDs who may be in some significant difficulty (if this is replicated in other polls).
Even the level of support other Independents get is not absolutely unprecedented, though it is a high point in the life of this Dáil – last September they were polling 12 per cent. Later they dipped down to 10 per cent and the later again, last June hit a low point of 8. But their comfort zone is clearly 10 per cent plus. SF’s position is steady as it goes. 17% is more or less typical of their rating. Perhaps most interesting and this is evident on page 12 of the PDF linked to above is the slow upward climb of FF.
At this stage I think it fair to say that that does represent a real phenomenon. And they’ve managed this trick by prising support away from FG and more marginally from SF and the LP. A not very social democrat FF is clearly having an impact. That said while FG has been behind FF since last June their support has been variable enough to see them close to level pegging. Being about two to five per cent lower than their rival.
But FF is in a quandary. Its support, at least in this run of polls (those from the IT and SBP offer different views) sees it ahead but not quite sufficiently so over a period of time to guarantee it will remain ahead at an election or that the gains will be sufficient to deliver it more than the same situation as FG – a very minority government governing only in the gift of its largest rival. It would be a huge gamble to walk away from the agreement with FG. And I can’t see that happening, even if the polls break massively for FF.
So, what then is likely to occur? I’d think it highly probable that if FF does break it will be on an issue where there are no FF fingerprints whatsoever, most especially if it is something that appears to have both internal and external (but not FF) aspects to it. I mean by internal, something that is clearly linked into the government and its Ministers, particularly a decision taken by them in the last year or perhaps in the last government. There’s more than enough political rakes in the long grass just waiting to be stepped on to provide precisely that sort of an excuse for FF.
But they have to be extremely careful. They cannot be seen to trigger or wave the demise of the government along. They can respond but they cannot initiate. I’m minded of the manner in which SF finally broke with the DUP in the Executive over the RHI debacle. This was something SF had no hand or part in, there was no hint of a broader issue of governance and very clearly none of ‘constitutional’ issues (though later there was some retrofitting by SF to point up broader failings of the Executive in relation to parity of esteem, a necessary and sensible point to make in underscoring how trust had broken down completely.
That’s a fine balance for FF, and let’s keep in mind FF isn’t in the best shape ever as it stands.
By the by, an interesting exercise to try to bundle up the broad (generously broad) left vote from the figures above.