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Waiting in the long grass… January 30, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

How simple it must have seemed for Fine Gael only a few weeks back. They had largely been ahead of Fianna Fáil in polls from mid 2017 until April last year where that other party managed to level peg them or marginally come ahead of them. Then in October there was a solid run of polls which showed FG ahead and the last poll before the election pointed to them on the same level.

Fine Gael might have reasonably thought that they were doing well enough to be slightly ahead. But as has been seen, in the first few polls of the election Fianna Fáil has jumped ahead. I’ve long argued that Varadkar was unwise not to go to the country fairly shortly after he was elected leader of Fine Gael, I’ll bet he thinks that too.

But one has to wonder, accepting the fact that FF is not very popular, it appears to be more popular than this last government. Was that baked in from the off?


1. Tomboktu - January 30, 2020

I have been wondering about something similar since the election* was called: What lies behind the abrupt change at the start of the campaign?

– Was it that the polls were wrong?
– Was it that we lied to the pollsters?
– Was it that we didn’t really think about our voting intentions until it mattered when the election* was called?

*My spelling predictor insists I meant ‘ejection’ here.

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6to5against - January 30, 2020

I think it must no. 3.

It really was a dramatic shift in polling almost the moment the election was called. And I find it hard to put it down to anything that happened over those few days. A lot of commentary referenced the RIC commemoration, but I don’t believe that had a big impact. I heard very little comment on it from anybody.

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2. irishelectionliterature - January 30, 2020

The campaign and the run up to it has been a series of gaffes by FG and of course “events”. The RIC commemoration, Catherine Noone, Leo not looking a natural on the campaign trail, the savage murder of of teenager Keane Mulready-Woods, the poor homeless man on the canal………
FF have been fairly gaffe free…. until Billy Kellehers stupid tweet last night.

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3. Joe - January 30, 2020

“Was it that we didn’t really think about our voting intentions until it mattered when the election* was called?”

I think that’s always the case. Polls during the course of a government are one thing; polls once an election has been called are another. And the actual results on the day are another thing again.

Despite all the polls and predictions, people are strange. We could be in for big shocks on election day – right now, looking into my heart, I predict the Irish people will elect more FFers than predicted on the day and that FG will have an absolute mare, losing ministers and that kind of thing.

Also, all iel’s points are true. It’s been a disaster for FG from the RIC fiasco on. Talk about a run of bad luck, but then most of it was self-inflicted. Catherine Noone put the tin hat on it – I’d say her FG colleagues must be hopping mad with her.

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WorldbyStorm - January 30, 2020

I’ve much the same feeling as you re outcome and yet it’s so chaotic and unpredictable – perhaps time for another wisdom of this crowd post!


6to5against - January 30, 2020

haver you ever collated ‘wisdom of the crowd’ poll with actual results. It would be interesting to see if this crowd actually has any wisdom!

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Joe - January 30, 2020

🙂 🙂 🙂

Read the strapline 6to5. The best we can hope for is to occasionally make a relevant point or two.

Another approach which I found works is to make a range of various and varied predictions and prognostications. A good chance that one of them will be close enough to the actual result for one to pass oneself off as a knowledgeable sage.

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WorldbyStorm - January 30, 2020

🙂 Actually I did on the UK election. Most people were very cautious, overwhelmingly (not sure if all) thought the Tories would get back but with a majority of perhaps 20. I thought that was reasonable.

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Tomboktu - January 31, 2020

Another approach which I found works is to make a range of various and varied predictions and prognostications

You’d be one of those economists who correctly predicted 17 of the last 7 recessions.

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4. CL - January 30, 2020

“If the parties that make up the progressive bloc were campaigning in even a loose alliance, the debate would be turning to the prospect of a Left-led government. There is a clear commonality in their manifestos: a substantial construction programme for public housing; health sector reform (termed ‘Slaintecare’) that would slowly remove private health care from the public facilities; stronger labour rights; variations of a sizeable Green New Deal; and a more egalitarian programme of tax reform and social protection supports…..
what is clear is that support for the conservative parties is continuing its historical decline as a sizeable and growing number of people seek out alternatives…..
We could be on the verge of a major structural re-alignment in Irish politics. This election is likely to see the progressive vote increase, led by Sinn Féin and the Greens…..
More and more people are rejecting the conservative consensus and opting for progressive alternatives. The challenge for those parties is to read the trends, listen to people and act accordingly. If not in this election, certainly by the next they could be able to present an alternative: Ireland’s first Left-led government, breaking a mould that was formed nearly one hundred years ago.”-Michael Taft.

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5. Joe - January 30, 2020

Just had a conversation with my mole deep in the heart of the FG national organisation. He put his best foot forward – things might be turning… the reduction in the homeless figures; the renewed focus on Brexit. He said that FF looked doomed in the 2007 GE campaign but turned it around in the last week of the campaign. And FG will be aiming to do the same.
It is as WBS says so chaotic and unpredictable.

The wife always has good advice in these situations – half-time in a match and what might happen; Euro qualifying group permutations -(‘Are we out now?’ ‘No, we can still qualify, if we beat Mesopotamia away by more than two goals and the Hapsburg Empire lose to Ruritania, we could be in a play-off, obviously contingent on how things go in the other two groups’. ‘Ah ffs, would you not just switch it off and stop looking and wondering and switch back on when it’s all done and dusted.’)

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6. NFB - January 30, 2020

Fine Gael presumably hoping that Brexit culmination tomorrow will focus minds on that issue over the last few days, and that Sinn Fein will sap more voters from Fianna Fail than them.


7. CL - January 30, 2020

” different faces of the same establishment….co-dependent in maintaining the status quo….
“Who would have thought that after almost a decade of feminist-led grassroots activism, that caused huge social change, that the people to benefit would be the party with the female leader and the really strong ground game,” Irish journalist Una Mullally….
female voters are part of the Sinn Féin surge, particularly young and working-class voters. As the party’s first female leader, McDonald is regarded as having modernised a “lads club”….
Bertie Ahern, the former Fianna Fáil prime minister, remarked in a public speech in 2007 that he didn’t understand why people “cribbing and moaning” about the economy didn’t just “commit suicide”. A 2012 study found that the male suicide rate was 57 per cent higher (476) than its pre-recession level….
historian Mary McAuliffe… believes Fine Gael demonstrated a disconnection from the public when it recently announced a centenary commemoration for the Royal Irish Constabulary…
McAuliffe says the election carries echoes of the 1918 Irish contest when Sinn Féin won a landslide victory in what was essentially a democratic vote for independence from Britain….
McAulliffe views Sinn Féin as a “modern European centre-left party” and says a coalition of the left, which could encompass parties such as Solidarity-People Before Profit (which is calling for a 32-county socialist republic), the Social Democrats, Labour and the Greens, could usher in “a real politics of change.”….
the majority of voters want a change in government. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s combined failures are seen as having left the country in the depths of a housing crisis, with a health system in collapse, deepening inequality and a “crucifying” cost of living. Both parties have presided over the sale of public land and assets to developers and vulture funds.”

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8. Fergal - January 30, 2020

Election campaign entering the final week, more or less. Leaving the housing crisis, health scandals etc, to one side…if you can…don’t FF and FG look jaded, out of touch and insincere?
We’ve had a two-party state but really a one-party one…capitalism…
FF taking lumps out of FG doesn’t stack up…they’ve just spent four years supporting them in the Dàil.
FG criticising FF simply isn’t credible…they’ve been n power for 9 years now…
It’s all to play for…

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