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Did FF have a sense that the SF surge was coming? February 11, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I was throwing this idea around today with a comrade – did FF through polling have a sniff at the idea of an SF surge? Certainly Martin’s approach was ever increasingly more belligerent and focused very firmly on SF.

On the other hand interesting to hear that FF and FG were both, at least publicly, very very open to the idea of SF participation in the leaders debates. Perhaps that was intended as a trap, and perhaps it seemed to be one that worked, at least in the short term. But as we know… afterwards when it came to voting…


1. irishelectionliterature - February 11, 2020

They didn’t see it at all. They assumed that SF support was being over stated in the polls. It was one thing a SF surge happening in Dublin but they certainly didn’t anticipate it happening to the extent it did outside of Dublin. Thats the advantage SF have over Labour. There are parts of the country that Labour could never win seats, not the case with SF.
They also didn’t anticipate the disruptive nature of the SF surge on traditional transfer patterns.
BTW FF still don’t get it. The idea that they let SF form a Left Government and then FF will bring it down in a few months and ride to electoral success is ludicrous. They really are in a no win position now.
Coalition with SF and they will lose votes, oppose SF and we have a fresh election they will get squeezed even further as FG become the anti SF party , SF become change and FF stay representing the past.

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Dermot M O Connor - February 11, 2020

The joy of watching the supply-con stitchup explode in the faces of FF and FG is indescribable. They clearly thought it was their way back to the sunny uplands of permanent duopoly!

Also, what would the chances be of a FF split if they join with SF? Some TDs are talking very tough about never doing it – is that just hot air that will evaporate when a junior ministry is dangled, or could they shed some seats? Because of course, that would lose them their #1 party status in a weekend.


2. Conor Forde (@ConorEForde) - February 11, 2020

Nope, not a clue. I talked to a number of FF councilors after the first spike in the polls. They were almost laughing at the idea and that the distribution of support wasn’t even across the country. It’s funny, they had the same reaction about the Greens just before the locals. I’m starting to wonder just how plugged in they are with the wider political landscape of the country. There’s some bubble living going on by the looks of it.

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irishelectionliterature - February 11, 2020

I had predicted FF getting 43 seats and was ridiculed. On Saturday night a few FFers were on to me saying that whilst most of FF were in shock at the result, they saw my prediction and figured there was something up. By that I’d be chatting and interacting with people of all political hues rather than in an FF or FG bubble.


3. Dermot M O Connor - February 11, 2020

Hysterical that if someone had told MM before the exit poll came out that he was going to be the leader of the largest party, he’d have danced a jig! Be careful what you wish for…
Immensely satisfying that FF are under 40 (I thought before the election that this would be psychologically devastating for them, and it clearly is).

Also slipping under the radar – based on the headlines I’m reading anyway – is that this was FG’s worst FPV% performance, worse than 2002 where they won 22.5% under Baldybus. And in 2002 they were still second largest party, rather than third.
And worse yet, they now have the SDs and Greens as rivals for middle class / liberal vote. TEN% between them. SDs only ran ~20 candidates IIRC, but would expect more next time.

Take a look at the election map.


and filter by first preferences for SDs and particularly Greens. Many seats in play for greens now, and not just in Dublin – given the state they were in in 2016 I’d never have believed a 6/12 seat result for them then.
How bad things get for FG will depend on whether the SDs and Greens end up in gov. or not. If SDs and Greens stay in opposition and grow, FG are in a real bind.

Hopefully AK will blog again, I’d like to read an expert analysis, as he seems pretty level.


Liberius - February 11, 2020

is that this was FG’s worst FPV% performance, worse than 2002 where they won 22.5% under Baldybus.

FG’s worst FPV (both percentage and total votes) was in 1948 when they got 19.8% and 262,393 but increased their seat total to 31 from 30 in 1944 which is their lowest seat total though not lowest percentage of seats which was 2002. 1944 = 21.74% (30/138); 2002 = 18.76% (31/166).


Dermot M O Connor - February 11, 2020

Thanks! I guessed that there was a lower% in the depths!


Lamentreat - February 12, 2020

Forgive the ignorant questions (long time gone from Irish politics) but why do the Social Democrats exist? Who do they represent? Where do they come from? What do they offer that Labour didn’t? Of all the new shoots in Irish politics they are the one I can’t get my head round.


Dermot M O Connor - February 12, 2020

Founded by two ex-Labour pols, so Labour without some of the baggage or the damaged brand. Roisin Shortall quit as Labour’s junior health minster in the FG/Lab coalition when the awful FG Health min James O Reilly was wielding the knife. She and Catherine Murphy founded it (CM was also in the Worker’s Party before Labour). The third co-founder Stephen Donnelly was actually center right, and quit post 2016 because he wanted to go in with FG (that would have finished them!). He joined FF, so SDs were well rid of him.

I’d put them in the same slice as Labour, maybe with less old-boy baggage (no Howlin or Alan Kelly to fart in the elevator). Would expect them to go down the same disappointing road as Labour when their time comes, would be nice to be proved wrong though.

They’re a massive block in the attempted recovery of Labour, and now, of FG. OK, very small FPV%, but if they have enough time in the new Dail, with speaking time, RTE media appearances, state funding, etc., they could be a nuisance for the other center/right parties in getting seats. VERY impressive for them to get a seat in Wicklow (my home county). Highly competitive place that, and it’s where Donnelly got re-elected also for FF, the bastard. They’ve also got a few seats where they made a dent but didn’t get elected, targets for next GE, whenever that is. 50/50 that’ll be later this year the way things are shaping. Had the two co-founders been returned this election, it would have been hard to take them seriously as a party, so 2020 really makes them.

SDs did one thing really right from the start: absolutely cracking name. No fucking around with Renuas or Aontus or the like.

Oh, my dad (whose memory won’t allow him to follow politics now, which is sad, as he’d have loved this) was a lifelong Labour voter. After the Gilmore fiasco, he bailed on them. When a party loses a core voter like him they’re toast. He’d have definitely gone SF this time if he could have made it to the booth. So SDs would probably pick up quite a few votes or prefs from former Lab voters like him.

Some of the lads on here can probably give you a more hands-on account, but that’s as much as I can type!


Lamentreat - February 12, 2020

Thanks so much for that Dermot, it’s really helpful. And very quick!


GearóidGaillimh - February 12, 2020

In Galway they’ve attracted much of the support that previously went to Labour, though that vote has gone all over the place and Catherine Connolly is the main beneficiary obviously. They’ve attracted a lot of younger people who cut their teeth in the marriage equality referendum, the kind of soft left people who a few years before would have gravitated to Labour Youth.


4. GearóidGaillimh - February 12, 2020

Anecdotally I would encounter people who are hardcore FF voters and will never go anywhere else – mainly cousins or friends of my father and uncle who would be +65, the source of much FF/FG support according to the exit poll. All of them were damning of Martin and the confidence and supply deal. If people like that are unenthusiastic is it any wonder the public more generally was unmoved by FF.


oliverbohs - February 12, 2020

FF could really do with a new leader. Timidity cd cost them further. The novelty of a new face at the heim. Though I agree there’s slim pickings to choose from. Same to a degree with FG though Varadkar still a young man.
Fear now is events. Shit happens. A Europe wide or global downturn cd have future electorates going back to what they’re sure of. But I suppose you cd say that at ant point in time


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