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That Irish Times poll this week… February 26, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Mentioned in comments, the fact of a new poll from The Irish Times and IPSOS MRBI. In some ways polls at the moment are hardly worth commenting on, given that they broadly seem to reinforce one another. This latest poll had the following findings, as noted by Liberius:

The state of the parties, when undecided voters and those unlikely to vote are excluded, is as follows: Fianna Fail 14 per cent (down three); Fine Gael 30 per cent (down five); Sinn Féin 28 per cent (down one); Green Party 6 per cent (up two); Labour 3 per cent (down one); Social Democrats 3 per cent (up one); Solidarity-People Before Profit 1 per cent (no change); Aontú 1 per cent (no change); Independents/others 13 per cent (up five).

So much of the movement is a percentage point or two and therefore unlikely to be of much use in telling us anything. The significant changes are FF down 3%, Fine Gael down 5% and, intriguingly, IND/Others up 5%. 

For Pat Leahy in the same paper the reason for movements is obvious:

Poll data doesn’t explain in itself why party supports changes, but the obvious explanation seems unavoidable: a chunk of the public, previously supportive, has lost confidence in the Government’s management of the pandemic, and deserted Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael politically. Covid appears to be driving the political currents in this poll, at least as far as the Government is concerned.

Leading the country out of the pandemic in the coming months might not guarantee and political resurgence for Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael; as Brexit shows, managing a national crisis successfully is no guarantee of a payoff at the ballot box. But failure to lead the country through it would almost certainly inflict substantial – and potentially fatal – political damage on the two old rivals-turned-allies.

Perhaps that is it. But no reflection on why Ind/Others are polling more strongly. What’s driving that?

Damian Loscher of MRBI suggests:

The Independents/Others grouping has bounced back, up eight points to 19 per cent, and a sure sign that voters are getting ready to take off the green jersey and replace it with their county colours. The rebound is most noticeable among 25- to 44-year-olds (up 14 points to 23 per cent) and outside Dublin (up six points to 20 per cent).

Does this suggest that those who remain with FF/FG are not fully committed to supporting those parties, or that there’s a layer that can be prised away. And what does it suggest as regards the situation for FF if it is unable to retain support while its leader is Taoiseach?

And more broadly?

With so much flux over the past 12 months, it is difficult to discern the differences between political waves that come and go and political tides that are likely to endure. That said, there are early signs of a Fine Gael (right) – Sinn Féin (left) axis emerging in Irish politics. This latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll shows two parties competing head to head, with one party appealing more to the middle classes (Fine Gael) and the other to working-class voters (Sinn Féin).

Right-to-left spectrum politics is the natural order of things for our nearest neighbours, east and west. Polarisation in politics is also an emerging phenomenon and one with which voters in Northern Ireland are very familiar. A drift in this direction for Irish politics may be inexorable.

Difficult to say. I’d love that to be the case, that we are seeing a clear demarcation between left and right, and telling that he doesn’t see FF as factoring in as a major player in that – but is it overly-cautious to wonder if the pandemic itself is driving some or much of this and perhaps matters will change once the pandemic is over. Not, that I expect either FG or SF to lose support or their primacy as the two largest parties, but more that movement around Ind/Others might indicate different, perhaps populist, dynamics in play.

Perhaps most notably Sinn Féin isn’t the recipient of votes spilling away from FF or FG, that being the Ind/Others. That said, as this wiki on polling since the 2020 General Election suggests, broadly speaking the new pattern of ROI politics abides a year after that election. And a question is raised by the current strength of Ind/Other. Were there an election, and the next one still appears to be years away, so this situation may well change between now and then, how would Ind/Others likely do on the current poll ratings?

Comments»

1. Mick 2 - February 26, 2021

“Leading the country out of the pandemic in the coming months might not guarantee and political resurgence for Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael; as Brexit shows, managing a national crisis successfully is no guarantee of a payoff at the ballot box.”

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Mick 2 - February 26, 2021

This is the same auld question-begging ‘politicians are punished for doing the right thing’ stuff you get all the time from The Lads of the Irish Times. Coveney has been capable in his brief and all but, particularly given pretty much unanimous EU backing, a FF minister would probably have managed just as well with Brexit, and my sense is that voters recognise this, no? I would’ve thought FG were not ‘rewarded’ at the ballot box because their policies have priced even the scions of the leafy ‘burbs out of a decent place to call home, because they want ordinary workers to work till 101 (because we are all living lovely long lives now, QED) and, more generally, because even their PR men would concede they came across to the electorate as uncaring (to put it charitably), arrogant and divorced from people’s lived experiences in the last GE campaign. Wasn’t there a poll that showed something like only 2% of the population ranked Brexit as the number one issue in the election?

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2. Mick 2 - February 26, 2021

“The Independents/Others grouping has bounced back, up eight points to 19 per cent, and a sure sign that voters are getting ready to take off the green jersey and replace it with their county colours.”

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3. Mick 2 - February 26, 2021

This is also characteristically shoddy analysis from him. FFG politicians are just as bad for the kind of cynical clientelist localism associated primarily with a particular breed of independent (which Leahy seems to misconstrue as being all there is to the nebulous ind/others 13%, which would encompass everything from the National Party to the Workers’ Party as well as all the pothole fixers).

In any case, as you say, the changes are relatively minor and the overall trends stable enough.

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4. Mick 2 - February 26, 2021

Sorry for posting like that. Your website is giving me grief again!

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WorldbyStorm - February 26, 2021

Sorry about that, WordPress can be very unforgiving but just to +1 re the Ind/Others and FG point you make. FFG and FG are exactly as you say and it is shoddy analysis on his part. On a tangent I think analysis at the iT is pretty rubbishy these days full stop. I’m often struck by how much better some pieces in the Examiner or even the Indo are – even accounting for their ideological tendencies.

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Mick 2 - February 26, 2021

It’s DESPERT. Clearly I am in an anti-IT rage today, but justifiably so, in my defence. I’ve switched to the Examiner for general Irish news because of what you say. I don’t even read much of their editorial / op ed stuff, but at least they don’t push it to the fore all clickbait-like the way the IT does.

I only ever read the Independent when it’s thrust into my lap when I’m getting my hair cut. 😀

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Klassenkampf Treehugger - February 27, 2021

I’ve stopped visiting the IT website at all. It’s pointless – the neolib Dublin elite talking to itself and paywalled up to the wazzoo.

I’m reduced to RTE and the Examiner. I must look at the Irish News more.

If there were a left-of-centre online news site that did real investigative journalism for the whole of the island of Ireland, I’d be prepared to pay for it.

Liked by 1 person

Colm B - February 27, 2021

I’m the same, the IT nowadays makes the Guardian look ultr-left. At least with the Guardian, you can ignore the centrist opinionising and read some good fact based articles on current news. The IT has strayed far to the right.

What do people think of The Journal.ie? I tend to go there or RTE for my basic Irish news. For analysis, it’s CLR or other left sites like Independent Left etc.

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Fergal - February 27, 2021

Echo chamber for sure but IT has become solidly right wing in the last decade or so…and the newer batch of commentators are piss poor … apart from Una Mulally
Telling that the the golf gate story was broken by Examiner journalist

Liked by 1 person

rockroots - February 27, 2021

I often visit The Journal, and I think there are some decent writers on there, but it seems designed for people with short attention spans (like me, perhaps). The point has been made (in the comments section) that its users read the headline and maybe the first paragraph before jumping to the comments section to be entertained/outraged, and I think there’s some truth in that. A forum for completely democratic public discussion of the news is great in theory, but frequently depressing in practice. Scan the comments on yesterday’s story about the phasing-out of Direct Provision for an example.

Liked by 1 person

sonofstan - February 28, 2021

‘What you can buy for €1.3m in Dublin and 3 random other places’

Also sick of Guardian opinion pieces of the form ‘This is a Terrible Thing. Here’s what Should be Done’ form.

Liked by 1 person

gypsybhoy69 - March 3, 2021

Ah Colin you should download the Dublin Live app. Here’s an example of a headline from today
“Ireland weather misery as week of hits warn Met Eireann with a a bit ‘regime change’.
Their headlines are nearly always sensational. Out of the same stable as Glasgow Live I believe.

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gypsybhoy69 - March 3, 2021

Ok I made the headline worse with a typo. It should read: “Ireland weather misery as week of hits warn Met Eireann with big ‘regime change’.”

Liked by 1 person

5. EWI - February 27, 2021

Speaking of the IT, a misleading McGreevy article has drawn a response from the Áras:

President’s speech on British colonialism

Sir, – The headline and article on the President’s second seminar in the Machnamh 100 series (“Irish people were ‘willing agents’ of British colonialism, says President”, News, February 26th) are misleading, damaging and incorrect.

Those who viewed the President’s address for Machnamh 100 or who read the text of his paper will have noted that the President referred to “some” among the native Irish who supported the British Empire, principally through economic necessity. […]

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/president-s-speech-on-british-colonialism-1.4496215

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WorldbyStorm - February 28, 2021

Hahahah. Serve the IT right.

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