Irish Election Literature

… what you maybe meant to keep…

Analysis of the Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll December 16th and more … December 16, 2010

Off we go again with another poll , this time today’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll
The headline figures are
Fianna Fail 17% (-7)
Fine Gael 30% (+6)
Labour 25% (-8)
Sinn Fein 15% (+7)
Green Party 2% (n/c)
Others 11% (+2)

Dotksis Irish Polling report translates that as
Fianna Fail 25
Fine Gael 58
Labour 48
Sinn Fein 23
Green Party 0
Others 12

Whilst Adrian Kavanagh on translates it as
Fianna Fail 26
Fine Gael 58
Labour 46
Sinn Fein 18
Green Party 0
Others 18 (including 6 United Left Alliance/4 other Left wing candidates)
These I assume to be Mick Barry, Maureen O’Sullivan, Clare Daly, Finian McGrath, Joan Collins, Joe Higgins, Richard Boyd-Barrett,Catherine Connolly ,Catherine Murphy and Seamus Healy.

The last Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll was in September so this poll has confirmed what we’ve seen in recent Red C polls with Fianna Fails decline, Fine Gael being the largest party, Labour slipping slightly and of course Sinn Feins dramatic rise.
So Does this poll really tell us anything new compared to those recent Red C ones?
It does on a number of counts, it confirms that Sinn Feins surge wasn’t just due to the publicity gained by the announcement of Gerry Adams Louth candidacy and Pearse Dohertys by-Election victory. Although Dohertys performance since he entered the Dail has surely benefitted the party. To see Sinn Fein being projected to win 23 seats is something we haven’t seen before, even in the heydays of the Peace Process.

Another thing is the projected seat number for Fianna Fail. The 13% in the Sun Red C poll had Kavanagh projecting FF on 12 seats and Dotski Projecting 14.
So that 4% rise to 17% gives 14 or 11 extra seats to FF depending on which projection you are using. It gives an indication of how precarious an electoral situation Fianna Fail are in.
It show how significant a 4% rise (although different polling companies, methods etc) could be for the long term survival of Fianna Fail.

The Rise in the ‘Others’ vote looks encouraging for the Left .Given the state of the country and the budget cuts yet to be felt then surely these figures should rise.

Possibly the biggest part of the poll was the number of undecided voters which stood at 25%. This was an increase of 7% since the last Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.
Another interesting thing to come from the poll was

The poll shows 64 per cent of people have made up their minds how they will vote while 34 per cent may change their minds.

Among decided voters, the figures for party support were: Fine Gael, 32 per cent; Labour, 21 per cent; Fianna Fáil, 19 per cent; Sinn Féin, 17 per cent; Greens, 1 per cent; and Independents/Others, 10 per cent.

This stat indicates that Labour has the highest percentage of voters who may change their minds.

Which leads on to Michael Marshs article in the Sunday Business Post of December the 5th which focused on the November Red C Poll and a fascinating new dimension to the polling questions.
Marsh wrote that

Questions in surveys about party preference typically focus on the outcome of the choice voters make – did you, or will you, vote for party A, B or C? – and ignore the other options that voters may consider, ie how likely is it that you would vote for A, B and C?

Typically, respondents are asked who they would vote for if an election were held tomorrow, or who they voted for in the last election. What surveys do not ask is whether the party indicated is the respondent’s clear-cut choice, or whether the voter is genuinely trying to decide between a number of parties. Yet this unasked question is important.

He went on

The questions used here ask respondents to indicate how likely it is – on a scale of 1 to 10 – that a given party would ever get their vote. Choosing 1 means that a respondent would never vote for that party and 10 means that the respondent would certainly vote for that party.

The Red C poll carried out two weeks ago put these questions to 500 voters, and the results give us a deeper insight into the state of the electorate.

From these results we get a Fianna Fail core vote of 8% (down from 21% in 2007), Fine Gael core vote of 10% , Labour 12% and in total 39% of voters were decided and not open to persuasion.

We also learn that

The size of the electorate beyond the reach of Fianna Fáil at present – those who give the party the lowest possible rating, indicating they would never (again) support the party – is a whopping 48 per cent, up from just 18 per cent in 2007. In these terms, it is now almost as unpopular as Sinn Féin (50 per cent), with significant consequences for its ability to collect transfers. This suggests that the drop in the first preference vote indicated by all polls will be carried through to second, third and fourth preferences.

We also get an indication of parties voters were considering and thus the potential battle grounds between parties for votes.

There is a lot of overlap between support for Fine Gael and support for Labour. In all, 44 per cent of these Fine Gael supporters also favour Labour, as 38 per cent of Labour supporters also favour Fine Gael.

Sinn Féin support is quite strong at 15 per cent, very close to Fianna Fáil’s level, but Sinn Féin shares 44 per cent of that support with Labour, and 33 per cent with independents.

There is a lot more in the article but it indicates that there are still a majority of voters who have yet to be fully decide what way they are going to vote and also what parties they are choosing between.

One final thought as suggested by a very very cynical friend of mine…..
Bit by bit the date of the next election appears to be slipping out….
The Greens said January, they then realised that more time was needed get some of their pet legislation through the Dail.
So it may be March. Barry Andrews comes out and says Fianna Fail have a few bits and pieces they want to get through too…
So we could be into an April Election or ….. even May……….

….by which time Brian Cowen would qualify for his Taoiseach’s Pension.


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