Irish Election Literature

… what you maybe meant to keep…

The Polls…Labour, The Left and The Greens December 21, 2010

Yet another Red C poll for the Sunday Business Post
Fianna Fail 17 (NC)
Fine Gael 34 (+1)
Labour 23 (-4)
Greens 2 (-1)
Sinn Fein 14 (+3)
Others 10 (+2)

Adrian Kavanaghs magic Spreadsheet on Politicalreform.ie calculates
Fianna Fail 27, Fine Gael 66, Labour 46, Green Party 0, Sinn Fein 15, Independents 12 (including 5 United Left Alliance seats)
Whilst Dotskis magic Spreadsheet on Irish Polling Report calculates
Fianna Fail 23, Fine Gael 64, Labour 44, Green Party 0, Sinn Fein 21, Others 14

I may be wrong but I suspect we may have seen the last Red C poll of the year…..
So looking at the poll in the context of the years polls…

Labour Party.
In the 31st January Red C Poll they were 17% they are now at 23%.
As the election draws closer Labour are dropping from their high polling figures. That said were they to be reproduced in an Election, their current polling figures would be a record performance for the party.
In the polls Labour hit the heights during the Summer in June and then in October when they hit 27% in the Red C Polls. In September they hit 33% in an Irish Times MRBI Poll. During this time they were on the attack, the ‘Gilmore For Taoiseach’ signs looked to be real rather than folly. At the same juncture Fine Gael were infighting and all the attention on Fine Gael was on Enda Kennys leadership.
Back then Labour were the only party in the Dail doing a decent job of criticising the Government, Gilmore and Joan Burton were saying what most of us felt. Labour were angry and the electorate was angry too. Fianna Fail was still in denial about their role in the mess, an interview didn’t pass only a Minister or backbencher would utter the words ‘Lehmans Brothers’ ,’international factors’ and the standard ‘we are where we are’
What was clear also was that Labours support wasn’t solid…. and sure how could it have been considering some polls had them tripling their 2007 vote.
I wonder though did a false confidence set in?
I was out doing a bit of Christmas shopping at the weekend and what was looking up at me only a book Eamon Gilmore -‘Leading Lights: People who’ve inspired me’. Was he trying to do a “Dreams from My Father” ?

The performance of Frank McBrearty in the Donegal South West By-Election was, despite it being far from a Labour heartland, a disappointment. Labour (and Fine Gael) must be asking, why they didn’t take the court case that forced the by-election. Once the decision to hold the by-election came Pearse Doherty had a headstart. I suspect that the result here took some wind out of Labours sails. It also brought home that without a decent organisation on the ground , especially in larger rural constituencies, its going to be hard to translate poll figures to real votes.

Looking at the latest poll and there is an element of wondering what have Labour to do to stay at their current level of support never mind gaining further support. They have fallen behind Fine Gael in Dublin which must be a worry for them.
The IMF coming in has had an impact on the Labour vote. Their (and the next governments) hands are now tied to the IMF and the four year plan no matter what they say.
Gilmore will have to negotiate with Fine Gael or whoever before they even get to renegotiate with the IMF/EU. That’s assuming that that’s a possibility.
So whilst they do anger and outrage well, the reality is that the will be pursuing similar budgetary policies to the current Government should they be in the next government.
Only a fool doesn’t know at this stage that Fianna Fail policies and incompetence were a major factor in leading us to where we are today. Labour and Gilmore have been doing the politics of blame well.
Labour do seem to be getting squeezed between the “Labour won’t tackle the Unions” vote and the voters who want a complete change from the current budgetary framework. The recent Irish Times ipsos/ MRBI poll on the IMF showed a deep divide on the publics views of the IMF coming in. By accepting the framework of cuts and the 3% budget deficit target Labour are less appealing to those anti IMF voters than Sinn Fein or The Left.
Labour are already refusing to go into government with Sinn Fein (Roisin Shorthall on the Week in Politics) which means they will be going into government with Fine Gael (unless the unthinkable FF/FG coalition happens)
I’m not being anti Labour here but at this stage what real difference would or could Labour in a Fine Gael Led Coalition government make policy wise?
When asking the question I’m also assuming that the state of the banks, NAMA and State Finances are worse than we are led to believe by the current Government.

Which leads on to a strange thought about the dynamic of the next Dail …. Would Labour not be Better as the chief opposition party rather than have Sinn Fein (Gerry Adams and all) and the Left with a rump of Fianna Failers sniping at them. Yes we know its a Fianna Fail caused crisis but that wont matter too much to voters in 3 or 4 years time. They will be creating an opportunity for each element of the opposition to grow.
On Balance they are probably better off going into government … but its going to be a very strange Dail.

Independents/Others
In the 31st January Red C Poll they were 9%, they are now at 10%
This has fluctuated a small bit since the start of the year and as ever its hard to gague from the polls exactly where the Left are. Its safe to assume though that a good deal of this vote will go to The Left. In 2007 6% went to Others/Independents of which roughly half went to PBP, Socialist Party, ISN, WP,WUAG and Left Independent candidates.
I’d reckon we are looking at at least 5% and possibly anything between 8 and 15 Left seats.

Green Party
The Greens were at 5% last January, their isolationist policy of looking after their departments and leaving everything else to Fianna Fail was working. As the year progressed their fall in popularity came as they had to defend the actions of an incredibly unpopular government. They are now at 2%, less than half their January poll figure and as I’ve written before the Local Elections showed their transfer toxicity. Its transfers that got 3 of their 6 TDs elected in 2007 as Ciaran Cuffe, Paul Gogarty and Mary White were all outside seat positions on the first count. Those 3 must be gone and surely Gormley too. Eamon Ryan and Trevor Sargent are seen as their only chances. I cant see Ryan getting in and If any of them scrape home it will be Sargent.

Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Independents and Sinn Fein to come…..

 

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