New poll suggests old FFers are returning to actual Fianna Fail…

One of the worse refractions of political light, as it comes across the border from the south to the north, is the illusion that somehow the southern electorate share the same obsessions and political outlook as those of us in Northern Ireland.

For many northerners, southern politics did not really exist before the Sinn Fein expeditionary force began to should some fruit for it’s long and patient endeavour to seize power on both sides of the border.

Accordingly, we tend to view the politics of the Republic through the prism of how well or how badly Sinn Fein is doing at any one time: in the process, reducing the other major parties there to the status of bit part players.

So according to many northern originating accounts, Fianna Fail’s biggest threat was the (‘inevitable’) rise of Sinn Fein. That’s certainly the eventuality that Sinn Fein had planned for them in the wake of the 2009 local elections in the south, which first revealed FF’s weak underbelly out in the wider country.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.15.59But if you had talked to anyone in Fianna Fail at the time, Sinn Fein was a poor third or fourth on the list of battles to be won. Regaining the trust of their own voters, scalded by the violence of the downturn and suffering trust issues that were off the scale.

It was this group who absconded with the Independents. And this distrust ran so deep it was not simply Fianna Fail, but Dublin itself that was seen as the enemy. So far as party strategists were concerned, those who had gone to FG and or Sinn Fein could wait.

Today’s poll in the Irish Times seems to confirm – post the election – that the elevation of some of those independents to power, and a parallel move of Fianna Fail to the most potent position of any Opposition party in several generations has prompted a return of sentiment, if not yet votes.

What’s striking is that there is almost no other dynamic apparent in the poll. As I note in today’s SluggerReport, there is little or no significance in a change of +/- 2%.  It leaves FF a long way off the 40% + it would need to return to its previous dominance. But it’s an early indication Martin’s strategy is going down well with former voters.

But it’s an early unambiguous indication that Martin’s strategy is going down well with former voters. If this is a return to something like a preference for a centre ground position after Ireland’s long flirtation with political chaos, it may be instructive for others struggling around Europe.

Populism alone has limits.

 

, , , , ,

  • OneNI

    Despite a ‘bounce’ in the polls this really shows SF to be high and dry strategically. They had banked on being the main opposition party last time out.
    Now looks like a return to the old order.
    Next Govt likely to be FF. SF unlikely to chose ‘junior partner’ status (even if was offered) given what happens to junior partners.
    But FG likely to be main opposition.
    Nowhere for SF to go other than remain as bit players until they eventually go in as junior partners in 5/10 years?

  • kensei

    How many of these polls before FF collapse the government, do you think?

  • doopa

    ‘For many northerners, ‘ – I would suggest this isn’t really true. I think it would be much more accurate to say ‘For many people from Belfast ‘. Since for those unfortunate to live on the border towns of Derry and Newry the politics of the south have always held much more significance the level of interaction was obviously greater. The ‘obsessions’ around the border in Cavan, Monaghan, Sligo, Fermanagh and Tyrone are pretty much the same – however collectively probably very different to those in Belfast or Dublin.

  • Declan Doyle

    You’re excitement and delight is almost palpable in this thread as it was on the Slugger report this morning. It is highly unusual to sing such confidence over just one poll without any pattern to support it. Particularly Unusual for this site.

    Not to rain on your parade but a lansdowne poll you ignored released only four days ago showed FG at 30%, FF 26% and SF 20%. Figures far more in line with current trends and far more likely to reflect the real position of the parties.

    Of course the last week has been very bad for Enda Kenny and quite good for his coalition partner Micheal Martin. From today FF and Martin’s poll performance will be judged against this yardstick such is the hyper active coverage.

    Talk about peaking too soon !

  • Declan Doyle

    SF and all parties would do well to heed the message sent by the electorate after the recent GE. Do not exclude any potential partners pre election.

  • ted hagan

    Misses the point altogether. What was proclaimed by many in the last election as a historic moment in Irish history, is, in fact, just a return to the bad old days. FF punished, now forgiven. The rogues are back in town.

  • ted hagan

    I think Mick is treating many of his followers like simpletons.

  • Katyusha

    the illusion that somehow the southern electorate share the same obsessions and political outlook as those of us in Northern Ireland.

    Can’t say I’ve ever met anyone with such an illusion, Mick. They’ve had completely different political parties, completely different economic and social policy, completely different social concerns, and a completely different history since partition. Even Sinn Fein recognise this, and sell one message south of the border and another north of the border.

    It would be more accurate to say that before SF’s foray south the perception was that the southern electorate held a political outlook totally and irreconcilably divorced from us in the North, and SF’s limited success in the RoI, particularly in Dublin, has given some indication that those living in deprived areas on both sides of the border have similar concerns, even if the political environment is completely different.

    Also, I think doopa is correct below in identifying that Belfast has alway existed in something of a bubble with regards to Southern affairs, whereas in the border areas, there is a greater awareness of what is happening in the south and of their concerns. hence there is little illusion that the priorities of the two juridictions overlap. Economically, our concerns are much the same, but the political landscape is very different.

    in the process, reducing the other major parties there to the status of bit part players.
    So according to many northern originating accounts, Fianna Fail’s biggest threat was the (‘inevitable’) rise of Sinn Fein.

    But if you had talked to anyone in Fianna Fail at the time, Sinn Fein was a poor third or fourth on the list of battles to be won.

    Can’t reconcile myself with this, either. It was clear on their entry to southern politics that it was SF who were the bit-players, not FF who are a national institution. SF’s elevation to a significant political force in an new “3+1 parties” political environment (as opposed to the old 2.5 party setup) has been a welcome surprise. SF saw FF’s weakness as a golden opportunity, but nothing more than that; SF’s stance is more of an incursion on Labour territory, they aren’t natural heirs to FF’s voter base. SF were just being shamelessly opportunistic in trying to benefit from a protest vote against FF:

    And I doubt FF regarded SF as anything more than a minor annoyance. Their narrative is self contained, where they alone are responsible for their own success. I doubt other parties really register on their radar, it’s like they regard all of the RoI as their natural territory. They’re an ideology-free zone with two concerns: win votes and make money. SF might as well be from another planet.

    As regards the poll you have cited, I don’t read too much into it. It’s no surprise that the independent vote is leaking steadily back to FF; FF’s populism is practically identical to the money-for-the-locals appeal of the independent brigade. Just another chapter in FF’s swift march back into power from self-inflicted near-death. You kind of have to admire the shamelessness and naked ambition of it all.

    Populism alone has limits.

    This is Ireland. The only limit is when the money runs out.

  • chrisjones2

    As I always tell the granchilder …if you dont like it there is an off switch

  • doopa

    I don’t follow!?

  • mickfealty

    It won’t depend on polls Ken, any precipitive move would cut their revival very short. If independents are getting caned for going into government FF will be watchful that their own reasons for going in stack up and have credible actions attached.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Icham of Irlaunde
    Ant of the holy londe
    Of Irlande.
    Gode sire, pray ich the,
    For of saynte charite,
    Come ant daunce wyt me
    In Irlaunde
    .

  • Declan Doyle

    FF have picked up so many of SF policies that it’s hard to keep count at this stage. FF strength is and always has been a remarkable ability to move with the crowd.

  • Declan Doyle

    This will most likely be an outlier or a ‘rogue poll’

  • mac tire

    So FG were 4% ahead of FF last week, according to Milward Brown and this week FF are 9% ahead of FG, according to IPSOS/MRBI?

    Something ain’t right.

  • terence patrick hewett

    What it is to be Irish and what it is to be Englsh is desperate stuff: We Catholics have all sorts in the pews: all we have is christian love.

  • Declan Doyle

    For sure. In fairNess to Mori for the Irish Times they nearly always get in bang on, esp for SF support. But this seems a bit off the rails.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Sixteen tries and a penalty goal to nil:

    Mae bys Meri-Ann wedi brifo,
    A Dafydd y gwas ddim yn iach.
    Mae’r baban yn y crud yn crio,
    A’r gath wedi sgrapo Joni bach.
    Sosban fach yn berwi ar y tân,
    Sosban fawr yn berwi ar y llawr,
    A’r gath wedi sgrapo Joni bach.

    Dai bach y sowldiwr
    Dai bach y sowldiwr,
    Dai bach y sowldiwr,
    A chwt ei grys e mas.

    Mae bys Meri-Ann wedi gwella
    A Dafydd y gwas yn ei fedd;
    Mae’r baban yn y crud wedi tyfu
    ,A’r gath wedi huno mewn hedd.
    Sosban fach yn berwi ar y tânSosban fawr yn berwi ar y llawr
    A’r gath wedi huno mewn hedd.

    Dai bach y sowldiwr,
    Dai bach y sowldiwr
    Dai bach y sowldiwr,
    A chwt ei grys e mas.

    Aeth hen Fari Jones i Ffair y Caerau
    I brynu set o lestri de;
    Ond mynd i’r ffos aeth Mari gyda’i llestri
    Trwy yfed gormod lawer iawn
    o “de”Sosban fach yn berwi ar y tân
    Sosban fawr yn berwi ar y llawr
    A’r gath wedi huno mewn hedd.

    “So shall I say it is not eminence chills
    but the snigger from behind the covers of history,
    the sly words and the cold heart
    and footprints made with blood upon a continent?
    Let your words
    tread lightly on this earth of Europe”

    The terirfying pathos of humantity:

    Smallies, oldies, the horror can only be described is in Cabveret:

    The children, the oldies which were put into trains with their sh#*t: do you remember that?

    And it is Bigels not bagels:

    And::

    Britain will never ever be salves: what????

  • AntrimGael

    The Southern electorate aren’t very sophisticated, do not think for themselves and to be truthful are still as gombeen and backward as they always have been.The South has always been a controlled society. For centuries it was the British, then the Church, then two Thatcherite civil war parties and now by a rabidly partitionist, right wing media owned by a few oligarchs. Southern society does what it is told by it’s masters and never disappoints. Many there still vote for the two main parties because their granda and his da always did or because some red faced portly TD attended their granny’s funeral back in the 60’s. How can you not deem an electorate just plain stupid when they flock back to the brown envelope party who wrecked the economy?? It’s Stockholm Syndrome at it’s worst.

  • Katyusha

    私に未だ分かりません。I still don’t get it.
    What’s with the Irlaunde and Irlande , Terence? Two different Irelands? Tribal Ireland and Christian Ireland?

    Keep posting this stuff, it’s simply wonderful. You’re like a treasure trove of wonderful material.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Right so as bees out swarmen from an hyve,
    Out of the develes ers ther gonne dryve
    Twenty thousand freres on a route,
    And thurghout helle swarmed al aboute,
    And comen agayn as faste as they may gon,
    And in his ers they crepten everychon.
    He clapte his tayl agayn and lay ful still
    He clapte his tayl agayn and lay ful stille.

    Or:

    Ye, for a grote! Unbokele anon thy purs,
    “Nay, nay,” quod he, “thanne have I Cristes curs!
    Lat be,” quod he, “it shal nat be, so theech,
    Thou woldest make me kisse thyn olde breech,
    And swere it were a relyk of a seint,
    Though it were with thy fundement depeint.
    But by the croys which that Seint Eleyne fond,
    I wolde I hadde thy coillons in myn hond
    In stide of relikes or of seintuarie.
    Lat kutte hem of, I wol thee helpe hem carie;
    They shul be shryned in an hogges toord.”

    Would you like a translation sweetie-pie?
    Well I will give a trannie anyway

    “you tuppeny-happeny little git: you think you can b*sh*t me? You think I will kiss your sh*t stained underods? I will cut your b*ollcks off and throw them with a pigs t*urd.”

    It is Chaucer: he has got you rite.

  • Declan Doyle

    The last gen election saw almost half the entire electorate vote against the FF/ FG coalition. So a lot of us are pretty sophisticated 😉

  • AntrimGael

    Doesn’t cut the mustard Declan. A party like FF should have been condemned to history after what they did to the economy and peoples lives but the electorate have spoken and said “It’s OK for you to shaft us, we are not worthy”. It’s hard to have respect for a population that is so dopey, easily manipulated by the Indo and RTE and does what’s it’s told. By the way this place is no better; the North is populated by goons, buffoons and looney tunes so I don’t seek to condemn or hold any higher moral ground. I just call it as I see it.

  • Declan Doyle

    You make a very good point but you are missing the vital ingredient which is ‘human nature’. Humans respond to direction no matter where you go in the world. That direction comes through the airwaves, online and the print media; the majority of which in thsee isles is controlled by multi billion heir moguls who have the establishment politicians lodged firmly in their pockets. Propoganda pushed through onto people who have little or no alternative source of info. One or two publishers on this site are classic examples of how far down into the depths of modern communicative tools the claws of deceit and misinformation can travel. The difference here is that we have open debate on a forum full of people who are naturally bound to question the prevailing paradigm, with those who support the status quo presenting their argument through sneers, jeers goading and sarcasm. – (Yes indeed, it might be so, ED) etc etc. So, in my view the Free State voters who manage to produce a 50% vote away from the ‘club’ is quite refreshing.

  • Skibo

    I think you are stretching the 3+1 statement a bit. Labour are in a wasteland at the moment and can no longer be seen as a major party. 3.5 maybe with Labour being the .5. AAA and PBP together would be larger than Labour.

  • Katyusha

    Granted. I only put it that way becuase I thought “3 + 1/2” looks a little silly.
    Labour don’t even occupy the same political sphere as FG, FF, and SF after their meltdown at the last election.

    2.5 parties = FF vs FG/Labour coalition.

    3+1 = FF, FG, and SF (all claiming the mantle of Irish nationalism), plus Labour on the outside who no longer have a significant impact as a political force.

  • John Collins

    Maybe the most of us are.

  • John Collins

    I have not exactly seen support for the Tory Party dissipate much in my sixty six years and the Labour Party has overall retained its position fairly well, although now challenged by a Ultra Nationalist inward looking UKIP Party. Basically no great change there either. If all these people in the South voted all ala Granddad etc, how come we have had several different parties represented in the Dail, and in government, since the foundation of the state, while GB has only had only three parties in government, and the Liberals have only been in office for one term, since the 1940s, if the GB Electorate were so open to the idea of change

  • John Collins

    And Thatcher shafted a big section of the GB populace in the eighties and the Tory Party are flying. In your own beloved NI Hume and Trimble, the voices of moderation, risked their political careers to forge a lasting agreement and what did your ‘sophisticated’ electorate do in response. They effectively ran off in large numbers and voted for the two most extreme and divisive parties in Western Europe.