Mixed poll messages

The latest Sunday Business Post poll shows a drop in support for Fianna Fail (33%), Fine Gael (25%) and Sinn Fein (8%), all down 2% points. However, the “junior” partners of the Big Two seem to be the beneficiaries with both Labour (14%) and the Progressive Democrats (4%) up 2%. The FF drop jars with the Irish Examiner poll, however, Bertie’s Tribunal woes may have contributed to the difference. The public response to a McDowell leadership seems to be positive. UPDATE (Forgot a hat tip to El Matador)

  • Brian Boru

    The Tribunal couldn’t have effected this because the poll was taken before Thursday when Bertiegate broke. The PD’s will be relieved their back to where they were in election 2002, but it’s impossible to predict how they will do as their vote is concentrated in certain constituencies and a lot of their seats last time were won on transfers. However a poll today in the Mail on Sunday reportedly has McDowell keeping his seat in Dublin SE with 21% of the vote. They will be hoping FF’s woes don’t rub off on them. In fact, Bertiegate could be the PDs “finest hour” if they play the “watchdog” role and force Bertie to either come clean with what happened or to go. He could alternatively/also appeal to disllusioned FF voters to choose the PDs as a more honest alternative to FF, which can keep a closer eye on them in the next govt. A third option would be to mimic Des O’Malley circa 1992 and pull out of govt in the hope of gaining seats, which O’Malley did increasing the PDs from 6 to 10 TDs. While antipathetic to FG and Labour, I would feel much more comfortable with McDowell as Justice Minister in an alternative Rainbow including the PDs. As this is unlikely, I would like to see the current govt re-elected, but with a much stronger PD influence to keep FF on its best behaviour and stem the tide from Eastern Europe and source-zones of illegal-immigration.

    SF seem to be flat-lining, though I wouldn’t quite write them off yet. Their votes are largely people who were once loyal FF voters on the Left, as well as some who voted for the old Workers Party when Rabbitte and co were in it, and 1 or 2 former Labour voters. We can’t rule out that they will capitalise on this to lure FF voters to a Republican alternative to FF for those who can’t bring themselves to vote for FG or Labour (knowing they would go into govt with FG). However SF’s pro mass-migration stance is alienating some voters who may refuse to be tempted. Personally, I am a disllusioned FF voter seriously looking at voting PD next time, owing to them being uncontaminated by sleaze allegations (FG had Michael Lowry), and to McDowell’s plans for controls on Romania and Bulgaria, the Citizenship referendum 2004 and tough stance on illegal immigrants including new legislation planned this year. SF are seen as a party of the Far Left and this frightens off some Southern voters in an increasingly capitalistic society. Labour have had to move their economic platform closer to the centre to adjust to the new realities of Celtic Tiger Ireland e.g. promising to keep taxes low.

    As things stand, it’s 37% for the govt (before Bertiegate) and 39% for FG-Lab. This would seem to make the Greens kingmakers in 2007, unless FF can recover or the PDs expand beyond their 4% niche. I have outlined already how I think the latter could happen. A few more high-profile candidates (to join Colm O’Gorman on the party-ticket) would help. There were rumours a good while ago about DJ Carey joining but these were dispelled. Maybe if the party can grow a little more that will change. There has to be a reasonably large market in the Irish electorate for a capitalist party with liberal social-values and a critical eye on immigration.

  • Brian Boru

    BTW Fair_Deal you have double posted this thread. Please erase the other duplicate.

  • bluebagbrigade

    Hi BB,

    so you wouldn’t call Mary Harney taking a government helicopter to Leitrim to attend the opening of an off-licence sleaze ?

    est. cost- circa €10,000

    They all need an eye kept on them especially the PD’s.


  • Brian Boru

    Bluebagbrigade hardly constitutes “sleaze” in the sense of corrupt or unethical behaviour of resignation-proportions get real.

  • Brian Boru

    Sleaze is a term normally used to refer to a financial conflict of interest, and none is inherent in what you are talking about.

  • bluebagbrigade

    sorry BB – i don’t subscribe to your narrow definition of sleaze.

    I contend that Harney’s heli jaunt was unethical and an outrageous act of cronyism.

    Don’t expect everyone to fall for the “watch dog” role you believe the PD’s will replay.


  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    The remarkable thing about the polls over the last year or two is their underlying stability. That cannot read well for the opposition.

    The nightmare scenario hinted at by Noel Whelan in the Irish Times yesterday was the possibility that Labour’s gain is actually FG’s, rather than the Government’s loss. Whilst Labour should be heartened by a long-waited-for move forward, it’s no gain for the opposition coalition if they are simply borrowing voters from their politcal partners.

    SF’s secret weapon (as always) is their constituency work on the ground (PR elections are about working margins, rather than making big swingometer-type gains), so I would not be surprised to see them reap relatively generous rewards for a relatively modest proportion of the popular vote.

    I’ll be interested to see where Bertiegate goes. Particularly since Bertie himself initiated Moriarty in the wake of McCracken, only with a wider brief.


    £10,000 sounds like a lot of cash. But I’d like to hear more about what the accepted norm is. Not much point in excoriating Harney if it this par for the course. I’d welcome more information.

  • aquifer

    A strict reading of the numbers might suggest more post-nationalist and post civil war politics. Given the choice of an out and out national revolutionary Sinn Fein, and the old standard bearers of Ireland’s early national struggles, the voters may instead be voting more directly in their own economic self interest.

  • Brian Boru

    A govt helicopter is generally expected to be used by the govt and there are customs or norms for “ethnical” use thereof.

  • Greenflag


    ‘the voters may instead be voting more directly in their own economic self interest. ‘

    Newsflash 🙂

    ROI voters WILL be voting directly in their own economic self interest.

    It will be an FF/PD coalition .

    ‘There has to be a reasonably large market in the Irish electorate for a capitalist party with liberal social-values and a critical eye on immigration. ‘

    There is . Probably about 25% minimum I’d guess with their vote spread between FF, FG and PD’s .
    Call it the thinking ‘conservative vote’ as opposed to the strictly ‘loyalist’ (no NI reference) remaining 55% traditional party vote . The left (Irish Labour/SF at most has about a 20 to 25% vote range .

  • david

    the point made by slugger admin above that the SF secret weapon is consituency work has little bearing on how we should read the poll:

    In the 6 counties the SF vote is generally understated in polls while in the south it is overstated.

    in the poll prior to the 2002 election SF got 8% – in the actual vote they got 6.5%. no change on now really.

  • MED

    Sinn fein also have the problem of few transfers. Those that won’t give Sinn Fein a number one will probably not give a second or third peference.

  • bluebagbrigade

    Hi SOT Admin,

    sorry – got the heli ride mixed up with another Harney jaunt to Leitrim where they landed in the local GAA Field,were locked in and unfortunately couldn’t meet the locals the day before hundreds of workers got the chop. Bad Luck eh ?

    The trip to open the offy was taken in a Aer Corps Fisheries Patrol aircraft because Bertie was off to Europe in the Jet.