All to play for in 2007 Dáil election, says Luntz

RTE’s The Week in Politics programme commissioned well-known American communications professional Dr Frank Luntz to carry out a survey (can be viewed here) on undecided voters ahead of next year’s Dáil elections. He came up with some interesting results, including the one that Michael McDowell seems to be boring the pants off the electorate with his constant fearmongering.Using a sample of 32 undecided voters from Dublin, Meath and Kildare, the majority of whom hadn’t voted for government parties, Luntz tried to tease out which issues matters most to the group as well as which politician and potential coalition grouping they would most like to see in power after the next election. Sinn Féin didn’t get a mention, by the way.

Not surprisingly, health was far and away the most important issue to the group, followed by the economy and crime. Interestingly, not one person chose immigration as an issue.

Fianna Fáil leader and Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, was described as decent, capable, hardworking and a man of the people. However, there was a common feeling that he failed to hold people accountable. Also, the more he talked, the less the group liked him.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny was described as lacking charisma, a lightweight and dull. He fared even worse than Ahern with people complaining that he bickers too much and is too negative. The party was more highly rated than its leader.

The group felt Progressive Democrats leader Michael McDowell was boring, confusing, bright but arrogant. None of the group said they would vote PD. When shown footage of him giving a speech saying there was a real danger of Sinn Féin getting into government after the election, the group just switched off. The didn’t like it and they didn’t seem to believe it.

Labour’s Pat Rabbitte fared best of the lot, being described as honest. However, the group felt he had gone backwards in the past two years even if he was saying what they wanted to hear.

The group wasn’t enthused by the idea of Kenny and Rabbitte working together and equally they felt uneasy about a continuation of Ahern and McDowell.

Ahern and Rabbitte was the favourite of the three options given. Luntz concluded that the undecided voters of Ireland clearly want a change. They seem uncertain, though, as to how this change can be achieved.