Interestingly the Sunday Business Post and Irish Times polls have come out on the same weekend. The not unexpected finding in both is that Bertie’s profile has taken a pounding (with everyone but those in his own party, who retain their faith). Overall however, the party figures have barely changed in the Irish Times, and the SBP shows a four per cent rise in Fianna Fail (still leaving them six points below last May’s showing in the General Election according to the SBP poll) and a three per cent drop in Labour. One bright patch for Sinn Fein suggests their core vote in the country is holding up (both polls show an increase of 2%).The apparent lack of further progress on the part of Opposition parties Fianna Fail is blaming on negative campaigning by Labour and Fine Gael. Vincent Browne is sceptical that the polls reflect anything significant at all. With another general election likely about 2012, what voters think now may not matter in terms of the next government.
Polls aside, that election will provide more exact proof of where the land lies will be the locals in May 2009. Back then, the Opposition parties made relatively large gains in seats, even, as in Fine Gael and Labour’s case, on a minute percentage swing. Fianna Fail, took a massive hammering that time out with the loss of some 80 seats, many of which, on this showing the may be well positioned to take back.
In the absence of a more structured opposition, much, as Cian notes will rest on future events:
it is more likely that this will continue up to the middle of Spring at least (until the Mahon begins to wind up public hearings) and as a result prevent the government from action on the economy, transport and the other issues mentioned above and on top of that a campaign for the ratification of the EU Treaty.
Until then, possession remains nine tenths of Fianna Fail’s (and everyone else’s) law…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty