Latest polls: As you were (for now)…

If the two polls this morning are anything to go by, not a great deal has changed. Micheal Martin’s got a bounce, and possibly quite a significant one given he tops the poll as prefered Taoiseach in the SBP poll. Note this is not the usually, largely meaningless, who’s doing well as party leader question.

But the headline figures are not much changed from what we already know:

SBP / RedC : FG 33% -1 Lab 21% -2 FF 16% -1% SF 13% -1 Greens 2% Ind 15% +5

The figures in the Sunday Independent reflect changes from last September:

Fine Gael (34 per cent) up four points; Labour (24 per cent) down 11 points; Fianna Fail (16 per cent) down six points; independent/other (15 per cent) up seven points; Sinn Fein (10 per cent) up six points; Greens (1 per cent) down one point.

Jody Corcoran in the Sindo (going out on a limb suggesting FG might want to go it alone as a minority government) notes that Martin’s lead as leader is not yet affecting the party’s ratings:

His election, therefore, would appear to have done nothing to shore up support for Fianna Fail in the capital. The party is facing decimation in Leinster and wipeout in Dublin, where Fine Gael and Labour look set to divide the spoils.

But it’s hard to disagree with Garrett FitzGerald (who filed his copy on Friday evening/afternoon):

First of all I am convinced that the polls have recently been underestimating Fianna Fáil support – because in the present hostile atmosphere some party loyalists must be reluctant to admit to pollsters that they intend to vote for Fianna Fáil candidates.

Next, the apparent risk of a Fianna Fáil meltdown may energise at least as many party activists as it may discourage. Moreover, the post-1980s breakdown of the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael party structures in many constituencies, and their replacement by individual candidate campaigns, could work in favour of Fianna Fáil. Activists will push the claims of the individual candidate and the party’s name will appear in very small type – if it features at all!

Finally, at national level, Martin clearly intends to cash in on his undoubted debating skills – which were most notably displayed in the Lisbon Treaty referendum campaign. On that occasion he alone among Fianna Fáil ministers showed a capacity to challenge effectively the many anti-Lisbon campaigners – successfully refuting the many claims they were making about the effects of that treaty.

FitzGerald points to Martin’s cool performance under fire during the Lisbon referendum (though I suspect that coolness came from letting Dick Roche take a lot of the day to day strain for the government. He is undoubtedly the nearest thing FF have to a class act just now.

But his job will be survive this election as the lead party of opposition and take them as far from the nightmare position of being numerically close to Sinn Fein in the 31st Dail. He’s already got to work on that objective by cutting his party’s candidature down to a more sustainable size, by standing down Noel O’Flynn in Cork North Central, leaving just one candidate for the party.

Footnote: Keep an eye on Jonathan O’Brien in that constitutency on the day. He’s been making steady progress since 2002, and his might be one of a number of off the radar advances for Sinn Fein if things come good for them. Certainly we might expect to see some stray FF voters go that direction.

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  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Paddy Power has pulled the betting on the number of SF seats (I havent checked for a few weeks so dont know how long that has been the case) suggesting serious volatility and that SF are the known unknown or the unknown known or…

  • The cockles-warming moment with an STV ballot is who gets the eleventh (or whatever is last) preference. This creates a tendency to start at each end and work toward the middle.

    Elections are not just “For whom?” but also “Against whom?” I’d venture to suggest that the average FF voter (and the blue-shirted tendency) knows the answers to both. The difference this time is that there is an additional reason to register against Labour, no longer the harmless no-hoper, perhaps by demoting the Labour candidate from, say, third to sixth preference.

    Then there is the nasty vote that dare not speak its name (until the polls shut and the results show that it wasn’t so nasty and individualistic after all).

    FF will take a pasting; but they are not down-and-out. And I’m depressed to have to recognise that.

  • Barry the Blender

    This post is nothing other than the unionist bigotry with the anti-Gerry agenda that we see from Pete Baker on a regular basis.

    Sinn Fein will win 31 seats in the next Dail. We know this because they’re standing 31 candidates.

  • Greenflag

    malcolm redfellow ,

    ‘Elections are not just “For whom?” but also “Against whom?”’

    True especially under PR. A perusal of the placard about to be erected in my front garden -awaiting local council approval – now reads as follows.

    Political canvassers and candidates for FF, FG , LAB, SF and GP will be shot on point of entry . Survivors who crawl to my door will be shot again .

    It’s time I replaced the previous placard which was directed at bankers , solicitors , clergy , Jehovah’s witnesses , property speculators and real estate agents .As a former average FF voter I never thought I would rejoice when the doorbell rings and there stands an ordinary dacent member of the travelling people lookin for some help ;)?

    I’m not sure whether FF may have to return to politics under a new name or whether they’ll dismember into their disparate factions under under parties . Martin as leader may have just averted wipe out . But a lot will depend on how they come off the ropes . Anything is possible bar an FF win or indeed any party winning an overall majority.

  • Red Rob

    I can’t understand why any elector in the Irish Republic would vote for Fianna Gael as an alternative to the current discredited Government. They will get more of the same from a centre right party with no clear alternative economic plan to tackle the country’s crippling deficit without the need for massive cuts to public services and further attacks on workers.

    Time for Labour to step up to the mark and provide a genuine socialist manifesto for change.

  • barelegs

    Regarding the Sinn Féin figure. While they may be a little disappointed to have dropped from a high of 15%, 13 is still up considerably on the just under 7 they polled in 2007. What has to be kept in mind is that in a large number of constituencies such as Clare, Dublin North, Dublin South and Kerry South they either haven’t named a candidate or might not be fielding a candidate. While these were never realistic target seats any voter when asked this close to an election can hardly chose a SF candidate in those constituencies.

    Not running candidates in these constituencies could allow for a better concentration of resources in areas where they do stand a chance. Given the pressure they will undoubtedly come under and have already come under from the media and the opposition parties, the vote may retract between now and polling day but a better concentration of vote may result in more positive result.

  • Mainly in sympathy with Greenflag @ 5:16 pm:
    Every columnist seemed to recycle it; you’ve already heard it; but it’s not bad. It’s Vince Cable’s. It’ll easily update for the present situation, so replace key term as you please.

    On the motorway are two bodies: a dead banker and a dead cat. The cat is the one with the skid marks around it.

    As for Red Rob @ 5:55 pm:
    Titter ye not. There’ll be no genuine socialist manifesto for change because
    [a] there is a small but real prospect they’d have to stand by some or all of what they proposed. Consider how that did for Clegg and his little band;
    [b] this is no time to frighten the horses, or any passing casual voter. Alas!

    So, cheer up, all! There’s only a month of it to come. Then, when any coalition falls to pieces, we can do it again next year.

  • tuatha

    Better an inexperienced Indie than ANY Party hack, apparatchik, time serving seat warmer. We seen what ‘experience’ is worth coz we’ve experienced it. Same old same-old, different snouts in the trough.
    Here’s an idea, tip out and cleanse the trough and put in new swill or, better still, leave it EMPTY so that the new TDs have to do summat to fill it before wallowing.

  • Greenflag

    The blasted council have rejected my placard application 🙁 They disapprove of the words ‘will be shot ‘ and ‘shot again’ something about it being unconstitutional , bad form, as well as illegal leading probably to a long stretch in the Joy 🙁 . However a follow up phone call to an official was more encouraging . The official suggested that rotten eggs and or tomatoes would prove a more popular substitute and could even become a popular and trendy diversion over the next month . This kind official also suggested that my neighbours might feel more secure knowing that the sound of gunfire would not now be heard while they’re having their dinner. Funny I never even thought of that -I’ll have to attend evening classes for the empathetically challenged ;)?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    GreenFlag,

    Regarding the use of firearms during an election – old Irish habits die hard.

    The discharge of weapons in the general direction of those who are currently ‘running the country’ (although to be condemned in the strongest possible terms) could be defended through the courts as a form of self (and National)defence if the intention (of yourself for example) could be shown to be a reasonable attempt at preventing them casuing further catastrophic damage to our fine little country.

    It is also probable that those appearing before the courts on such charges and being judged by their fellow citizens, may well receive a round of applause rather than a custodial sentence.

  • Greenflag

    An electoral guide for those who may be unfamiliar with Irish political parties .

    FF : The Party is Over party now awaiting the people’s judgement as to whether Party is Over party will continue to be a party .

    FG : The ‘It’s My Turn to Party” party

    Lab : The other ‘Its My Turn to Party’ party also known as the Mandarin and Union party, and even the ‘Tail that wants to become the Dog’ party.

    GP : The once Cinderella party -Formerly aligned to the ‘Party is Over ‘ party but was never told the party had ended – stayed past midnight and has now turned into the Pumpkin Party .

    SF : The NSPD ( the No Southern Political Dexterity ) party . Top of the pops in NI but till now like a koala bear without a eucalyptus tree in the southern jungle . Still getting up to speed on southern ground . Needs evolutionary leap forward to catch up but what’s behind that electoral wall ahead ? A drop into the abyss of economic wasteland or the land of Tir na Nog or Hy Brasil ? SF don’t know and neither does anybody else 🙁

    Independents :

    The one to vote for assuming your local candidate is not a one issue nutter or has forgotten the question but knows Jesus is the answer .

  • madraj55

    I believe FF will have a far higher share of the vote than polls are predicting. Who after all, is going to tell anyone they’ll vote for that shower? Micheal martin was a fully paid up member of the developpers fan club that the last govt amounted to, but stillthere are enough out there who have no appetite for a govt led by Enda Kenny. Fine Gael had a perfect chance to offload him last year but flunked it. They will regret at leisure when the votes have been cast in a months time.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I dont like Opinion Polls.
    Im not convinced by the opinions of people too stupid to avoid a pollster with a clipboard in a shopping centre.
    But I suspect people have already made up their minds. In a month they go into the polling station and vote the way they intended to in December…November….October.

    Minor adjustmants for Micheál Martin factor, local factors including Independents and semi detached campaigns by FF candidates. And the nuances of the PR voting system.

    But in practice, minds are made up.

  • Greenflag

    Fitzjameshorse 1745,

    ‘But in practice, minds are made up.’

    Not so . The Republic is not NI and the upcoming election is probably the least predictable in our political history .Other than FF losing substantially the size of any future FG/LAB coalition majority is anyone’s guess -assuming there is a coalition – even Gilmore is having doubts . As to how many SF or Independents make it on the second or third or fourth counts ?

    I still believe FG would be doing a lot better with Noonan or Shatter or even Bruton as leader .

  • wee buns

    Ftzjms

    ‘But in practice, minds are made up.’

    What about the Celtic Cubs? (20-30yr olds who haven’t emigrated) Never voted in their hitherto lush lives. Never felt the need to vote. Have no clue how the PR system works never mind the (undeniably subtle) differences between party policies. An utterly disengaged & un-politicized generation. If they make it to the registration stage they’ll be doing well. They are the floaters.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    “wee Buns”….I take your point but if you look around the Slugger regulars, whether they live North or South or further afield their minds are probably made up on how they will vote in May, February or whenever. Even those who have not overtly proclaimed voting allegiances are probably sure how they will vote.
    Of course Sluggerites and Sluggerettes may be more politically literate than the general population.
    The “youngish” voters in South would usually be the “dont knows” but the unrelenting political stories over 18 months have probably made them literate. Id be surprised if actual voting in 4 weeks is different from intentions today or last week.