Sinn Fein to pull through in Cork North Central…

As Paul noted, I was in Dublin on Friday and called into the Irish Times. Here’s my interview with Hugh Linehan, on what #GE11 means and doesn’t mean to Northern Irish pols and anoraks.

And just in case Pete’s reading of yesterday’s Red C polls may have convinced you that Gerry’s poor economic performance, means Sinn Fein’s running out of steam, have a read of Stephen Collins’ constituency report from Cork North Central where Jonathan O’Brien (mentioned here previously) is currently running a close second to Labour’s Kathleen Lynch:

O’Brien’s vote is relatively evenly spread across the age groups but there is a huge difference in his appeal to the different social classes. He records no support among the best-off AB voters but is strong in the C2 and DE social categories in this predominantly working class constituency.

He is also much stronger among male than among female voters. This has been a feature of Sinn Féin support in opinion polls. The only doubt about O’Brien’s prospects is whether the strength of support in the poll will turn into votes on February 25th.

To put this in perspective, that’s double O’Brien’s percentage from 2007 (see Elections Ireland). Billy Kelleher of Fianna Fail party rating drops from 22% down to 13%. Last time out he was able to bring in Noel O’Flynn, so it demonstrates these national poll ratings are have local bite.

That said, the margin of error rate of 4.5% is high enough to allow for a great deal of variation. It’s frustrating too not to get a glimpse of the undecided, who may yet have the greatest say in a lot of electoral races.