Where’s the Fianna Fail vote going, redux?

Well, it’s hardly definitive, but it at least provides more insight to where the candidateless FF vote is going than we had last night. And the answer is not simply, Sean Gallagher… According to Red C, Michael D is getting the biggest chunk of it with Gallagher taking the next largest and then Davis (18) and Norris (15). Martin McGuinness takes just 11, with Mitchell and Dana with just 5 and 6 respectively.

More data below:

Adds: See several comments below questioning the dilution of the sample. It’s a fair warning, and one I should have included. This is a back of a fag packet answer to a question that is almost impossible (for cost reasons) to find a reliable public answer to.

  • Interesting.
    Perhaps the key thing is that votes are going all over the place because there are several strands of politics within Fianna Fáil. Its easy for its enemies to label it “cute hoor opportunists” but for a neutral it is more difficult…….populist, the party of the constitution, nationalist, republican, socially conservative……..so I dont think its any surprise that most candidates are feasting on the bones.
    Obviously not Fine Gael. And Id think that theres a difference between a FF voter and member…….but the prime concern of FF voters seems to be to keep FG out of Phoenix Park.
    If FG cant win the Presidency in 2011 (and I recognise they have a bad candidate) then it begs the question can they ever win it. Are they deemed unacceptable as upholders of the Constitution they didnt create?

    I see the “FF” vote in the context of who can beat FG. Which seems just about everybody. And as people will be deemed losers (Dana certainly and Norris probably) then FF people will row in further behind Gallagher or Higgins and to a lesser extent McGuinness.

    Basically Dana gets the socially conservative (some would say Catholic FF vote).
    Gallagher gets the FF gene pool vote.
    Higgins gets the state industry type vote.
    McGuinness takes the Republican strand.
    Davis……well perhaps a damn all politicians strand.

    Norris percentage surprises me……..but I think its over-stated. In the privacy of a polling booth people wont vote for him especially as his star is falling daily.
    There is Id also add a shame factor to declaring support for SF……so its probably under-stated.

  • Mick Fealty

    We may be seeing evidence that that Republic wing is not as large and as juicy as it once was.

  • Not really.
    A lot of the “Republican” vote would have already gone to Sinn Féin and like I say the “shame factor” will prolly suppress the SF vote in opinion polls.
    As Mr Worcester (sp) puts it. “people lie to pollsters” I know I do.

  • Mick Fealty

    Yep to that last. But even if you are right about defectors having already gone, then there cant have been very many of them anyway.

  • Could be.
    But surely Gallaghers “gene pool” vote still includes all of those FF threads, including the Republican element.
    But dont you think that a convincing FF candidate (ie not an obscure Senator) might be doing at least as well as Mitchell.
    FF might actually have missed an apportunity here to restore a little delf confidence.
    Was musing earlier today that Mitchell might actually motivate more people to vote FG if there was a FF candidate……..almost as if a FF candidate provokes a FG vote.

  • Mick Fealty

    It’s irrelevant. Think again about that 70% loyalty figure for SF voters. It’s oddly at variance with the patterns for the other parties, where people feel free to vote for whomever they think is the best candidate.

    There is, it turns out, very little penalty for FF not having a collared dog in this race, when few outside SF think this is a referendum on the government.

    Withdrawing also means they don’t have to manufacture a reason asking the electorate for a change of heart, and may chose instead to say, “well we heard what you told us and we are not going to insult your intelligence by asking you again”.

    In the meantime, that fundraiser at the Burlington other night pulled in 1,100 activists. They haven’t gone away you know!

  • Munsterview

    Fitz : “…If FG cant win the Presidency in 2011 (and I recognize they have a bad candidate) then it begs the question can they ever win it….”

    Politics at election time, as indeed at any other time, are all about party and perception. The Fine Gael party is still riven but FF ran successful elections with a far more divided party. FG had the right strategy and they got a ‘right’ candidate that had both National and International appeal. He could have done the business.

    Big Phil and the back-room screwed up, they went for window dressing and media manipulation to keep the headlines on the lead up to the election and took their eye off the ball that counted, getting their man selected by the convention. Cox could have been in place and campaigning inside the party weeks before he was, it was Phil the fluters idea to court the headlines with the ‘will he’ wont he’ Cox in, Cox out show.

    Mitchell but ego before party. He was never going to sell outside of Dublin in any significant way. As I said before the impression of my Dublin comrades that dealt with him in local Government days was that while he was good at marketing himself, he had nothing to sell and his limitations are now showing up under pressure.

    “…Are they deemed unacceptable as upholders of the Constitution they didn’t create?….”

    I would think that is a total non issue, the politics of how or who formed the Republic are too far back for the under forties. On that the Peter Barry element of Fine Gael would answer sharpish that while Dev talked the talk about a Republic, Fine Gael walked the walk and delivered it. Even old SF Republicans are prepared to give them a grudging credit for that.

  • Mark McGregor

    Mick,

    The one think you cannot tell from that is where the FF vote is going.

    You have no idea what percentage of respondents stated they voted FF in the last election. It would need to be 17% to give a possible acceptable indication for this poll and even then it would be subject to massively magnified margin errors. If it is for example 9% we would only have a suggestion (and a poor suggestion at that) on how half of FF’s vote may swing with a huge margin of error.

    There is a real problem with people over extrapolating from these polls when it gets into small sub groups. We could be talking about a sample of less than 50 people being used to make claims on how nearly 400k are intending to vote in relation to 7 candidates.

    It makes for generating betting interest (what the poll sponsors really want) but as an electoral indicator of former FF voters’ patterns its not worth pish.

  • Mark McGregor

    Mick,

    My back of a fag packet calculation has the margin of error for the FF voting pattern linked as running at +/- 10-14% depending on sample size (declared former FF voters) which I guesstimated on the generous side.

    That is totally worthless.

  • Munsterview

    Mark : with you on both posts!

  • Mark McGregor

    Though with the margins of error it does indicate one thing and one thing only. Only SF can rely on a high level (over 50%) of former voter loyalty for their linked candidate.

  • Mick Fealty

    I should have reposted my caveat from earlier. And added that extra one about the sample size.

  • Mark McGregor

    I’d also suggest you are asking the wrong question from that poll, it isn’t a question about FF voters you should be raising. The question is where is the FG vote going. They potentially have 60-70% of their GE vote going walkabout and it’s doesn’t seem to be all ending up with their Labour partner.

  • Munsterview

    Mark, with you on that one as well !

    I am only going by phone calls, odd meetings and straws in the wind etc but if the people of FG background that have indicated to me that they have no time for Mitchell and considering Martin are anything to go by, this will be one funny old election that will break quite a few taboos.

  • Mick Fealty

    We need to see a few more ‘break points’ to figure that one. I’d urge caution re FG vote. Their base is not as loyal as FF or SF. The other factor is the thinning of the field. People will start backing winners. Michael D is the one most threatened by Gallagher’s surge.

    I expect McG to hold steady. Not sure where he’ll get the big mo from, until he gets off the northern/IRA stuff. We may see some indications that he’s largely borrowing votes from the Independents.

  • John Ó Néill

    A lot of people (and the broadcast media are typically saying that they) regard both Gallagher and Davis as FF gene pool candidates. Given the recent history – there is always the danger that Michael Martin will publicly back one or other.
    Gallagher has gone untouched so far by the media, but will presumably take a lot of flak now if it is believed that he is threatening Michael D. His other (more logistical) problem is that he is supposedly more popular with younger people who proportionally don’t vote as much (or aren’t correctly registered.

  • John Ó Néill

    A lot of people (and the broadcast media are typically saying that they) regard both Gallagher and Davis as FF gene pool candidates. Given the recent history – there is always the danger that Michael Martin will publicly back one or other.
    Gallagher has gone untouched so far by the media, but will presumably take a lot of flak now if it is believed that he is threatening Michael D. His other (more logistical) problem is that he is supposedly more popular with younger people who proportionally don’t vote as much (or aren’t correctly registered).

  • Alias

    It’s an odd form of party identification that doesn’t include an intention to actually vote for the identified party’s candidate.

    Those figures are so plainly flakey that they make the Shinner supporters – at 70% consistency – look like the only group of stable voters in the country.

    Are the Shinners the only group who actually believe in anything any more – even if it is only a belief in party advancement for its own sake?

  • Munsterview

    Michael D is probable as good as he will get.

    There are a few voting blocks that have gone unmentioned so far, the Left wing votes that elected the Independents and the Socialist Party in Dublin and Pringles in Donegall etc are not showing up for Sinn Fein in the polls yet that is where most of those votes will go. These blocks of votes may be scattered all round the country but it is a cumulative vote and the thousands quickly mount up, they will make a significance difference and could make a decisive difference.

    I have already pointed out the situation in Limerick where the Hospital staff and patients are alienated from FF, FG and Lab. there are thousands of protest votes there where people will not vote for politics but for ‘vengeance be jazus’ and they will vote for the party most likely to cause the government maximum grief.

    I visited North West Cork some nights ago and checked with my young nephew as to what the mood was with the young people in Millstreet, kanturk, Newmarket and villages. His answer was simply “any of them that will bother to vote will vote for yer lot’ Youth unemployment is high and there are cut backs everywhere with a lot of pissed off young people. Same story in South Cork, In South Kerry, in North Kerry, in West Limerick etc, in fact Kerry to Donegal is the same.

    I would like to see the results of a specific poll sample for eighteen/ twenty five year olds. Then again the Government parties know those figures, that is why the set the election day when they did to cut our as many third-level away from home students as they could.

    As I said this will be a funny old election that could break many taboos.

  • Alias

    “As I said this will be a funny old election that could break many taboos.”

    Partly because the model being applied for the purpose of predicting an outcome is self-evidently not fit for purpose. The method used to determine party identification (Party ID) is dysfunctional in that it includes groups who should have been excluded by a tighter method. A model is not fit for purpose if it can’t be used to accurately predict outcomes. Therefore, a better mothod would have linked party identification much closer to an intention to actually vote for the party that is identified with. Effectively, it puts partisans in the same group as the nonsensical non-partisan partisans.

    For example, if 85% of those who identify as FG do not intend to vote for FG then party identification becomes a useless tool for predicting electoral outcomes, so there needs to be closer linkage there between declaring one’s self to be a party supporter and an intention of actually supporting it. Usually, is 67% of partisans vote in accordance with their party.

    Incidentally, what we in Ireland have been calling ‘civil war politics’ has been understood in the US since the 60s as Party ID, with some good work adapting it to the UK and to Ireland. The Irish paper is particularly relevant in making sense of non-partisan partisans shown in the figures. I don’t think we really have any working model at all in Ireland for how to properly understand these dynamics.

    The one taboo it won’t break is a Shinner president. He came out with the highest percentage from all voters groups who definately won’t vote for him.

  • Mick Fealty

    Look, I take the point about the methodological caveats, and I’ve amended the post above accordingly.

    But…

    The point about the anomaly between party rating and that of the candidates does not rely on this tiny sample. It is written in large neon lights re FG and Mitchell.

    With the exception of the SF candidate (the most anomalous figure in the race if only in this regard), candidate ratings are not a fair reflection of party sentiment in the country.

    And, guess what, it never has been.

    These are not council elections. Everything is vested in the person. These guys are getting vetted, and that accounts for personal nature of the ‘attacks’.

    For most voters, it is the character of the candidate that’s on show. Being associated with the only seriously popular party in the country is no advantage. And having an association with the least popular (according to today’s IT poll), is clearly not a disadvantage.

    For that reason, I really don’t think Micheal Martin is going to queer that pitch for Gallagher. It’s more useful for them (if only to build internal morale) to see the voters ignore his FF association.

    A point made on Morning Ireland this morning is that despite the mass desertion of voters from the party, he can appeal to a lot of those who still come from that social melee commonly known as the ‘gene pool’.

    Going back to this sample. It’s not robust, but it is not significantly out of line with the larger more robust surveys we’re getting. It’s there to kick the daylights out of, but…

  • Munsterview

    Mick : “…For that reason, I really don’t think Micheal Martin is going to queer that pitch for Gallagher. It’s more useful for them (if only to build internal morale) to see the voters ignore his FF association…..”

    Yer learning garsun, Fianna Failed cute hoorism as usual. Martin can have the Fianna Failed cake and eat it ! If Sean Gallaher wins Martin and his back-room will emerge with glowing reputations as supreme strategists, having done the impossible against and got ‘one of our own’ in and ‘held the Park’ for Fianna Failed by running a dark horse under non stable colors in a race where no one gave them a prayer.

    If Gallaher looses then of course Martin will appear on TV with his funeral director look and voice to say……. ” Well the party and my advisers had a full assessment of the situation and as a result we took a certain stand in relation to putting up a candidate in this election. Sean Gallaher was in many respects a fine candidate, the kind of solid candidate we would have run and yet the fact that Sean with his high Dragon’s Den profile and his past Fianna Fail connections including National Exectuive experience, could only get XXX vote, proves that I and my advisers made the right decision” !

    ‘That fella’ did not get a reputation for an ability to mind mice at a crossroad without good reason, when it comes to cunning he could teach Bertie a thing or two but he also learned from the Jack Lynch legacy where his calculated media projection is that of grave elder Statesman constantly and innocently having to suffer fort the sins of ‘The Party’ wide-boys, that of course he had nothing to do with.

  • Mick Fealty

    And speaking of cute hoors: http://sluggerotoole.com/?p=54217 😉

  • Munsterview

    Alias : since I agree with all of your last post up to the last two lines, I must book in a medical check up for next week!