Sinn Fein pass Fianna Fail in Irish Times poll…

Here’s the real reason Martin is running in the race for the Aras. Given Labour, FF and SF are so bunched, the lead is probably more psychological than real, but…

When people were asked who they would vote for if a general election were to be held tomorrow, the figures for party support – when undecided voters are excluded – compared with the last Irish Times poll on July 20th were: Fine Gael, 35 per cent (down three points); Labour, 17 per cent (down one point); Fianna Fáil, 16 per cent (down two points); Sinn Féin, 18 per cent (up eight points); Green Party, 2 per cent (no change); and Independents/Others, 12 per cent (down two points).

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  • Henry94

    They are indeed bunched but who has the better prospects? FF are largely responsible for the mess and Labour are in government implementing the wrong policies.

    An interesting feature of the Sinn Fein vote is that they are doing much better with men. A lot of room for improvement with women voters.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sounds like the cue for a song Henry! Shame we have no reading on NI demography re gender spread.

  • keano10

    Thats pretty impressive for SF even at this juncture and such a large increase in proposed voting intentions would surely justify yhe decision to stand McGuinness in the Presidential race.

    Lets remember that Sinn Fein only gained 3 per cent extra in First Preference votes at The General Election, yet it resulted in an extra 9 seats in The Dail. So if they were to double their current vote, then the rise in seats would be highly significant.

    I also think that the old adage in relation to being transfer-friendly will also be gradually eroded in time. There were some signs of that in places like Meath and Cork etc last time around, where the transfer share was generous enough to ensure the election of several Sinn Fein candidates.

    It is only in the fullness of time that Sinn Feins strategic Decision to stand McGuinness can be properly evaluated. But there are at least some early encouraging signs that inroads are being made in to their potential first preference votes in future elections.

  • Nordie Northsider

    It is impressive, but don’t let’s forget that we’ve been here before (or thereabouts). Some polls showed SF on 15% in the immediate aftermath of Pearse Doherty being elected in Donegal SW. A lot of that faded away on election day. The fact that so many of SF’s support (younger, less well-off people) are unlikely to vote skews opinion polls considerably.

  • keano10

    Actually Nordie your analysis of the age group of SF voters is not accurate. The latest Red C Poll gives a concise breakdown for all the candidates and SF only attract 13 per cent of their potential votes within the 18-24 age bracket. By far the biggest age grouping for them is within the 35-44 age bracket where they attract 27 per cent of their potential voters.

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s the demographic that’s getting most hammered by the debt overhang Keano, and they WILL be motivated to vote. It’s also the group Pearse Doherty’s tone and analysis is connecting to most cleanly.

  • Thank STV for the essential irrelevance of whether or not SF is (briefly) second least-disliked political party.

    I’d posit that SF is the political equivalent of Marmite [You’ll either love it or hate it ™]. Once choices are that manichean, putting the product into a squeezy container doesn’t improve chances of second- and third-transfers.

  • keano10

    I guess that true Mick. The news in the past couple off days in relation to the worldwide economic situation and the potential longevity of the crisis also means that parties on the left in Ireland (and indeed elsewhere throughout Europe) are likely to make gains in the next few years. The exact scale of those gains remains to be seen of course.

  • Nordie Northsider

    Keano – looking at the Irish Times figures I can see that you’re right about the age profile getting better for SF. Even so, its strongest showing (24%) is among the 25-34 age group. To quote from the analysis: ‘It is weakest among the over 65s, where it attracts only 7 per cent.’

    And further: ‘In class terms, it barely registers among the best-off AB category but gets more than a quarter of the poorest DE category where it is now the biggest party.’

    It may well be that the worse the cuts become, the more these groups will be more motivated to vote. It’s far from certain, though.

  • “Shame we have no reading on NI demography re gender spread.”

    Mick, there are lots of gender statistics in the apparently not very reliable NILT surveys.

  • Mick Fealty


    How would you propose a coherent read across?

  • Drumlins Rock

    Maybe we should also look at this from the other angle? FF is now on 16%, formed in 1926 it got 26% & 35% in the two elections of 1927, and since then has always polled between 39 & 52%, being in power for 61 of the last 79 years! an amazing record. At the last last election it dropped to 17%, a 60% drop in their vote which left 24% of the electorate looking somewhere else to vote for the first time in their lives, despite being a fellow left leaning Republican party SF picked up a small proportion of that vote, however it is enough to make them a credible presence for the first time. Add to that their main left leaning rivals in Labour are in Government with a centre right party you have the perfect recipe for progress. And with there efficent party machine high profile & lack of real competition at present their only way is up, possibly to opposition next time, maybe eventually government. But that depends on where the 24% eventually rest, will FF revive itself ? or split with some joining SF, or will a new comer appear? no-one could predict the current position 5 yrs ago, so who can blame them for making hay while the sun shines. One thing to finish, despite the odd throwback SF is not the same party of 10 or 20 years ago, although for many reasons they will still be bottom of my voting list for a long time yet.

  • Drumlins Rock @ 3:20 pm has an excellent point.

    FF is a totally “toxic” brand for any foreseeable future. That vote is looking for a home. There is a seductive overlap with the other explicitly “republican” party.

    The thought I had earlier [@ 12:24 pm] was, in effect, why there hadn’t been more defections across that narrow line.

    The Irish Times editorial, accompanying this poll, seems a slightly desperate stretch:

    A striking aspect of the poll is that while satisfaction with the Government has dipped by only one point since last July, to 36 per cent, Sinn Féin has fashioned its remarkable advance, from 10 to 18 per cent of the popular vote, at the expense of all its major competitors. Fine Gael dropped by three points to 35 per cent; Fianna Fáil and the Labour Party each shed two points to 16 per cent and Independents gave up two points to 12 per cent.

    Yes, there is a definite increase in the SF support; so it must be coming from somewhere. On the other hand the poll’s +/- 3% confidence factor does not tell us from where. so “at the expense of all its major competitors” is tendentious.

    I’d go a bit further.

    There are two parties here, FF and SF, with a continuing image problem — I stand by the “Marmite” analogy. There is a substantial constituency, arguably even a majority, to be built out of that common interest. Such will be even more the case were the larger economic mess to derail our local economy again, with the FG/Labour coalition seen at the controls of the smoking wreckage.

    What would be needed then are a few “clean skins” and a good PR agency to coin a new party name and image.

  • PaulT

    Wonder how significant the geography is, if an area is lost, how easy is it to get back. Does SF creep in the South mirror the greening west of the Bann,

    SF has seen a steady creep across Ulster, into Connaught, and Leinster rural, FF are strongest in Munster and Leinster Rural, FG I think has a foothold in most places and Dublin, Labour seem to be Dublin and Leinster.

    Is rural Leinster the place to be doing polls to find the swings

  • FuturePhysicist

    Why should young people vote for their dole-masters?