Gallagher surges to the front in #Aras11…

The Red C poll in tomorrow’s Sunday Business Post has some interesting news:

Séan Gallagher jumped 18 points since the last Red C poll nine days ago, and is leading on 39%.

The Red C poll shows Michael D Higgins is in second place with 27%.

Martin McGuinness is down three points to 13%.

Gay Mitchell is down two points to 8%.

David Norris is down seven to 7%.

Mary Davis has lost five points to 4%.

Dana Rosemary Scallon is down three points to 2%.

It was enough to freak someone at McGuinness campaign tweetquarters (the current rating has the Sinn Fein man only just retaining his deposit)… But given the speed of this lead, I’d be wary of interpreting anything too deeply political..

The real drivers for Gallagher are plausibility, visibility and the desperation to find a winner… Micheal Martin will not be too upset about the optics of an FF man leading the field… But given he has so few current assets in the field (ie the electorate), anything is better than nothing…

The one person who will not be happy is the former front runner…  Michael D Higgins… It remains to be seen if he can pull out a sprint finish…

  • Alias

    It looks like Gallagher is soaking up all the ‘protest/floating’ vote that the Shinners had their beady eyes on. He jumped 10 points in the last poll and 18 points in this poll.

    He’ll either jump again next week or fall back depending on whether he is still seen as a successful entrepreneur or, according to the alternate proposition, a failed businessman with his eye on a well-paid job.

    Michael D Higgins has performed poorly in an election that was his for the taking. He is quite animated in real life but comes across as a cheap doll with stiff joints in this campaign. Someone should tell him that you don’t have to look deceased to look presidential…

  • Nunoftheabove

    Was this poll taken after Gallagher fluffed his lines on the O’Callaghan debate the other evening or beforehand ?

  • Mick Fealty

    Before. I think. ‘Quantum’ will have the two leading positions reversed in the Sindo (the one thing that’s the same is the position of Dana, in the basement at 2%).

    The only thing we can take from this is that Michael D is no shoo in, the audience is volatile as hell and Martin’s still struggling to find a decent purchase with southern audiences (and not just because no journalist will ask him about anything other than his hidden IRA past).

  • Henry94

    It was taken before the debate but I wouldn’t hold out too much hope of it making a difference. This is an incredible surge for Gallagher. If he is connecting that well with people then it will hardly stop in its tracks.

  • sdelaneys

    Mick, there are rumours that Quantum have Gallagher at 36 % and Michael D at 29% on to Dana at 2% which is very little difference if correct.

  • sdelaneys

    Excuse me Mick, just read the ‘rumours’ again and you are correct, reverse order. My stupid!

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s not what Frank FitzGibbon’s been tweeting… Higgins 36%, Gallagher 29%…

  • Mick Fealty

    Perhaps this not a sprinters race after all…

  • sdelaneys

    perhaps there are two sprinters, Saw Gallagher skipping on RTE 9 pm news and he can sure skip for what that is worth.

  • Framer

    Gallagher would be the first divorced Irish President.

  • Jimmy Sands

    After Coco self destructed the FF vote was bound to go there.

  • Alias

    Sean Gallagher is best placed out of all the candidates to capitalise on the public’s changing perception of the role of the office.

    The public know that the office is symbolic but – in a significant cultural contrast to our friends in Northern Ireland – they don’t like their politics to be symbolic. Symbolism, to practical Irish minds, costs them money and money is not to be wasted in these fiscally prudent times. So they would look at the office and think: do we really need it and can we even afford it?

    Sean Gallagher’s unique selling point comes into and gives him a lead advantage by promising to use the office to bring foreign investment to Ireland and to promote indigenous enterprise, so effectively he is promising to make the office self-financing for the Irish state by offering a potentially large ROI. That appeals hugely to practical minds in no mood to spend their tax money on an otherwise irrelevant office.

    His role on RTE’s Dragon’s Den has placed him firmly in the public’s mind as the candidate to give leadership to budding entrepreneurs. He also has a track record as an entrepreneur. However, that track record may not withstand closer scrutiny over the next week or so and the public may feel duped, so we’ll just have to wait and see there.

    In contrast, the efforts of McGuinness to pass himself off as a job-creator by claiming credit for FDI incentives offered by the British state wherein he is a devolved minister are simply pathetic. Also, a newspaper is going to publish next week the transcript of an interview given by McGuinness wherein he descibes those innocent civilians murdered by PIRA bombs in Derry as “nosey parkers” who shouldn’t have been there in the first place, so that will show that the only jobs he created were for undertakers and grave-diggers.

  • sdelaneys

    McGuinness should pray that he is not questioned on economics in general or job creation in particular. on the second the fact is the in the 6 counties unemployment is worse now than pre GFA and Martin’s grasp of economics doesn’t pass ringing that bell in NY. If all the people claiming incapacity and or DLA were added to the unemployment figures I wonder what they would be.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Might I suggest Gallagher is the “freshest” face on the list, and even if associated with the recent past he has the most modern look out of the bunch, and therefore is attracting the votes of those who want change, even if he is associated with FF. Not good polling for Marty, under 15% looks bad, but we shall see on the day.

  • FuturePhysicist

    13% is an improvement on Sinn Féin’s natural 10%… whether this 3% constitutes more to a personal vote than a ramp up due to a lower turnout because Fianna Fail is not in the contest, Fine Gael’s candidate is slipping, and to many the Presidency is a waste of effort is an open question, and it looks like he’ll still beat Gay Mitchell in the end, which may be good enough of a token scalp. Clearly as high a turnout is going to happen with this one.

    The big thing here is you look at the natural transfers and the Mitchell vote may be the crucial factor here, will they go Gallagher or Higgins way?

    I think Higgins is still the slight favourite but Gallagher to top the poll and run him very close.

  • Mick Fealty

    There is no natural 10% for SF. 10% was the previous high water mark. Anything over that is progress.

    You have to remember too, this the party’s kitchen sink (ripped from the wall and thrown into the ring at the last minute) campaign. Martin is the best they have, so this is about testing toplines, not pushing up the bottom line.

    It’s what they learn from this campaign that matters almost as much as how they do.

  • Chris Donnelly

    I still am not convinced of that ‘kitchen sink’ line.

    McGuinness was a safe candidate for Sinn Fein in the sense that his position as DFM was always going to have been strengthened by this campaign. Just look at how northern nationalist (and even some non-nationalist) sentiment has rallied around him since the announcement of his candidacy.

    In the south, the candidacy has led to a reappraisal of the revisionist line regarding the northern conflict peddled by the mainstream media, provoking the ire of many commentators not used to being challenged over what they believed to be old ground.

    The issue of northerners voting in subsequent Presidential elections has come to the surface ahead of constitutional discussions in the time ahead, whilst Sinn Fein has been able to further elbow its way into the political and electoral mainstream by the centrality of his involvement in this campaign.

    Barring a collapse of McGuinness’ vote to single digit figures, I can’t see how this ends up as anything other than a significant win:win for Sinn Fein in both political jurisdictions on the island (for what it’s worth, I see him ending up between 15-18%.)

  • FuturePhysicist

    McGuinness was a safe candidate for Sinn Fein in the sense that his position as DFM was always going to have been strengthened by this campaign.

    Rubbish, In my opinion John O’Dowd has made a better claim to take over. Robinson joked how Sinn Féin’s central core barely needed him up at Stormont.

    O’Dowd for DFM, McGuinness back to school … O’Dowd in for the next Presidency.


  • Henry94

    I wonder is the Sinn Fein strategy designed to let the hysteria punch itself out. Running Adams in Louth and then McGuinness for president has draw a lot of the poison. It has made their personal histories the issue. Generational change is not that far away and if for example Pierce Doherty ran for SF in seven years time there would be simply no issue.

    Generational change is coming on the partitionist side too and a lot of hatred will pass with it. By partitionist I mean the people centered around the Sunday Independent who refuse to accept northern nationalists as fully Irish.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Mick I would perhaps agree with you that they are basically throwing the kitchen sink here. Remember McGuinness counts himself as an independent perhaps to acknowledge the likes of Flannighan, McGrath, Healy Rae and Flemming.

    The goal to the presidency was to pick up Sinn Féin and a few independent voters … it’s doubtful that even those four would even canvass for him … appeal to Fianna Fail voters … Fianna Fail perhaps have released a hidden wrench in Gallagher and have outmanoeuvred nearly everyone from the sidelines… appeal to People before Profit voters … bound to Norris, Higgins, possibly Davis in that order… then perhaps go after the Labour vote … clearly held up well enough by Higgins.

    The big lesson this election may actually show, could be the most bizarre … thanks to many of the Presidential hopefuls turning themselves into toxic brands … Fianna Fail nua may actually be creditably electable now.

  • Nunoftheabove

    This poll was taken across Monday-Wednesday so takes no account of Gallagher’s line-fluffing on Wednesday night.

  • Nordie Northsider

    A bit of unintentional (?) comedy in the text of the Indo story:

    Elsewhere, Mr McGuinness’s membership of the IRA was identified as the most important issue to voters in the campaign, which would explain why his campaign has not ignited as he would have hoped.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Someone’s being a wet blanket.

  • Alias

    “Martin is the best they have, so this is about testing toplines, not pushing up the bottom line.”

    I don’t see the logic of that. FG would have their topline pegged at 8% if they also applied it. Unless that is FG’s topline then such a method is rather obviously worthless as a way of measuring party’s topline.

    Other arguments made is that it is a way increasing the Shinners profile in Ireland, and (b) that is a way of neutralising public scrutiny of the Shinners’ sectarian murder campaign. In regard to (a): they already have as high a profile as any political party, with the leaders duly participating in general election debates; and (b) assumes that public scrutiny of the Shinners’ sectarian murder campaign is something that occurs once only and then such criticism is no longer valid.

    All the above have the purpose of pretending that the Shinners ‘unity strategy’ of securing electoral success on both sides of the border hasn’t failed by failing to secure that success.

  • Alias

    Incidentally, there is unlikely to be another election where so many voters are floating. For example, According to Red C, only 15% of those who declared themselves FG supporters also declared that they intended to vote for the FG candidate and only 28% of those who declared themselves Labour supporters also declared that they intended to vote for the Labour candidate.

    If the Shinners can’t pick up votes in that unstable climate then it is fair to say that they remain as a toxic brand.

    In contrast, 70% of those who declared themselves Shinner supporters also declared that they intend to vote for the Shinner candidate, so it is a core rump of Shinner cultists who intend to vote for McGuinness and virtually no one else.

  • Alias

    To put it another way: the wheels have come off Mr Mandelson’s upright bicycle, leaving the supporters of the faceplanted McGuinness to try to spin his continuing forward motion (sans bicycle) as progress.

  • Mick Fealty

    Look, none of us know how this is going to work out in the end. But let’s be realistic.

    SF was never in this to win. They threw Martin in as a ringer to make an impact, and to get the party’s use of physical force retrospectively made respectable by demonstrating a mandate for the journey.

    But like Rory Best in the Irish front row, McGuinness may better on the field from the whistle than as a last minute sub, against the right opposition.

    McGuinness, as candidate, deserved a far better campaign. He’s by far the party’s most human asset in a Northern Irish context, but he’s been made to look slow footed in this campaign.

    I’m not saying he’s not handled some very stressful interviews well. He has. But why on earth was he sent out to talk to journos who know damned well (and more importantly in this context who’s editor also knows damned well) that he is being ‘economic with the truth’ when he insists the left the IRA in 74?

    It seems to me that what the party is looking for here is to forge a licence to evade honest inquiry. That’s not a useful political outcome, either for the party or the country.

    McGuinness has a right not answer to certain questions. He can do so and state his reasons. Though as some commenters here have noted, that may not be enough to the tap the more awkward customers off.

    At the heel of the hunt, SF have three problems.

    – They led with a northern voice and funnelled northern preoccupations which the southern population has little care for.

    – And the babe in arms, the Peace Process, has little of the moral purchase on members of the southern press that it clearly now has on the journalists in the north.

    – The party has no Aunt Sally in the south that provokes the animus of their audience anywhere near the equivalent of Unionists.

    I’ll reserve any final judgement until the actual result. But it seems clear that cracking the south will not be anywhere nearly as straightforward as Northern Ireland was.

  • Jimmy Sands

    He looks set to finish third. SF usually (not always) outperform their poll numbers and I suspect that will be the case here. I doubt he’ll be below 15 and 20 would not be out of the question. I agree there was never any realistic prospect of him winning, tacitly acknowledged by his decision to put his dayjob on hold. It’s not a bad result, but by the same token the absence of FF was an historic opportunity and this may represent the ceiling of SF’s electoral potential in its current form.

  • Alias

    “SF was never in this to win.”

    Was Sean Gallagher? Where do you think his vote came from? That was the floating vote that the Shinners were after. It didn’t just ‘magic’ itself out of thin air during the campaign but was there waiting for any candidate who could make a successful appeal to it. The Shinners tried and failed.

    “They threw Martin in as a ringer to make an impact, and to get the party’s use of physical force retrospectively made respectable by demonstrating a mandate for the journey.”

    Anyone would think that the issues thrown at McGuinness (support for violence, loyalty to the state, fitness for office, etc) haven’t been thrown at every other Shinner candidiate in the other elections they have participated in, but that is not the case. What is so special about McGuinness that is is assumed they’d never arise again if was entered as a candidate? Indeed, how can failing to get a mandate (which you claim they didn’t expect to get) enable retrospective validation by mandate? If the don’t get said mandate then their camapign is not validated.

    Incidentally, if they planned to make their sectarian murder campaign respectable by entering him then they failed abysmally there to.

    “McGuinness, as candidate, deserved a far better campaign. He’s by far the party’s most human asset in a Northern Irish context, but he’s been made to look slow footed in this campaign.”

    I don’t think anyone made him look unfit for the office except McGuinness himself. His dismissive reaction to Private Kelly’s son and his thuggish reaction to Miriam O’Callaghan offered glimpses of the real McGuinness that could not have been hidden by his party handlers.

    I think they assumed that RTE was ‘under control’ and wouldn’t ask any difficult questions because that organ of state propaganda has acted as a partisan in ‘the process’ thus far – with its northern editor actually being an physical partisan in said process and thereby blowing its former pretence of impartiality. They even had the former British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland arrogantly interfering in Irish politics to say that McGuinnes was good enough for office in Ireland because the British considered him fit for office in Northern Ireland.

    “It seems to me that what the party is looking for here is to forge a licence to evade honest inquiry. That’s not a useful political outcome, either for the party or the country.”

    I agree with that 100%. I think they’ve been conditioned by the British state’s control of the servile media in Northern Ireland to think that they can do things half-assed because that state will protect them in the interests of the process. They obviously expected that in Ireland too but RTE were wrong-footed by Private Kelly’s son and things started to get out of control from there notwithstanding Woodward’s protective intervention.

    It seems they think that adpoting a few trite official lines in reply to specific questions was all they needed to blag their way through the camapign, but as Private Kelly’s son showed, those lines backfire badly given a context that you can’t plan for. That’s why the family of a Garda murdered by the Shinners now want the 10 families of other Gardai who were murdered by them to confront McGuinness. There’s a lesson there for folks in NI about how to corner a…

  • jthree

    If the Irish people decide their best figurehead is a washed up FF-er who was actively campaigning for the party as late as February this year then I never want to hear another fucking peep about ‘burning the bondholders’ or ‘debt forgiveness.’

  • “the absence of FF was an historic opportunity”

    I think that was an important factor, Jimmy, as were the significant 2016 anniversary and the fairly mediocre calibres of the other candidates.

    Lots of folks seem to be quite vulnerable to a Martin charm offensive. How can they be so easily taken in?

    There’s been a great welcome in the Aras over the past few years for all manner of Loyalist and Republican ne’er-do-wells but apparently taking up residence is viewed in a different light. Those who organised such welcomes showed very little feeling or compassion for paramilitary victims; they also turned a blind eye to the ongoing nefarious activities of the paramilitaries in NI.

  • 241934 john brennan

    Mick: “And the babe in arms, the Peace Process, has little of the moral purchase on members of the southern press that it clearly now has on the journalists in the north.”

    And in the North, the 13 year-old ‘Peace Process babe’’ hasn’t yet started to crawl, never mind walk. There is, howeve, a sullen cease fire SF and DUP, which they call Peace. There are two co-equal leaders at Stormont, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuiness. However, on the most important issues, they don’t agree between themselves. So, together in double harness, but with each pulling in opposite directions, there is mostly standstill, with the goverment wagon going nowhere.

    MGM is currently taking six weeks paid leave from administering British Government budget cuts in the North, so that he can advance the SF cause, by campaigning against similar cuts in the South. No doubt, after this bizarre interlude, he will somersault back to the North and into his usual ‘Peter and I’ role.

    Meanwhile his temporary Northern substitute as Deputy First Minister, Sinn Fein’s education minister John O Dowd, proposes to close more than 200 ‘unviable’ (his word) rural primary schools in the North. In this case ‘Unviable’ means any school with less than 100 pupils. Of course the ongoing ‘education chaos’ in the North has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Sinn Fein has had charge of the education portfolio for the past 13 years!