Fine Gael go into their Ard Fheis well ahead of a jostling political peloton…

Fascinating chart pulled together by World By Storm which lays out the poll patterns over the last year in the Republic. He notes two features… the rise of Sinn Fein and the dropping back of Fine Gael from their heights in the immediate aftermath of the election…

But for me what the longitudinal picture demonstrates more than anything else is that going into their first Ard Fheis as a government party in many years just how far out Fine Gael are from anyone else: courtesy, I suspect, of that wily old Limerick dog, Michael Noonan and the bright young bucks in the cabinet. That and, perhaps, a general collective surprise that Enda didn’t walk straight into too many walls in the first few months as Taoiseach…

And everyone else pretty steady and jostling for position in what looks like a peloton formation below in a band between 16 and 19% (ie within the general margin of error of each of other)…

You have to be impressed with the new crop of young Shinners… But that bunch is tight, and there has not been much movement in the polls since September… The next event for Fianna Fail will the publication of the Mahon Tribunal, but the real political test is likely to be the Referendum on the fiscal compact…

There are still for years to go and this is most definitely a long distance race…

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