Red C Poll: Government parties ‘stabilise’ with Fianna Fail steady as she goes…

Here goes with the rest of that Paddy Power/Red C poll… Much of the reasoning of holding it or at least announcing it now is the legislating for the abortion issue. And there’s some interesting detail on that, but first the figures for the parties…

  • Fine Gael 29 per cent
  • Labour 13 per cent.
  • Fianna Fáil 21 per cent
  • Sinn Féin 16 per cent.
  • Independents, the Green Party and others 21 per cent.

It hasn’t shifted much from Behaviours and Attitudes results, just before Christmas. FF consolidating a rise in sentiment it got in the autumn at about the 20% mark. The same is true of SF and their reversal in fortune.

Adrian Kavanagh comes up with his usual projections on the figures and plays with outcomes extrapolated from these ratings. That’s the fun bit. But it’s worth quoting his analysis of Labour’s position, which I suspect will not get significantly beter between now and the next general election:

The main problem from Labour arises from the increased competition from Sinn Fein (despite the party’s declining poll figures in recent months) and other left-leaning groupings, as well as Fianna Fail. This also means that they will no longer, in some cases, be able to rely on vote transfers from lower placed left-leaning candidates to edge them into winning seats in tight contests as in a number of constituencies on these figures these left-leaning candidates will now find themselves ahead of the Labour candidates and it could well be Labour who is providing the transfers to edge Sinn Fein, United Left Alliance or left-wing independent candidates into taking seats in these constituencies. Labour will also be likely to face the problem (similar to the Green Party in 2011) of not being as transfer friendly as they were in 2011, which will probably cost them some seats at the next general election.

And by contrast, Fianna Fail:

The catch-all nature of Fianna Fail support, which proved a curse when support levels fell below the twenty percent mark at the 2011 General Election, now again proves a blessing as on a national support level of 21% the party would now be well placed to win a seat in most Dail constituencies (with the exception of some 3-seat and 4-seat Dublin constituencies, but even in these constituencies Fianna Fail would be well in the mix to challenge for the final seat) and even two seats in their stronger constituencies, including Micheal Martin’s Cork South-Central constituency. Clever candidate selection, helped by a strong 2014 local election performances for potential new general election candidates, could put Fianna Fail in a strong position to push for even further seat gains.

Of course, there’s a long way be that and this…

And the figures on legislating for abortion? A clear majority in favour of conservative action.. But the most conservative group is supporters of Fianna Fail…

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  • David Crookes

    Electors in the RoI who voted SF last time so as to show how much they disliked FF may well vote FF next time so as to show how much they dislike SF. It happens.

  • tuatha

    It seems to me that the governing (sic!) coalition of chancers has lost 11%, but FF has gained scarcely a third of that.
    The real winner is SF which is 60% higher than in the general election (though from a peak of 100% last May) and the independents (technical group – what sort of bloodless, dehumanising title is that, esp considering the plurality of votes they garnered) support has increased by a quarter to rival FF.
    There is tumult in Heaven and turmoil on Earth, the situation is excellent” – cod chinee proverb,

  • Mick Fealty

    I doubt it has much to do with that. The churn is small and complex. Big fight with SF is currently over C1s and C2s who left FF in 11 for Labour and who seem to be in flux.

    But the bigger battle for FF is in getting re-established in places where SF barely exist. Transfers are likely to be as important as first preferences.

    Labour at 13% is squarely in their pre Gale corridor of 10-14%. From SFs pov, it’s not the best news. But it’s three points above what Martin got and six above the #ge11 result.

    That suggests to me they’re still holding on to some defectors.

    It’s a text book handling of a recovery from FF. MM spent much of his first year travelling the country rebuilding a ragged party organisation. Kept quiet for much of that time knowing that the Irish public had made its decision and did not want to hear from them.

    In retrospect he was gifted the clearance of much old wood and his new crop has performed pretty well in parliament and the media. The focus has been on being credible, and honing in on proposing alternative forms of legislation rather than picking big fights he knows it will come out second best in.

    And, lest we forget, he chucked Bertie out.

  • forthman

    Why don’t FF and FG just unite and be done with the sham fight? Then again, its the maintenance of this sham fight which has given them a monopoly for 80 odd years.

    SF will be reasonably satisfied with this poll. A snap election tomorrow, on these poll results, would see SF on 23-25 seats. That would not have been for seen after the 2007 election.

    FF are just getting a section of their right-wing vote returned to them from FG. MM for all his bluster and FF nua crap is still seen by most as being an important figure in the last disastrous regime.

    I would imagine that SF will be targeting left wing LAB voters more so than the conservative FF support.

  • Mick Fealty

    I hear that line coming out of the Dublin media… it would be terribly convenient for those who want a left right battle, but I cannot see it happening.

    FG is the last party on god’s earth FF can do a deal with… They have an extraordinary capacity to shift with the wind… (whereas FG tend to shift with the leader)…

    But I agree with your last… which is pretty much what i reckoned after the last election… The only thing that would really bother me is the momentum problem…

    That’s particularly a problem when trying to develop strength in areas where there’s not a SF tradition…

  • forthman

    I wouldn’t rule out an FF/FG coalition just yet. Remember the ‘not a cigarette paper between us on economic policies’ mantra, not so long ago. If it suits their similar vested interests to do a deal, they will.

    Quite a few of the old certainties have been blown away by the economic crisis. Despite a closed, hostile media in the south, left wing politics are slowly gaining traction, or at least toleration, even in the more conservative rural areas.

    The political map of Ireland north and south, will (hopefully) look very different in 10 years time than it does today.

  • Erasmus

    [i]I wouldn’t rule out an FF/FG coalition just yet.[/i}
    Here’s to the real end of civil war politics

  • I never cease to be amazed by FF and their capacity to stay alive, something that should be learned by the UUP and to a certain extent the SDLP.

    Some points:

    i) I suspect FF will pick up some centre Labour votes and some of that floating voter who gave FG a chance and are not too impressed with their performance so far.

    ii) Agree with Forthman, SF to target left leaning Labour votes, that’s where the pay off is for them. In the meantime, if SF is to become a real power in the South they will need to constantly work on detoxifying the brand, being seen as credible in the Dail and outside and work on their network of members, trying to bring in some more professional types and deal with the natural internal confrontation this will have with existing members of the revolutionary, street fighting variety.

    iii) The populace will give FG another go come the next elections but hammer Labour (rightly IMHO), FF to improve, SF to probably stay where it is and maybe a few more independents. FF back in govt 2 elections from now, who knows?