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…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty