Polls: Is Sinn Fein becoming a first stop for government disaffection?

It’s rare you get two polls out in Ireland on the same weekend. Since they both suggest slightly different dramas the net effect seems to have been each to cancel the other out. Let’s take the Sunday Times poll first, from Stephen O’Brien on Twitter, who’ve gone with the FF FG neck and neck narrative:

Gav Reilly of the Journal has this as the before adjustment figures:

[That’s a typo on Gav’s part, FF are 24, not 14] My own quick read (ie, I’ve not seen the details beyond these tweeted headline figures) is that SF may be playing a role in the fall in support for the government. On the face of it, those who are moving away from FG (as those who deserted Labour before them) may be using SF as a first default.

The rise in SF’s support almost matches FG’s losses.

The Red C poll is much less theatrical and confirms Labour’s time in the basement is becoming a feature:

Even as Willie Penrose comes back into the parliamentary party (there was never much down that he wouldn’t) the internal strife within Labour must be killing their poll rating.

Both polls show why there has to be something in the next election for Sinn Fein, even if a pattern is emerging in the longer run of former FF voters just passing through SF from FG on their way home, the party must calculate that a chunk should stick with them.

Fianna Fail will no doubt play down the B&A poll, but it suggests to me that FG’s vote is softening, and a big chunk of it could be theirs for the taking over the next two years. There’s a long way to go, and the least expression of entitlement on their part will send voters scurrying elsewhere.

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  • Henry94

    The current government will stand or fall on their ability to get a deal on the bank debt. They have bet the farm on that and if they don’t deliver they will sink like a stone.

    Sinn Fein must be ready to declare that they are ready to lead the next government and will seek to agree a program with all the non-FF/FG members elected to the next Dail including what is left of the Labour party.

    FF/FG are in complete agreement on the major issue facing us which is the bank debt. They will pay it. They only alternative worth having is one which will not pay. Let the people then decide and if FF and FG get a majority they should have no alternative but to govern together.

  • Alias

    “Sinn Fein must be ready to declare that they are ready to lead the next government…”

    And they should declare it on the 22th of February to mark the first anniversary of Frank Carson’s death. It’s the way they tell them…

  • Nordie Northsider

    Coming to this one a bit late. What surprises me about SF’s Border Poll campaign is that there are so many other things they could be doing to increase their support and effectiveness in the South. Only yesterday the Constitutional Convention voted to suggest giving the vote to 16 year olds. That would massively benefit SF and they should be backing it with as vocally as they can. But what are the headlines in relation to SF’s involvement in the Convention? An article criticising them for not sending anyone more high-powered than two Senators and an Assemblyman http://www.independent.ie/national-news/sinn-fein-accused-of-snubbing-new-constitution-body-3368195.html

    Ok, that’s the Indo, and Fionnán Sheahan is blind to the symbolism of having an elected member from the North take part. Even so…

    I remember talk about SF instigating a campaign to persuade unions to stop funding the Labour Party. I haven’t heard anything more about it since.

    It strikes me that are any number of opportunities for SF to further themselves as the anti-establishment choice. I’m not sure that they will take them.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sage advice NN. I’m not sure whether that is a problem that relates to the quick growth of the party or having a leadership that’s charged with running two different games in two very different territories.

  • GEF
  • Greenflag

    ‘Only yesterday the Constitutional Convention voted to suggest giving the vote to 16 year olds.’

    Utterly daft idea . When 30% to 40% of over 18’s don’t even bother to vote ? What exactly would be the point ? How about a ‘voting’ test which would be open to all regardless of age ? .Only those seriously interested in exercising this long fought for democratic right would bother to test most likely .

  • David Crookes

    Agreed, Greenflag. Anyone who wants to give children the vote needs to see a psychiatrist.

    Thanks for the link, GEF. Many of us will want to respect Mr Heaney’s opinion. But then many of us might have agreed with the commentators who said in 1923 that Hitler was finished.

    Henry94, if SF manage to push FF and FG into some kind of association, and the old Civil-War dividing-line ceases to divide, unionists should try to take advantage of what will be a major political realignment. The time for everyone in Ireland to move is the time when old concrete certainties are beginning to dissolve.

  • Interesting stuff Mick. Again, I am never ceased to be amazed by FF and their ability to bounce back. Is there any more numbers or thoughts on how the polls would translate into seats in certain constituencies or do you feel we should perhaps take these polls with some kind of health warning? ie. will FF be able to cobble together a few quotas in places or will they suffer the same fate as the LibDems with number of MPs not matching previous poll performances?

    As for SF on usurping Labor with the unions and other organisations, I really cannot see it happening though there could be some kind of faustian pact waiting there.