So, via Cedar Lounge, here’s the latest from Millward Brown poll for the Sindo…
Labour 9% -2%
Fine Gael 25% +1%
Fianna Fail 29% +6%
Sinn Fein 20% -1%
Others 17% -5%
Don’t know -32%
Millward Brown have polled less regularly and less frequently than other companies. To some extent this poll merely confirms Fianna Fail’s recent rise in rival polls at the direct expense of Fine Gael. But it is also the most convincing sign that its ‘domestic vote’ is coming home.
This should make the Meath East by election even more interesting than it was before. Although Fine Gael have some important local factors in their favour, not least the choice of candidate, both main opposition parties should do well.
As with other recent polls the ‘don’t know’ figure is substantially higher than that for any single party. This higher level of uncertainty comes with a perceptible reversal in the fortunes of the independents.
Ming Flanagan’s driving points scandal will not have helped, nor the slow unravelling of the ULA. But there’s no apparent sign of movement to Sinn Fein. Rather the movement seems to be from independent to ‘don’t know’, or even Fianna Fail.
Sinn Fein is steady as she goes. Stablising at twice the last general election rate and seven points higher than when they ran Martin McGuinness is a sound position.
Polling at twice the rate of Labour is, in theory, a replacement figure. But if you put Labour’s 9% and SF’s 20% it is evident that SF is not just pulling sentiment from disgruntled lefties.
Adrian Kavanagh’s seat predictions have Labour on just two seats outside Dublin. He’s giving SF two seats in several constituencies including Cavan Monaghan and a third seat in Gerry Adams’ Louth.
So where SF are already strong (largely around the border), they are taking sentiment from both of the older Republican parties. That’s not the case elsewhere. Next year’s local council elections will be the first real test of the opposition’s progress.
In 2009 Fine Gael took 34.7% of the local government vote, with Fianna Fail taking 25% and Labour 14.2%. Sinn Fein took just 7.8%.
Even accounting for a higher profile in the less likely to vote D and E categories, Sinn Fein is currently on track for a council seat bonanza. But the momentum is with Fianna Fail. 29% is four points better than its 2009 performance, and there’s still over a year to go.