At the weekend, Fiach Kelly of the Irish Indo, noted that in the two weekend polls at the weekend, there was only one mover in one (RED C)…
Fianna Fail is down from 26pc to 22pc, while Fine Gael is up from 26pc to 28pc, and back on top after a period when they were neck and neck.
There were no changes in the ratings for Sinn Fein (17pc), Labour (12pc) or Independents (21pc).
The poll by Red C for the ‘Sunday Business Post’ was conducted among 1,000 voters last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday when the Anglo Tapes had just been published by the Irish Independent.
In Richard Colwell’s commentary he notes:
Fianna Fail losses have also led to gains for Fine Gael, whose support rises by 2%, to leave the party securing 28% of the vote. As a result the gap between the two parties has increased from level share to a 6% share gap.
Colwell emphasises the ill-effects of bad media coverage for Fianna Fail, several hits on their chair of the Public Accounts Committee, and latterly the Anglo tapes which the Taoiseach wasted no time exploiting. Colwell again:
Biggest falls in support come among women, and those possibly most likely to have mortgages in the 35-54 year old age groups. At the same time, support among those in older 55+ age groups remains the same as it was a month ago, suggesting the reminder of the past by the release of the Anglo tapes makes no difference to their support.
The Behaviour and Attitude data (taken by phone, but over a longer period mostly before the Anglotapes) point to something similar in this older demographic (who are nowhere near as traumatised by the banking crisis):
Government satisfaction levels have dropped just one percentage point, it is interesting to note that this decline is considerably more pronounced amongst those aged 55 years+ (from 31% down to 24%), rural dwellers (down four points to 22%), and Fine Gael supporters (down eleven points from 67% to 56%).
It demonstrates that they are not out of the woods by a long way yet. It also suggests they have made steady ground in the rural, older FG vote (the first returners), whilst faltering (again) amongst younger voters – ie the most debt burdened – women and those in urban areas.
The Anglotapes were a toxic blast from a Fianna Fail past they perhaps had begun to think was behind them. For them the challenge is to convince those most badly burnt by the debt burden of the banking crisis.
FG in particular will hope that their administration’s small string of modest ‘victories’ in Europe will be enough to nurse any waverers back to them, and then pray for some kind of damascene conversion in Brussels to take effect in time for the next election.
If that election were held tomorrow, even with Labour still in tow, Fine Gael would not command a majority in the house. And nor, for that matter, would anybody else.
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