Sinn Fein rise 5% in Red C sets them up for a surge in southern Local Elections…

The secret of politics as it is in comedy, is timing. Just over a month before the local elections in the south, it is Sinn Fein who’ve made the decisive move upwards in the polls. Today’s Red C poll sees a substantive rise in Sinn Fein’s rating:

Fine Gael 26% (down 3%), Fianna Fail 22% (NC), Sinn Fein 21% (up 5%), Labour Party 9% (down 2%), Independents, Green Party and Others 22% (NC)

On the face of it all the anti government sentiment has rushed to SF and not FF. This despite the FF Ard Fheis on Sunday, and initially at least Fianna Fail having made the running on the various scandals around Minister Shatter.

On a quick read, this is a Fine Gael (and Labour) to Sinn Fein (bypassing FF) swap. Counterintuitive you might say. But this, I would guess is more of those caravaning former FFers looking for a home. And they are finally coming to SF.

Of course, a poll is not an election. And the Fianna Fail organisation is larger and more comprehensive that Sinn Fein’s. But no one should underestimate the platform widespread success in the locals means to whomever benefits from it.

That national realignment of politics that Declan Kearney talked about on Friday could be well underway by May.

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  • derrydave

    Encouraging sign for Sinn Fein no doubt – I would say that anything above 15-16% in the locals should be considered an excellent performance. Is this possibly a reaction to MLM’s very strong recent performance, including a very confident and popular showing on the Late late ?

    If Sinn Fein were actually to hit 20% plus in the locals, then I believe this would indeed be a game-changer – potentially exciting times ahead.

  • redstar2011

    Come on its only a poll

  • derrydave

    exactly why I said anything above 15-16% in the locals would be an excellent performance.

  • Charles_Gould

    Hope to see MLM as SF leader – she has good values.

  • Charles_Gould

    An excellent interview with Mary Lou here:

  • Brian Walker

    It’s worth looking at Adrian Kavanagh’s analysis including projections for the next Dail in the forum for the Political Studies of Ireland website. Presumably voting in local elections is more of a protest vote in the Republic as in England. But there is little comfort for Fine Gael , a stalled recovery for Fianna Fail, near decimation for Labour, and Sinn Fein apparently profiting all round. Quite an amazing stack of Others though. Would they gravitate to the main parties at the election?

    “My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fianna Fail 36, Fine Gael 49, Sinn Fein 33, Labour 8, Independents, Green Party and Others 32.

    Using a D’Hondt method ..
    FF 36 FG 53 LB 4 SF 36 GP 1 OTH 28
    Based on these seat estimates, a Fine Gael-Labour (combined seat level of 57 seats) would fall well short of the number of seats required to form a government (79 seats); while a potential Fianna Fail-Sinn Fein alliance (combined seat level of 69 seats) would come somewhat closer to this 79 seat target. To have a sufficient number of seats required to command a majority in Dail Eireann (79 seats in a 158 seat Dail, assuming a deputy from another party/grouping takes on the Ceann Comhairle role), a Fianna Fail-Sinn Fein (or Fine Gael-Labour) alliance would need the support of at least ten (twenty two) or more, TDs from the independent ranks or from another political grouping to be able to form a government. A Fine Gael and Sinn Fein pairing would have more than a sufficient number of seats (combined seat level of 82 seats) to command a majority in Dail Eireann, but such an alliance looks to be unlikely in the present political climate.

    Ultimately, based on these numbers a Fianna Fail-Fine Gael coalition government would be the only viable two-party coalition and such an alliance would command a very strong Dail majority (with a combined seat level of 85 seats).

    The reason why such two-party coalitions would appear to be difficult prospects could of course be attributed to yet another very strong showing (in support and seat estimates terms) for the different groupings associated with the Independent and Others grouping.

  • sherdy

    Congratulations Mick. I put the rise and rise of Sinn Fein down to your sterling efforts to discredit them.

    Evidence that the old dictum still applies: ‘Say anything you like about me as long as you spell my name right’.

  • redhugh78

    We live in interesting times.
    One thing is for certain, very shortly the media both North and South will go into all out attack against SF, of this I have no doubt, Bring it on.

  • Mick Fealty


    Sorry about the Yellow, but I have to do that otherwise people will start to think I have favourites when it comes to tolerating man playing. Next time it’s a Red.

    In an early press interviews with the Irish News I was asked a direct question about how much influence Slugger had over politics.

    I replied as honestly as I could saying that I didn’t think we had any more than the average journalist, which is not a lot.

    Our embedded elite in Northern Ireland has a particular upper hand over a shrinking (and too easily spun) press corps. As Pete’s FOI story illustrates, there is an aversion to public scrutiny that runs somewhat counter to the demands currently being made of the Dublin government.

    More generally STV PR ensures that most politics in Ireland north and south is largely a private affair between TDs and their electorates that most pol corrs have no reliable handle on.

    Slugger has never in all the last eleven and a half years made any previous claim to that order of knowledge either on the blogger or the commenter side.

    As for the figures, my analysis on southern polling has been pretty straight and pretty consistent. And certainly not party pro or anti. In this case (that’s the ‘ball’ remember), SF have had three peaks as high as twenty since the 2011 election with Red C.

    I’m calling this one as significant because: one, we are so close to the election; and two the party seem to be the clear beneficiaries of the Shatter crisis.

  • sherdy

    Mick, – Possibly you could help me understand:

    Your almost daily attacks on Gerry Adams are usually personal (man playing) – very seldom do you criticise his or SF policy.

    My riposte is a direct reaction to your attacks, nothing more. I would like to think if you singled out any politician from another party I would be similarly motivated.

  • Mick Fealty

    My archive of posts: Personal? Almost daily? That’s trolling. Goodbye!

  • USA

    Mick IMHO you got the Sherdy red card all wrong. Take a look at the replay, he definitely played the ball first. It was a fair tackle.

    Expressing my own view, I am weary of the Adams witch-hunt from whatever quarter. He’s certainly not perfect, but he is an architect of the peace we have. He has brought northern republicans into the middle ground, helped develop a national political strategy and under his leadership SF have gone from strength to strength.

  • Mick Fealty


    As for Adams, I’m not going to gainsay any of that. Except to say that in fact the southern success documented is based on consistency of message, strong positioning (the only ‘anti austerity party in the race) and the singular talents Mary Lou McDonald.

    I’ve no doubt that Adams as leader in the indestructable mould of a latter day Dev has much to do with that.

    But Adams, despite the abortive efforts of Sherdy to make it otherwise, is NOT the topic of this thread. Next time, the fuse with Sherdy will get a little shorter. I have no time, as you well know, for fair gamers.

  • USA

    Mick, thanks for the response.
    I would expect FF to be soundly beaten by SF in the North should FF ever stand in elections there.

  • When discussing the results of this poll or any political poll, we should remember Harold Wilson’s remark about a week being a long time in politics. I see that “Others” have a count of 22%; I’m assuming that mostly they are undecideds. Final day of election vote tally may depend largely on them, if they actually go out and vote.

  • Mick Fealty


    That’s phoney war stuff.

    The real and pressing issue is May and these southern locals. If SF make a decisive step forward, FF will need all hands to the southern deck for some time to come.

    I do believe they will stand in 2019, but that’s a stand alone European election which may only serve to settle an itch by that stage.

    In FF’s favour, each time there’s been a byelection they have performed above their poll rating. Some of the comment above is wise not to take 20% as a target figure.

    I agree 15/16 would be an important step forward. Just add that in that case we should watch the adjoining FF figure very carefully.

  • megatron

    Joe – others are infact independents and other small parties (socialist, green etc).

    Undecideds are a separate group which are hovering around 1/3 or so. SF’s core vote is in the 10-15% range. FG is in the 15-20% range.

    I do think that SF is being held back from a giant leap by a smaller local presence than other parties and these elections will give them the platform to address that.

    If they can get 15%+ at the locals I would say Gerry can lead them to 20% at 2016 election – Mary Lou to 25%.

  • Kensei

    I wouldn’t get excited. SF will score at the lower end of their polling range. They always do.

  • Nordie Northsider

    Brian makes a good point about the nature of the forthcoming elections. People might be more likely to give SF a vote in European and local elections which, rightly or wrongly, are seen as less high-stakes than a General Election. Remains to be seen if that would carry into a General Election but I suppose (1) an increase in council representation would give SF some good Dáil candidates and (2) improve their local networks. And if you vote for a party once.,..

  • Mick Fealty

    Yep. Yep. And Yep. It works in the opposite direction too NN. The 2009 locals were the real dynamite under FF’s base.

    The shift has already taken place, with everyone sitting uncomfortably close to each other in the polls in a way that would have been hard to imagine six or seven years ago.

    I take the point of the large pool of undecideds, and volatility is a potent factor these days. That’s rarely good news for incumbents (especially with populism on the rise across Europe)

    We have four almost equal sized blocks taking up 85% of those who say they’ve made up their minds.

    The elections should help crystallise matters a little.

  • Barnshee

    Looking forward to SF getting out of the back seat in the ROI — A spell at the wheel will open a lot of eyes –not least in SF

  • USA

    That’s phoney war stuff.

    The real and pressing issue is May and these southern locals. If SF make a decisive step forward, FF will need all hands to the southern deck for some time to come.

    I agree entirely.

  • Mick Fealty

    On the other hand, a little momentum in the south, and a low stakes EP election with a professional NI wide campaign fought on the record of the Assembly and you could be looking at an interesting scenario.

  • megatron

    “a little momentum in the south”

    There is the issue. For some reason the party is totally becalmed. Making no headway over the Shatter mess is unbelievable.

    If Martin doesnt get things moving soon he could very well gone in the autumn.

    Martin is giving the impression of progress (and strength) when he talks of competing in the north but it is a bit of a mirage I would say.

  • Charles_Gould

    When SF enters government in Dublin, it will have to be an “honest broker” regarding NI. This will create tensions within the party.

  • Mc Slaggart


    “When SF enters government in Dublin, it will have to be an “honest broker” regarding NI. ”


    Do you think the UK have in any way an Honest broker?

  • derrydave

    Lol Charles – what planet are you on ???

    If / When Sinn Fein enter government in the South, you can guarantee that they will immediately commission a white paper on the detail of what a united Ireland would potentially loook like and what the financial implications will be. In my view this will be the single biggest step forward towards unification of the country since the GFA. Will be a major game-changer – Then the discussion can begin in earnest !

  • Politico68

    As happy as I am to see these poll results – and I am indeed very happy – I just can’t see SF scoring that high on the day, maybe 15% possibly 17 on a good day. What’s for sure is that practically every corner of the country will have SF local reps, and the value of that going forward is immeasurable !