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.
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