Just a quick one, the Irish Times poll figures have some interesting if minor changes in the party fortunes in the south…
…when undecided voters are excluded – compared with the last Irish Times poll was: Fine Gael, 25 per cent (down five points); Labour, 8 per cent (down one point); Fianna Fáil, 25 per cent (up three points); Sinn Féin, 21 per cent (no change); and Independents/Others, 21 per cent (up three points). The core vote for the parties compared with the last poll was: Fine Gael, 18 per cent (down two points); Labour, 5 per cent (down one); Fianna Fáil, 18 per cent (up three); Sinn Féin, 15 per cent (up one); Independents/Others, 15 per cent (up three) and undecided voters, 29 per cent (down four).
Note how the second set of figures show the 30% undecided. That could be where the bonus prize money is. Overall confirmation of SF’s strong position (x2 the #GE11 showing) and FF activists will be heartened to see that magic 25% (= their 2009 result) showing again.
But none of these figures are that dissimilar to what the polls have been showing over the last 2 or 3 months. Indeed, perhaps longer… Have a look at this polling figure from June last year for instance…
Fine Gael is the biggest party in Dublin, where it gets 26 per cent. By contrast, it is on just 20 per cent in the rest of Leinster and 24 per cent in Munster.
It does better in Connacht- Ulster, the home base of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, were it gets 32 per cent, but it has now fallen behind Fianna Fáil in the region where it did so well in the last election.
In class terms Fine Gael does best among the best-off AB voters, where it gets 37 per cent. The party gets a healthy 30 per cent among lower middle-class C1 voters, while it is on 25 per cent among skilled working-class C2 voters.
Where the party does really badly is among the poorest DE voters, but it is still on a healthy 33 per cent among farmers.
In age terms there is no great variation in support except for the 60- to 64-year-old category, where it drops to 21 per cent.
And Fianna Fáil…
The party is on 33 per cent in Connacht-Ulster, 29 per cent in Munster, and 27 per cent in the rest of Leinster.
What will worry Fianna Fáil, however, is that it is only on 14 per cent in Dublin. It will need to do better than that to have any chance of winning a seat in the capital in the European elections next month.
In class terms the party is well behind Fine Gael among middle-class voters, winning 19 per cent in the AB and C1 social category. It does considerably better among C2 voters, where it is on 27 per cent, and gets most support among DE voters, where it is on 32 per cent. The party gets 25 per cent among farmers.
In age terms Fianna Fáil does best among the over-65s and among the youngest 18- to 24-year-old category.
In regional terms the party is second to Fine Gael in Dublin, where it gets 20 per cent. Its best region is the rest of Leinster, where it is on 25 per cent, followed by Connacht-Ulster on 20 per cent, and Munster on 18 per cent.
There is a wide variation in class support from 12 per cent among AB voters to 29 per cent among the DE category.
There is not a big variation in support across the age groups, but the party is significantly more attractive to men than women.
Satisfaction with the leadership of Gerry Adams has increased, and this is helped by the fact that the overwhelming majority of 86 per cent of Sinn Féin supporters believe he is doing a good job.
…particularly strong in Dublin, where the figure goes up to 28 per cent, followed by Munster at 22 per cent, the rest of Leinster at 20 per cent, down to 11 per cent in Connacht-Ulster.
A breakdown of the vote for Independent/Others does not provide a clear indication of any ideological trend. Support for the group is highest among the best-off AB and C1 voters and weakest in the poorest DE category.
Dublin is the best region for the party, where it is on 11 per cent, but it will also need to do better than that if it is to elect an MEP in the capital.
There is no great variation across the age groups, although the 50- to 64-year-olds are its best category, and there is very little variation in terms of class.
The party’s difficulties in getting credit for the achievements of the Government is illustrated by the fact that 49 per cent of Labour voters are dissatisfied with the Coalition’s performance, compared to 46 per cent who are satisfied.
Eamon Gilmore’s satisfaction rating is still the lowest of all leaders at 20 per cent, and this is not helped by the fact that only 40 per cent of his own party’s supporters are satisfied with his performance, compared to 34 per cent who are dissatisfied.
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