Many of you will already have seen these results over the weekend…
FG 27 (+3) (+6 since Dec), Lab 10 (+3) (+4 since Dec), FF 18 (=), SF 17 (-4) (-7 since Dec), Ind/Oth 28 (-2). [Ind 24, Grn 2, Ren 2], DK 13.
— Richard Colwell (@REDCMD) March 28, 2015
The key change here is in the confirmation that the last Red C Poll (for Paddy Power) was indeed indicating a rising fortune for both Labour and Fine Gael.
Now, Labour on ten percent is not going to get them much in any prospective election, but it is as much of a pyschological barrier going up as it was going down.
The real marker for Labour is to get sufficient seats in the next general election so as to be material to the composition of the next government. And on past form that may only three or four percentage points away now.
That they have been being consistently written off as playing any role in the next shake-out could play in their favour, especially post a budget in which the government looks set to undo some of its fiscal controls, and may have the means (as Stephen Kinsella notes) to buy the next election.
This should concern Sinn Fein more than other parties, since it is they more than anyone who have been ‘eating Labour alive’ in its heartland. Indeed, as Don’t Know voters appear to be coming off the fence, they seem to be ignoring both main opposition parties and plumping for government.
More worrying still for SF is that 7% downward trend over the last two Red C/Sunday Business Post polls.
I don’t think the matter is as simple as the damage caused by its odd stance on sexual abuse, but a combination of factors including its self presentation as the Irish Syriza, and its (almost unavoidable) espousal of the austerity agenda in Northern Ireland.
Fianna Fail remain utterly becalmed, and beset by a continuing loss of public voice. But its steadiness (and, ahead of generational change, lack of a credible rival to leader Micheal Martin) may prove to be a key underlying asset.
Polling has rarely shown FF above 21%, and yet its infrastructure appears capable of delivering significantly more. Less than a year ago it (quietly) became the largest party in local government.
Things are starting to get interesting again…
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