RedC on Sinn Féin: “The greatest declines are seen among younger voters…”

Following on from Mick’s post, it’s worth highlighting an interesting detail from, Managing Director of RedC, Richard Colwell’s analysis of the poll.

Back in December we were recording the highest levels of support seen for Sinn Fein in any RED C poll, reaching a high of 24% of the first preference vote. In today’s poll they secured just 16%, the worst level seen for the party since February 2014. That means that in effect the party has lost 8% support over the first 9 months of the year.

Over that period the loss in support hasn’t been a steady decline, with drops in January and March following scandals that were soon reversed to some extent in the months afterwards. The problem is that the gains haven’t been as strong as the losses, and so one scandal after another has seen a gradual seepage of voters away from the party at almost 1% a month for the past nine months.

The greatest declines are seen among younger voters, who of course are somewhat more flighty in their vote intention behaviour. In December last year almost a third of 18-34 year old voters claimed they were supporting Sinn Fein, but this has fallen to just over 1 in 5 (20%) voters now. A large chunk of these young voters have returned to Labour, while others claim they will vote for a variety of smaller parties. [added emphasis]

The Labour shift is interesting, as it is also apparent that far less past Labour voters in general suggest they will now vote Sinn Fein, and offers the possibility that Labour could profit even more in the longer term from a further Sinn Fein decline in support.

For Sinn Fein the issues in the North in recent weeks appear to have done them no favours with voters, with declines in support occurring despite another high profile Anti-Water tax March in the past week, at which party figures were prominent. The gains they have made during the mid-term have been built on their support for the disenfranchised voters who feel let down by the government. In order to re-gain lost ground, they therefore need to move to settle matters in the North quickly, and so re-focus voters’ attention on the local issues they are fighting for on their behalf.

The question then is if this re-focus will be enough to regain voters, with the backdrop of an increasingly positive economic outlook, and an electorate who broadly believe that the country is currently on the right track.

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  • Megatron

    I look forward to the 1 april posting on slugger with the simple “SF doing well” heading.

  • Ulick

    Slugger O’Toole, playing the same broken record since 2001. Sinn Féin are doomed. Doomed I tells ya!

  • Robin Keogh

    The 24% reached last winter was regarded by many Shinners – especially those who follow polling closely – as a rogue poll. While it would be incredible to reach those dizzying heights of popularity, the feeling has always been that somewhere around the 18 % mark is more realistic. Spin it whatever which way but Labour are heading for a thrashing, thats one thing we can all be sure of.

  • Robin Keogh

    I have been canvassing for the last six weeks. Not one voter, not one ! has mentioned IRA, Army Council, Stormont impasse etc etc. There is a feeling on Slugger and in other quarters who equally comment innacurately on SF that if the party do badly in the upcoming election that we might somehow vanish. How wrong they are 😉

  • Zeno

    LOL, like you’re gonna quiz a shinner about the IRA Army Council. That sort of thing could get you shot.

  • WindowLean

    Pete seems to have missed part of his own added emphasis
    “(younger voters)…who of course are somewhat more flighty in their vote intention behaviour.”

  • Thomas Barber

    Shot by who Zeno. If you could just point to even one person who has asked awkward questions of any Sinn Fein representative about the Army Council and was later shot.

    Im sure you must have lots of evidence to support your assumption, was this man shot ?

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/28/irish-dissident-groups-thwarted-surveillance-hunger-striker-hodgins

  • Robin Keogh

    Nice one Zeno. I dont see what you find funny about shooting people but maybe its a giggle in the playground of your sectarian mind.

  • Zeno

    “Back in December we were recording the highest levels of support seen for Sinn Fein in any RED C poll, reaching a high of 24% of the first preference vote. In today’s poll they secured just 16%, the worst level seen for the party since February 2014. That means that in effect the party has lost 8% support over the first 9 months of the year.”

    8 percentage points, but that is 33% of their support according to these 2 polls. No need to comment it has already been explained that the 24% was a “rogue” poll.

  • Zeno

    BALL Robin.

  • Robin Keogh

    Right Back at You little man

  • Zeno

    It was a flippant remark Thomas. It has been a long time since the IRA shot anyone who disagreed with them or posed a threat to their domination. But people have been murdered in the past by them.

  • Robin Keogh

    For some accuracy is optional

  • Zeno

    I don’t want you to leave us again Robin, so I’ll leave it.

  • Robin Keogh

    Thank God for small mercies

  • mac tire

    And yet it seems to need mentioning (again)!
    Sinn Féin results in recent Dáil elections:

    2002: 5 seats
    2007: 4 seats
    2011: 10 seats
    2016 (projections on this poll): 22 seats

    Indeed, no need to comment.

  • Jack Stone

    Wow, I was wrong. That is very interesting. I guess a strong portion of their younger vote depends on the voting habits of the disenfranchised voter. It is interesting to see if those younger voters who have moved to the Independents and smaller parties will still place Sinn Fein high in their preferences. With such a high percentage of people polling for the independents, transfers will matter more than ever. In the past Sinn Fein was transfer-phobic but the Carlow Kilkenny by-election showed that Sinn Fein benefited much more than it ever has.

  • chrisjones2

    Perhaps the young voters are growing up and have learned that there is no Santa?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Here’s a possibility, maybe these young people have returned to not caring and we should grit our teeth and bite our tongues to thank Sinn Féin for giving these people some belief that their vote mattered.

    Just a thought.

  • chrisjones2

    “Not one voter, not one ! has mentioned IRA, Army Council, Stormont impasse etc et”

    ….all politics is local

    …. well, Robin, they wouldn’t dare would they

  • Kevin Breslin

    Maybe, They can vote for Satan.

  • chrisjones2

    Well Eamonn Collins did pose some interesting questions for them when interviewed on TV. Now can you remind me how many times did they stab him? I seem to recall it was over 20.

    Indeed Wikipedia reports that the Sinn Féin chairman of the local Newry district council, Brendan Curran, a one-time PIRA volunteer, stated

    “As far as I am concerned, Eamon Collins was a dead man walking. I am not sad at his death. He will not be missed. I have no feelings for Eamon Collins.”

    Which will be a strong encouragement to anyone wanting to ask akward questions

  • chrisjones2

    No …sinmce Denis Donaldson they just stabbed them or beat them to death …until McGuiigan that is

  • Robin Keogh

    Fianna Fail has taken over the transfer toxic baton

  • James7e

    Most people grow out of the unreasoning, obnoxious anarchist stage by the late teens.

  • Thomas Barber

    You actually have proof members of Sinn Fein or the IRA murdered Eamonn Collins.

    So what if Brendan Curran has nothing nice to say about Eamonn Collins that doesn’t make Sinn Fein or the IRA responsible for the murder. Perhaps you could point me to where in the Wiki article you used as a source does it state that the IRA or indeed Sinn Fein were responsible for his death.

  • Zeno

    There is evidence that members of SF and the IRA were involved in the murder of Robert Mc Cartney.

  • Gingray

    Pete
    Could you not have just posted this on Micks piece. I’m not saying you are deliberately posting misinformation but it’s odd that you do.

    “In today’s poll they secured just 16%, the worst level seen for the party since February 2014.”

    Ah no. Last month the same firm for the same newspaper had the same results for Sinn Fein.

    http://m.rte.ie/news/2015/0912/727437-opinion-poll/

    Obviously you didn’t blog about it then, but like the buffoons running with the story about an anti democratic Portuguese president, your claims are based on dubious information.

  • Zeno

    No one is disputing that Mac. Off course SF are growing. There is no argument on that. Has the growth stopped like it has in the North? Or will it continue when an election comes?

  • mac tire

    I honestly don’t know – it would be a guessing game.
    “Has the growth stopped like it has in the North?” Well, Zeno, if they get, say, those projected 22 seats based on that poll then you could say their growth has not stopped.
    All the parties have gone up and down in these polls and if SF average out at 16-18% then they will look at that as progress based on more votes and hence more seats.
    I just don’t think there is anything to be gained by saying “Ah, such a poll had them at such a percentage a few months ago but now they are at this percent now” when even that lower percentage may still show plenty of progress.
    Granted, that progress may be less than SF would ideally like.

  • Gingray

    Zeno

    You have been told this was wrong, why do you keep reporting it.

    “In today’s poll they secured just 16%, the worst level seen for the party since February 2014.”

    Ah no. Last month the same firm for the same newspaper had the same results for Sinn Fein.

    There is a bit of conical Ali in you – I imagine if Sinn Fein double their Dáil representation you will be describing it as a failure as 4 polls in 2014 had them at 24%.

  • Gingray

    But of course! The British government would get one of their agents to do it, they seem to run the show. Taxes well spent says zeno

  • Reader

    Gingray: Last month the same firm for the same newspaper had the same results for Sinn Fein.
    So 16% *is* the worst result since Feb 2014, right?

  • chrisjones2

    No…of course the IRA never murdered anyone did they

    Do grow up. Your desperation to defend the indefensible is showing

  • chrisjones2

    maybe these young people have returned to caring

  • Gingray

    Completely accurate! But in terms of Red C reporting on the latest poll it’s inaccurate, and being used to set a narrative of Sinn Fein drop when the reality is a current stabilisation after a drop that looks like it reached its nadir in the summer.

  • whatif1984true

    Seriously you mean they wouldn’t just disappear?

  • whatif1984true

    Motive is always a good line of inquiry.

  • chrisjones2

    Only the dyslexic ones!!!

  • gendjinn
  • James7e

    Oh really, are their representatives involved in criminality now, too?

  • Robin Keogh

    Quite a few of them have been accused of financial criminality and their founding father was an IRA Godfather along with dozens of their founding members.

  • Thomas Barber

    So you have no proof then other than your own biased assumption..

  • Thomas Barber

    I have a carton of milk in my fridge does that mean I have a cow in my yard ?

  • James7e

    Well, I’m glad we agree on IRA being, essentially, criminality. That will save time. Tell me: is their current leader also the, or one of the, current IRA godfathers,

  • Zeno

    Odd no one responded to this. Are the IRA/SF supporters not going to argue it’s not true.

  • Gingray

    Ah replying to your own posts 😉

    Keyboard warrior

  • Robin Keogh

    I dunno mate, maybe you should ask him?

  • Jack Stone

    It won’t just be first preferences that will herald their growth (which a poll records) but second and third preferences might greatly help Sinn Fein in a way that has been unseen in Sinn Fein’s the south. If an election shows a thawing of it’s previous transfer problems, then it would show a significant potential growth as well as the actual growth which they gain in a single election.

    I would also point out that Sinn Fein’s voter growth has not stopped in Northern Ireland but Unionist turnout increased to a greater rate and Unionist unity candidates (which may be a thing of the past) and not an actual decrease in Sinn Fein votes.

  • James7e

    Why would I ask him? I haven’t claimed, as you have, that either he or his party are ‘toxic’.

  • Robin Keogh

    U asked the question

  • James7e

    You implied that they were on a par with Sinn Fein in terms of criminality and racketeering. I merely expressed my doubt that such could be true.

  • Robin Keogh

    I did no such thing. I never mentioned Sinn Fein. U posed the question, i merely suggested a source that might be of help

  • James7e

    And they’d better not, either. If they know what’s good for them.

  • James7e

    Not necessarily. But it strongly indicates that there is a cow in someone’s back yard. Maybe more than one.

  • whatif1984true

    ‘a good line of inquiry’ NOT the sole line of inquiry for example you may live on a boat and the cow may have died of exhaustion swimming.