After a financial crisis government majorities shrink, parliaments fragment…

So as David has noted there was another poll today. In fact there are no changes outside the margin of error from the last Irish Times Ipsos/MRBI poll in September. So I’m less inclined to follow his route one lead in my own analysis.

The numbers are as follows: Fine Gael (30 +2); Sinn Fein (21 +2); Fianna Fail (19 -1); Labour (7 -1); Independents/Others (23 -2). There’s also some shuffling in the ratings of leaders with Gerry Adams bouncing back and up four points.

It’s harder to read against quarterly trends than it is against Red C’s more frequent outputs, but the Irish Times have a time map where you can see the longer trends back to 2006:

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 13.31.23

I see two main relational lines. One, there seems to be a slight reversing of fortunes between Fine Gael and Independents in the former’s favour. This sort of lines up with my own sense that the divergence of the last election may see some reversal before polling day.

The other is between Labour and Fine Gael in the first place, and then latterly Labour and Sinn Fein. As Derek Mooney pointed out here in his last column Labour are getting double whammied at the moment.

According to this poll the main political peloton currently consists of independents, Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail. At the moment Fianna Fail’s only compensation here seems to be that their relative positions now reverse considerably when there is a sign of an election.

That is a trick of constituency based polls. Nationally, on a freer electoral vote, as in the EP elections, the SF vote and FF vote were more aligned with national polling. That’s also a testimony to quality of FF’s local depth. It’s the breadth of their national offering that’s lacking these days.

That and the fact the party has suffered a generational shock of historic proportions. Plummeting from 47% in June 2008 to 36% in November of that year only took the bank guarantee and everything that followed and was relatively easy. Reversing (ever) that is likely to prove impossible (for almost anyone).

It’s a pattern which is much broader than just Ireland. This paper from Manual Funke for the World Economic Forum notes

…governing becomes more difficult after financial crises. Government majorities shrink and parliaments tend to fragment and these effects have become stronger over time.

Following the post-1950 financial crises, government vote shares drop, while the opposition vote share increases. Parliaments become more fractionalised and the number of parties rises. All this is bad news for effective governance in the post-crisis period – at a time when decisive political action may be most needed.

As politics become more fragmented the trend is to lurch to the right rather than to the left (which in Ireland has never been strong and which was already fragmented).

The study also notes that the political consequences of financial crises tend to fade within a ten year window, although the increased number of political parties in national parliaments tends to remain at an increased level from the previous norms:

…the first five years are critical and most effects slowly taper out afterwards. A decade after the crisis hits, most political outcome variables are no longer significantly different from the historical mean.

This is true for far-right voting and also for government vote shares and the parliamentary fractionalisation measure. Only the increase in the number of parties in parliament appears to be persistent. The comforting news from our study is that the political upheaval in the wake of financial crises is mostly temporary.

This may explain Sinn Fein’s anxiety: one, not to be tarred with austerity by handing responsibility for Welfare Reform (on a programme they had themselves actually agreed on) back to Westminster; and two not to bring down the Stormont administration come what may.

Barring further global shocks (which are always a distinct possibility) the trend for the next five years is likely to be towards centre ground ‘respectability’ again. And that’s likely to be the base note for an increased SF representation after February/March.

Fianna Fail’s priority is rather different. In the short run is to get the ship safely back into the electoral harbour and replenish what is by its own standards, a skeleton crew.

If there is to life beyond this crisis for the party that was at the helm of SS Ireland when it hit the iceberg, it will need to begin the rebuild from there. As one prolific Cavan-based Tweeter put it…

Quite. But since no one in politics is yet getting that right (beyond the demagogic simplifiers) the solution is far from obvious for anyone even beginning to make a broad and sustainable offering without resorting to populist deception.

For a (former?) mainstream party like FF there can be no short cuts, not least given its recent history. As John Kellden has put it, they will require a return to a politics that…

…is no longer about economics writ large. The future need to be about a economics as if people and narratives – matter. It’s about a return to economics as skillful means.

As to David’s suggestion, I suspect there’s a preference within Fine Gael (and Sinn Fein) to try to simplify the landscape (and the debate) in order to muster some positive momentum away from independents and Fianna Fail.

In reality Fianna Fail (who outbid Sinn Fein by a full ten points in locals last year) will be much more difficult to put away conclusively.

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  • Gingray

    Mick

    Last month you posted the following blog:

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2015/10/26/red-c-sf-continues-to-slide-and-its-hard-to-see-a-credible-way-back-for-the-coalition/

    Your headline was SF continue to slide, with major focus on the ongoing decline in SF vote. As was pointed out at the time, this was incredibly misleading, as the SF vote recorded by RedC showed no change over the previous one.

    Strangely, nowhere in that blog do you even mention that the poll showed no change.

    “In fact there are no changes outside the margin of error from the last Irish Times Ipsos/MRBI poll in September. So I’m less inclined to follow his route one lead in my own analysis.”

    So basically if a poll (indeed a series of polls across multiple polling firms) show SF vote as stable, withno change, you report it as a continued decline, however when a poll (indeed all the most recent polls across multiple polling firms) shows SF increasing, it becomes margin of error stuff.

    Interesting.

    In this matter, your own analysis is deeply deeply flawed, as you attempt to use polling to fit your narrative, with little subjectivity.

    Adrian Kavanagh provides a much more objective, unbiased analysis, which may be of use:
    http://adriankavanaghelections.org/author/adriankavanagh/

  • Gingray

    Mick

    Last month you posted the following blog:

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2015/10/26/red-c-sf-continues-to-slide-and-its-hard-to-see-a-credible-way-back-for-the-coalition/

    Your headline was SF continue to slide, with major focus on the ongoing decline in SF vote. As was pointed out at the time, this was incredibly misleading, as the SF vote recorded by RedC showed no change over the previous one.

    Strangely, nowhere in that blog do you even mention that the poll showed no change.

    “In fact there are no changes outside the margin of error from the last Irish Times Ipsos/MRBI poll in September. So I’m less inclined to follow his route one lead in my own analysis.”

    So basically if a poll (indeed a series of polls across multiple polling firms) show SF vote as stable, withno change, you report it as a continued decline, however when a poll (indeed all the most recent polls across multiple polling firms) shows SF increasing, it becomes margin of error stuff.

    Interesting.

    In this matter, your own analysis is deeply deeply flawed, as you attempt to use polling to fit your narrative, with little subjectivity.

    Adrian Kavanagh provides a much more objective, unbiased analysis, which may be of use:
    http://adriankavanaghelections.org/author/adriankavanagh/

  • mickfealty

    See the reference in the first paragraph. Trends are more important than individual polls. I’m not getting into a comparison between two different polls here. So I am not biting. 😉

  • mickfealty

    See the reference in the first paragraph. Trends are more important than individual polls. I’m not getting into a comparison between two different polls here. So I am not biting. 😉

  • mickfealty

    See the reference in the first paragraph. Trends are more important than individual polls. I’m not getting into a comparison between two different polls here. So I am not biting. 😉

  • Gingray

    Mick, you are not following a trend at all, this month its margin of error for an increase, last month it was continued drops for no change. One is an individual poll, the other was factually inaccurate.

    As stated before, I am in full agreement, that the trend is what is important, no so much the actual one off figures.

    So for this month, a decent analysis will look at the November polls across the board and see a trend of FG and SF increases.

    Meanwhile last month, the trend was FG increase and SF no change.

  • Gingray

    Mick, you are not following a trend at all, this month its margin of error for an increase, last month it was continued drops for no change. One is an individual poll, the other was factually inaccurate.

    As stated before, I am in full agreement, that the trend is what is important, no so much the actual one off figures.

    So for this month, a decent analysis will look at the November polls across the board and see a trend of FG and SF increases.

    Meanwhile last month, the trend was FG increase and SF no change.

  • Gingray

    Mick, you are not following a trend at all, this month its margin of error for an increase, last month it was continued drops for no change. One is an individual poll, the other was factually inaccurate.

    As stated before, I am in full agreement, that the trend is what is important, no so much the actual one off figures.

    So for this month, a decent analysis will look at the November polls across the board and see a trend of FG and SF increases.

    Meanwhile last month, the trend was FG increase and SF no change.

  • mickfealty

    Like I told you, I’m not biting. And I am certainly not getting into extrapolating from one poll to another. Therein madness lies.

    Try hitting the back links in the polling tag to this time last year? http://goo.gl/GkXMLo.

  • mickfealty

    Like I told you, I’m not biting. And I am certainly not getting into extrapolating from one poll to another. Therein madness lies.

    Try hitting the back links in the polling tag to this time last year? http://goo.gl/GkXMLo.

  • mickfealty

    Like I told you, I’m not biting. And I am certainly not getting into extrapolating from one poll to another. Therein madness lies.

    Try hitting the back links in the polling tag to this time last year? http://goo.gl/GkXMLo.

  • mickfealty

    Like I told you, I’m not biting. And I am certainly not getting into extrapolating from one poll to another. Therein madness lies.

    Try hitting the back links in the polling tag to this time last year? http://goo.gl/GkXMLo.

  • mickfealty

    Like I told you, I’m not biting. And I am certainly not getting into extrapolating from one poll to another. Therein madness lies.

    Try hitting the back links in the polling tag to this time last year? http://goo.gl/GkXMLo.

  • Gingray

    Mick
    It’s very simple – you have twice now ignored trends to provide a non subjective analysis of the polling.
    It’s well worth commenting on.
    Polling can influence how people vote, and it’s annoying, but understandable that people misrepresent the findings to suit their own agenda.

    Factual polling trends for SF are slight increase after stagnation – however your reporting is SF drop followed by stagnation, which is inaccurate.

  • Gingray

    Mick
    It’s very simple – you have twice now ignored trends to provide a non subjective analysis of the polling.
    It’s well worth commenting on.
    Polling can influence how people vote, and it’s annoying, but understandable that people misrepresent the findings to suit their own agenda.

    Factual polling trends for SF are slight increase after stagnation – however your reporting is SF drop followed by stagnation, which is inaccurate.

  • Gingray

    Mick
    It’s very simple – you have twice now ignored trends to provide a non subjective analysis of the polling.
    It’s well worth commenting on.
    Polling can influence how people vote, and it’s annoying, but understandable that people misrepresent the findings to suit their own agenda.

    Factual polling trends for SF are slight increase after stagnation – however your reporting is SF drop followed by stagnation, which is inaccurate.

  • Gingray

    Mick
    It’s very simple – you have twice now ignored trends to provide a non subjective analysis of the polling.
    It’s well worth commenting on.
    Polling can influence how people vote, and it’s annoying, but understandable that people misrepresent the findings to suit their own agenda.

    Factual polling trends for SF are slight increase after stagnation – however your reporting is SF drop followed by stagnation, which is inaccurate.

  • Gingray

    Mick
    It’s very simple – you have twice now ignored trends to provide a non subjective analysis of the polling.
    It’s well worth commenting on.
    Polling can influence how people vote, and it’s annoying, but understandable that people misrepresent the findings to suit their own agenda.

    Factual polling trends for SF are slight increase after stagnation – however your reporting is SF drop followed by stagnation, which is inaccurate.

  • Gingray

    Mick
    It’s very simple – you have twice now ignored trends to provide a non subjective analysis of the polling.
    It’s well worth commenting on.
    Polling can influence how people vote, and it’s annoying, but understandable that people misrepresent the findings to suit their own agenda.

    Factual polling trends for SF are slight increase after stagnation – however your reporting is SF drop followed by stagnation, which is inaccurate.

  • Gingray

    Mick
    It’s very simple – you have twice now ignored trends to provide a non subjective analysis of the polling.
    It’s well worth commenting on.
    Polling can influence how people vote, and it’s annoying, but understandable that people misrepresent the findings to suit their own agenda.

    Factual polling trends for SF are slight increase after stagnation – however your reporting is SF drop followed by stagnation, which is inaccurate.

  • mickfealty

    Look, if you want to write the pieces for me then good luck with that. That’s not what we do here. Your last paragraph BTW, is pure bunkum. The significant changes are long range, and most have happened already.

    If there is anything that you want to challenge in what I’ve written I’m more than happy to eat humble pie. If your only objection is that I should have written a piece different to the one I have then there’s not a lot I can do or say about that.

  • mickfealty

    Look, if you want to write the pieces for me then good luck with that. That’s not what we do here. Your last paragraph BTW, is pure bunkum. The significant changes are long range, and most have happened already.

    If there is anything that you want to challenge in what I’ve written I’m more than happy to eat humble pie. If your only objection is that I should have written a piece different to the one I have then there’s not a lot I can do or say about that.

  • mickfealty

    Look, if you want to write the pieces for me then good luck with that. That’s not what we do here. Your last paragraph BTW, is pure bunkum. The significant changes are long range, and most have happened already.

    If there is anything that you want to challenge in what I’ve written I’m more than happy to eat humble pie. If your only objection is that I should have written a piece different to the one I have then there’s not a lot I can do or say about that.

  • mickfealty

    Look, if you want to write the pieces for me then good luck with that. That’s not what we do here. Your last paragraph BTW, is pure bunkum. The significant changes are long range, and most have happened already.

    If there is anything that you want to challenge in what I’ve written I’m more than happy to eat humble pie. If your only objection is that I should have written a piece different to the one I have then there’s not a lot I can do or say about that.

  • mickfealty

    Look, if you want to write the pieces for me then good luck with that. That’s not what we do here. Your last paragraph BTW, is pure bunkum. The significant changes are long range, and most have happened already.

    If there is anything that you want to challenge in what I’ve written I’m more than happy to eat humble pie. If your only objection is that I should have written a piece different to the one I have then there’s not a lot I can do or say about that.

  • mickfealty

    Look, if you want to write the pieces for me then good luck with that. That’s not what we do here. Your last paragraph BTW, is pure bunkum. The significant changes are long range, and most have happened already.

    If there is anything that you want to challenge in what I’ve written I’m more than happy to eat humble pie. If your only objection is that I should have written a piece different to the one I have then there’s not a lot I can do or say about that.

  • mickfealty

    Look, if you want to write the pieces for me then good luck with that. That’s not what we do here. Your last paragraph BTW, is pure bunkum. The significant changes are long range, and most have happened already.

    If there is anything that you want to challenge in what I’ve written I’m more than happy to eat humble pie. If your only objection is that I should have written a piece different to the one I have then there’s not a lot I can do or say about that.

  • Gingray

    I would love too, but Adrian Kavanagh already provides great subjective analysis.

    Challenge – yes, defo. Last month your title was: “RED C: SF continues to slide”

    You lead with the latest poll and the implication is that sf have dropped. Curiously not once do you mention that sf did not change, and even more curious it’s missing from the tweet when compared to previous poll.

    This month you want to look at one poll and disagree with David by saying it’s all margin of error.

    That’s wrong when you look at the trend across all polls.

    If you are going to do proper analysis of the polls, it’s easy to look across the board and see trends.

    In this instance, dismissing it as margin of error shows no appreciation for what’s going on, it looks purely like narrative pushing.

  • Gingray

    I would love too, but Adrian Kavanagh already provides great subjective analysis.

    Challenge – yes, defo. Last month your title was: “RED C: SF continues to slide”

    You lead with the latest poll and the implication is that sf have dropped. Curiously not once do you mention that sf did not change, and even more curious it’s missing from the tweet when compared to previous poll.

    This month you want to look at one poll and disagree with David by saying it’s all margin of error.

    That’s wrong when you look at the trend across all polls.

    If you are going to do proper analysis of the polls, it’s easy to look across the board and see trends.

    In this instance, dismissing it as margin of error shows no appreciation for what’s going on, it looks purely like narrative pushing.

  • Gingray

    I would love too, but Adrian Kavanagh already provides great subjective analysis.

    Challenge – yes, defo. Last month your title was: “RED C: SF continues to slide”

    You lead with the latest poll and the implication is that sf have dropped. Curiously not once do you mention that sf did not change, and even more curious it’s missing from the tweet when compared to previous poll.

    This month you want to look at one poll and disagree with David by saying it’s all margin of error.

    That’s wrong when you look at the trend across all polls.

    If you are going to do proper analysis of the polls, it’s easy to look across the board and see trends.

    In this instance, dismissing it as margin of error shows no appreciation for what’s going on, it looks purely like narrative pushing.

  • Gingray

    I would love too, but Adrian Kavanagh already provides great subjective analysis.

    Challenge – yes, defo. Last month your title was: “RED C: SF continues to slide”

    You lead with the latest poll and the implication is that sf have dropped. Curiously not once do you mention that sf did not change, and even more curious it’s missing from the tweet when compared to previous poll.

    This month you want to look at one poll and disagree with David by saying it’s all margin of error.

    That’s wrong when you look at the trend across all polls.

    If you are going to do proper analysis of the polls, it’s easy to look across the board and see trends.

    In this instance, dismissing it as margin of error shows no appreciation for what’s going on, it looks purely like narrative pushing.

  • Gingray

    I would love too, but Adrian Kavanagh already provides great subjective analysis.

    Challenge – yes, defo. Last month your title was: “RED C: SF continues to slide”

    You lead with the latest poll and the implication is that sf have dropped. Curiously not once do you mention that sf did not change, and even more curious it’s missing from the tweet when compared to previous poll.

    This month you want to look at one poll and disagree with David by saying it’s all margin of error.

    That’s wrong when you look at the trend across all polls.

    If you are going to do proper analysis of the polls, it’s easy to look across the board and see trends.

    In this instance, dismissing it as margin of error shows no appreciation for what’s going on, it looks purely like narrative pushing.

  • Gingray

    I would love too, but Adrian Kavanagh already provides great subjective analysis.

    Challenge – yes, defo. Last month your title was: “RED C: SF continues to slide”

    You lead with the latest poll and the implication is that sf have dropped. Curiously not once do you mention that sf did not change, and even more curious it’s missing from the tweet when compared to previous poll.

    This month you want to look at one poll and disagree with David by saying it’s all margin of error.

    That’s wrong when you look at the trend across all polls.

    If you are going to do proper analysis of the polls, it’s easy to look across the board and see trends.

    In this instance, dismissing it as margin of error shows no appreciation for what’s going on, it looks purely like narrative pushing.

  • Gingray

    I would love too, but Adrian Kavanagh already provides great subjective analysis.

    Challenge – yes, defo. Last month your title was: “RED C: SF continues to slide”

    You lead with the latest poll and the implication is that sf have dropped. Curiously not once do you mention that sf did not change, and even more curious it’s missing from the tweet when compared to previous poll.

    This month you want to look at one poll and disagree with David by saying it’s all margin of error.

    That’s wrong when you look at the trend across all polls.

    If you are going to do proper analysis of the polls, it’s easy to look across the board and see trends.

    In this instance, dismissing it as margin of error shows no appreciation for what’s going on, it looks purely like narrative pushing.

  • mickfealty

    I don’t read across polls which have markedly different methodologies and outcomes (especially when there are so few of them). That’s a slightly mad (and maddening) thing to do. As for the last piece I did on the matter that negative take on SF was predicated on the detailed analysis of the MD of Red C. That will maybe reverse out next time, or it maybe it was an outlier.

    I thought the figures you shared then suggested that the Shinners rates get deflated when there is an election or even talk of an election coming up. And there’s a reverse effect on Fianna Fail. As though people still don’t like them but feel there’s a residual pull towards them when it comes to putting someone responsible in government. I speculate wildly, of course.

    I also do read Adrian religiously, but I’ve tried here to take a much longer view than his methodology allows. I didn’t say I disagreed with David. I just said I wasn’t going down the same Route One he had chosen. I think the ‘political peloton’ is a fairly apt and accurate term when there is such a mix of small changes involved.

    The real question that will be exercising FF minds right now is how far ahead of that peloton can FG get by the time of the general election, because that’s what will make or break FF’s attempts at recovery. SF will be hovering in the background at that point hoping to pick up the bits and pieces.

  • Gingray

    Actually Mick, reading across polls is very common in terms of looking at trends – be it 538 in the states or UK polling report, it’s not even that difficult as they are laid out month by month on wiki.

    Ignoring a similar trend from multiple sources is madness – you wouldn’t do it in any other field.

    But what you are saying is that it’s sheer random luck that you have commented on polls supporting your narrative?

    In regards the red c polling – in no way is it clear you mean trend when the headline states sf drop and you lead with the recent poll (with no mention that sf vote did not change).

    I largely agree with the rest of what you say, I just think it’s poor form to keep cherry picking polls and ignoring the trends that the rest of us, be it simple old me or Adrian on his blog, are seeing.

  • mickfealty

    I’m intrigued. What ‘narrative’ is this? Don’t you think I should be told? On your other points, there’s sense in aggregating to a poll of polls, but it’s nuts to compare Red C with B&A directly.

    As for the rest, I’ve laid out some thinking on the polls (which is pretty uncontroversial) and quite a bit more way off the poll. What else is there to be done?

    If you are seriously having an argument with an abstract narrative and not examining (and criticising) my use of data, I’m going to let you have at it without further comment.

    For what it is worth, these are my sincere thoughts on a word that is more abused than used: https://goo.gl/VaSA9U.

  • Gingray

    On the narrative front – simples, as previously stated you have an anti sinn fein bias.

    So when it comes to polling, you manage to turn no change into a drop, and an increase into margin of error.

    Your use of data is incredibly poor, imagine in economics or military intelligence having multiple sources available but dismissing them all when they show a common trend.

    You have personally chosen to ignore November polling from 5 firms showing Sinn Fein gains, focusing on one to dismiss it as margin of error. Poor show

  • mickfealty

    You’re using a false standard to make the bias charge stick. BTW a bias is a not narrative (more on that later when I get a chance to do something on the whole matter of biases).

    The standard of completeness is red herring. I don’t do completeness on polling, ever. And I try not to miss out on real movement no matter who is the beneficiary.

    Have a look back through the last year: http://sluggerotoole.com/tag/polling/?

    Clearly you are mistaking me for another blogger.

  • Gingray

    You are completely right – bias and narrative are different things.

    But are you telling bias does not influence narrative? The most subjective analysis will minimise this, which can be found in the stuff Adrian produces.

    You are mostly good at it too, but for some reason recently around polling it’s slipped. Last months was bad, you took a poll that showed no change for Sf and a title that said different, and managed to go through the entire post without saying this anywhere.

    It’s blatantly misleading – reread it and tell me how someone could think that sf had not dropped in the poll figures you posted for red c in October – the sinn fein no change is excluded.

    In terms of this month, you have missed real movement, and tried to fob it off as margin of error. I get that you can’t post about every poll, but the trends are easy to see (FG up, Sf up, independents down, no change for ff and lab).

  • mickfealty

    First question there, no. All I said was that they are not the same thing.

    I’m happy for you highlight my mistakes or biases etc, and I’ve offered you our archives (an accountability mechanism par excellence) to pin point and detail the broader question of bias.

    But so far you seem to be declining that offer. Instead of telling me why I should write in a way that someone else does, why not show and tell the rest of us all what I’ve missed?

  • Gingray

    Ha, Mick I would love to have the time to do both things, but alas …

    An economist who ignored trends from a variety of sources to focus on one which could be dismissed, would be ignored. Similarly for a military analysist looking at threat levels.

    In your instance you posted last month about sinn fein decline yet not once mentioned that in the poll you quoted sinn fein had not declined. Why not? That’s odd surely?

    In this echo chamber of a post we are debating why you dismiss sinn fein gains as margin of error, ignoring the trend across all polling companies in November.

    I think you don’t like sinn fein, and that colours your posting somewhat. In this case it means you have missed last months and this month’s polling trends.