Is the next election becoming a contest between Fine Gael and Sinn Fein?

Interesting poll out in the Irish Times today showing a continuing improvement in both Fine Gael and Sinn Fein’s vote. Whilst Fianna Fail remain steady at just around 19% and Labour are stuck at 7% .

Should we see between now and February a series of polls reflecting similar results, it will be hugely helpful to Fine Gael as they attempt to sideline Fianna Fail and make the election a choice between Gerry Adams and Enda Kenny.  Ironically, Fine Gael’s strategy for the election boosts Sinn Fein amongst the anti-government section of the electorate.

Anyway here are the results;

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If you want to see a longer trend over a period of time;

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Adrian Kavanagh in his blog breaks down some of opportunities for the parties at the next election. 

 

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  • Greenflag 2

    For a single party to win a majority in the Dail under PR requires a first preference vote of around 44% . From the above graphs no party is anywhere close to that number . Even with Labour and assuming effective transferring the FG/Lab combination reaches 37% . That was enough for Mr Cameron to win a small majority in the UK under FPTP voting system . Here its nowhere near enough. FF plus SF together make up 40% which means finding some independents who can be bribed a la Tony Gregory to come on board .
    But there are many in FF including its current leader who are averse (at this stage ) to any such coalition .

    So could we end up with an FG plus FF coalition for at 49% thats the only coalition which could form a strong majority in the Dail to form a stable government . Goodbye labour we don’t need you – to paraphrase an old Boer War song . Can’t see any FF leader surviving playing second fiddle to FG in coalition but there is a kind of precedent . From 1926 to 1932 FF played loyal (well mostly ) opposition to the FG’s (Cumann Na nGael ) government and then won a majority in 1932 . Perhaps that’s FF’s only way back to ‘credibility ‘ in government at this stage ?

    What should surprise ALL the political parties is the survival of the independent vote . That it remains so high 5 years after FF annihalation should give pause for thought . Its probably the Irish version of dissatisfaction with politics generally and reflects people’s remaining skepticism re their would be leaders .

  • Galena

    They only good thing about SFs rise down there is that it must make McDowell physically sick.

  • Granni Trixie

    Gerry Adams popularity is a total mystery to me. How does he do it? ( and I really would like to understand).

  • Not on those numbers. The actual question from those numbers might be “how likely will it be that FG finds a credible coalition partner?”

    There is also a question as to whether, with Berlin basically running the budget, the Irish electorate is a bit reckless/feckless (choose at will) in that no matter what the government it’ll largely have little room to make their lives considerably worse – with little expectation of that much better. Explains the huge independent none of the above polling.

    Finally, based on the above, the most you can say is that the polls are all over the place and its anyone’s game. How to even suggest that it could be FG v SF is stretching it a long way.

  • barnshee

    It annoys the Prods -excrement can be piled high against him to no avail He was never in the RA– he was never involved in any way with the murder of Mrs McConville why would he not be popular?

  • Granni Trixie

    You are mistaken if you think he is a hate figure for only one section of the population.

  • Granni Trixie

    Is it not also symptomatic of change connected to people’s sense of their complex identities and entitlement to have that represented? Also, Whilst surely a trend to independents is connected to dissatisfaction with the old order, is empowerment nit a positive outcome?

  • Zig70

    It’s not obvious to me either. You have to believe he is a strong leader due to the circumstances he cut his teeth in. You can argue whether he sought it or if it was thrust on him in some part as the big man, to do something about the desperation of the late 60s. I’d say in a large part it’s not just him but the energy of the movement behind him

  • Zig70

    I’ve always been critical of SFs ability to form political alliances and they have a perfect opportunity to do it with a large section of the independents. If they do that I might take some notice otherwise I’d put my money on them never breaking 20%

  • Croiteir

    I believe that there will be an existentialist crises in FF if they do not beat SF at the polls. FF is looking at becoming the southern equivalent of the SDLP, they really do need to start attacking SF on something over than a reverse “what did you do in the war daddy front” that MM is addicted to and simply is not working, that was over a generation ago now Micheál, soooo last century.
    One battlefield is social liberalism. There is definitely a generational gap in FF on this – they are divided but SF is not, or at least divided more deeply than SF. I would vote for the FF from 10 years ago but the FF of MM? not a chance. Pro SSM, debating facilitating suicide as an option at there youth wing bash in Newry. The only saving grace at the moment is they do not support abortion.
    On this issue, social liberalism, FF are definitely ahead of SF and the more they drift to the left on this issue the more they lose their core support.
    The next issue is republicanism, there is no way that they can out green FF, they simply are outgunned, (no sniggers from the cheap seats), as they are a partitionist party who abstain from representing Irish people throughout Ireland. Even listen their speeches when the call the north “Northern” Ireland, doesn’t come over well to the republican diehard. They also try to claim republicanism as theirs, any republican worth their salt knows that no party has exclusive claim.
    FF need to win this, if not they are in slow decline, the tensions within on the social issues may also pull them apart once the prize of power is not there to keep them cohesive.
    This is the election which may well define republicanism in Ireland for the next generation or three.

  • Greenflag 2

    Yes it is at lleast from a broad brush perspective on politics generally in this day and age everywhere .

    ‘is empowerment not a positive outcome? ‘

    It could be if ‘independents ‘or enough of them united to oppose or support a particular agenda prior to the election and acted on it effectively post election . There are some signs that that may yet happen but I would’nt bet on it . And its a bit more than complex identities . People in the Republic have managed complex political identities for decades which is why FF could in the past command a larger working class vote than Labour and now both Labour and FF have lost that vote largely to SF and independents .

  • Greenflag 2

    ‘How does he do it? ‘

    He doesn’t have to do anything . All he has to do is to wait for some Unionist or Michael Martin or Enda Kenny to launch another personal attack or diatribe against him and the equal reaction laws of political physics come into force . After 35 years one would think that some Unionists or others might have learned but they haven’t -so no one should be surprised . The thing is that sadly nearly all unionist politicians DUP or UUP have lost all credibility with Irish republicans and even nationalists and whats even worse with Irish people who are non political or who don’t define themselves as republican or nationalist . Sad but true .

  • Ernst Blofeld

    You have to have a chuckle an adjustment bureau front organisation might actually get the balance of power down there..you couldn’t make it up. Well if you ignore the fact that they were made up in some room in Whitehall.

  • Ernst Blofeld

    With a little help from his friends..he gets by with a little from his friends oohh he gets by with a little help from his friends!!!!!

  • I think this much-touted Fine Gael vs. Sinn Féin competition is overestimated. It seems when Sinn Féin walk ahead of Fianna Fáil by a percentage or two in the opinion polls, the rivalry becomes a talking point.

    However, the distance between Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil hasn’t been more than 5% this year, bar 7% in an Ipsos MRBI poll on 23rd March and a Millward Brown poll on 14th February.

    Indeed, of the 26 southern opinion polls carried out in 2015, Fianna Fáil have led Sinn Féin in 11 of them. More specifically, 3 of those leads have been in 4 of the opinion polls carried out this month.

    If anything, the purpose of the hyping of such rivalries is on part of both Fine Gael and Sinn Féin to frame the debate in their interests, so as to squeeze out opponents.

    Another thing I’d like to add is the curiously higher rate that the AAA-PBP get in Sunday Times opinion polls. Is this simply an overestimation, or are the other polling agencies undermining the leftists?

  • tmitch57

    “The thing is that sadly nearly all unionist politicians DUP or UUP have lost all credibility with Irish republicans…”

    Funny, I thought this was a thread about politics in the Republic. How do unionists enter into a contest among SF, FF, FG and Labour? Or do some surrogates and promoters have to label all of SF’s opponents as unionists?

  • Greenflag 2

    You may not be aware but SF are a political party on both sides of the border .

    Yes it is a thread about politics in the Republic. But the border for all its jurisdictional integrity is politically a very porous line on a map that divides farms and I believe at one time even a pub . Gerry Adams happens to be an elected politician in the Republic and is not unknown in Northern Ireland . Unionist politicians like it or not indirectly contribute to the SF leader’s popularity with a large percentage of voters in the Republic . Its not yet clear whether attempts by the Republic’s main political parties FG and FF to attack SF have backfired in SF’s favour but it would’nt surprise me . Not even SF would be so crass as to call their political opponents in the Republic ‘unionists ‘ . I believe they are trying to win votes not lose them .

  • Gingray

    Simple answer David – no.

    But it really suits both parties to portray it as such. SF are still a good bit away from being a credible opposition, more a party of protest at the minute in the South.

    No doubt the Cahill debacle has backfired somewhat on the Government parties, getting SF a tad more sympathy – her performance, and that of Labour have the appearance of being an anti SF gimmick, and it will divert a few of lefty voters their way.

    Looks like an election in February anyways, so 3 months out, I would expect the parties polling to go as follows:

    True independents – decline in vote share
    Renua, PBP, AAA, Greens, SDs – slight uptick
    SF – initial increase, then a drop towards polling day
    FF – no real change
    Lab – no real change
    FG – slight uptick

    I would expect SF and the Independents to get lower vote on election day and less elected as a proportion. FF the opposite. Labour I thought might survive, now thinking they could go the way of the LDs. FG to do better due seat wise.

    The interesting question will be whether any of the micro parties can get more than their current TDs elected.

  • Gingray

    Simple answer David – no.

    But it really suits both parties to portray it as such. SF are still a good bit away from being a credible opposition, more a party of protest at the minute in the South.

    No doubt the Cahill debacle has backfired somewhat on the Government parties, getting SF a tad more sympathy – her performance, and that of Labour have the appearance of being an anti SF gimmick, and it will divert a few of lefty voters their way.

    Looks like an election in February anyways, so 3 months out, I would expect the parties polling to go as follows:

    True independents – decline in vote share
    Renua, PBP, AAA, Greens, SDs – slight uptick
    SF – initial increase, then a drop towards polling day
    FF – no real change
    Lab – no real change
    FG – slight uptick

    I would expect SF and the Independents to get lower vote on election day and less elected as a proportion. FF the opposite. Labour I thought might survive, now thinking they could go the way of the LDs. FG to do better due seat wise.

    The interesting question will be whether any of the micro parties can get more than their current TDs elected.

  • Gingray

    Simple answer David – no.

    But it really suits both parties to portray it as such. SF are still a good bit away from being a credible opposition, more a party of protest at the minute in the South.

    No doubt the Cahill debacle has backfired somewhat on the Government parties, getting SF a tad more sympathy – her performance, and that of Labour have the appearance of being an anti SF gimmick, and it will divert a few of lefty voters their way.

    Looks like an election in February anyways, so 3 months out, I would expect the parties polling to go as follows:

    True independents – decline in vote share
    Renua, PBP, AAA, Greens, SDs – slight uptick
    SF – initial increase, then a drop towards polling day
    FF – no real change
    Lab – no real change
    FG – slight uptick

    I would expect SF and the Independents to get lower vote on election day and less elected as a proportion. FF the opposite. Labour I thought might survive, now thinking they could go the way of the LDs. FG to do better due seat wise.

    The interesting question will be whether any of the micro parties can get more than their current TDs elected.

  • Mary Anna Quigley

    These people who wreck NI Civil Rights PIRA, PSF, ARMY COUNICIL. Took away the right to life. The right to work, the right to provide for their families. The right to justice, accountability, the right to truth. These people, killed fpr power, greed need to control – dictatorship terrorism -terrorise families, scared the nation almost to death. Why and what for? 45 years of hell. Is this the kind of Ireland you want ? No truth, justice and no accountability , no jobs , no health services, no education , nothing but cover ups denials by Those working together British government, themselves alone. ( who is protecting who)is this the kind of Ireland you want corruption?

  • Greenflag 2

    We could yet see an FG /FF coalition . Probably the only one with the numbers to make for stable government . How both parties face up to each other over the next few months and how each attack SF should be worth observing .