So two polls yesterday. One, a national one for Red C which seems to unwind the apparent progress for Sinn Fein and drops the Fine Gael party just a little closer to that bulging political peloton in the bottom twenties…
— Fergal O’Brien TV3 (@FergalOBrienTV3) February 16, 2016
With don’t knows squeezed to 9% very few are being drawn to support any of the large parties.
The latest TG4 poll (error -/+5%), national politics is being steadily abandoned in favour of local voices that have no discernable national platform. Kerry looks like returning two Healy Raes, one in the south and the other in the north.
- Michael Healy-Rae (Independent) 33%
- Jimmy Deenihan (Fine Gael) 13%
- Brendan Griffin (Fine Gael) 13%
- John Brassil (Fianna Fáil) 11%
- Arthur Spring (Labour) 8%
- Martin Ferris (Sinn Féin) 7%
- Norma Moriarty (Fianna Fáil) 6%
- Danny Healy-Rae (Independent) 4%
As with Donegal the high error rate makes these figures much less reliable than a national, so its advisable to treat them with caution. but it does suggests two sitting TDs may be in trouble.
That they are both in the north of the county which is new to the Healy Raes suggest Arthur Spring and Martin Ferris are under direct threat from that campaign. The huge surplus for Michael looks like the reason they threw Danny in at the last minute.
As Harry Magee notes:
Michael would have to be willing to cede some of his huge tally of first preferences to his brother. The Independent TD and his councillor brother have appealed to their supporters in the east of the county to favour Danny.
That national parties struggle to create a major register with voters who live in parishes far from the capital is another indication of structural fatigue in the Irish democratic system. As I noted at the end of this essay on Irish Water crisis..
The social and political gap between Dublin’s strategic view of the broader challenges and the parish’s often miserable experience of them needs careful bridging.
Judging by the low profile of reform in everyone’s manifesto the moves required to begin addressing the festering democratic deficits at county level will continue to chew up Dublin’s capacity to take any real decisions in the national or local interest.