Sunday Independent poll: Cowen is the one and only?

Adrian Kavanagh, 23rd  January 2011

Today’s Sunday Independent poll produced some interesting figures and were reflective no doubt of Fianna Fail and Brian Cowen’s recent travails : Fianna Fail 8%, Fine Gael 27%, Labour 29%, Sinn Fein 8%, Green Party 3%, Others 11% (doesn’t include Don’t Knows). As this poll was just based on 200 responses, it is not as reliable as polls carried out by Ispos-MRBI and Red C and as such does not warrant the equivalent analysis offered to those polls. Hence the next RedC and Ispos-MRBI polls will provide more reliable estimates of current party support. Nevertheless, based on the analysis and model used for my previous such analyses (and excluding the seat automatically won by Seamus Kirk due to his post as Ceann Comhairle) the following number of seats would be won by the different parties:  Fianna Fail 1, Fine Gael 65, Labour 67, Sinn Fein 12, Green Party 0, Others 20.

On these figures, the only Fianna Fail seat won in the election would be won in Laois-Offaly by outgoing party leader, Brian Cowen – the addition of Seamus Kirk would result in a doubling of those seat numbers.

Using the same methods as for previous poll analyses, party support in the different constituencies would be estimated as follows:

FF FG LB GP SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 12.3% 39.2% 35.9% 6.8% 5.9% 0.0%
Cavan-Monaghan 9.4% 39.9% 4.5% 3.0% 29.9% 13.3%
Clare 12.0% 49.5% 6.4% 4.6% 5.6% 21.8%
Cork East 6.8% 28.2% 55.3% 1.7% 7.3% 0.8%
Cork North Central 6.7% 26.7% 34.6% 2.2% 9.2% 20.6%
Cork North West 15.8% 58.8% 21.8% 3.6% 0.0% 0.0%
Cork South Central 11.0% 36.2% 34.2% 6.9% 7.6% 4.0%
Cork South West 10.1% 43.6% 33.9% 5.3% 7.2% 0.0%
Donegal North East 13.2% 30.5% 20.5% 1.2% 27.5% 7.0%
Donegal South West 14.4% 33.7% 11.8% 1.4% 36.3% 2.4%
Dublin Central 8.7% 9.6% 36.7% 3.8% 10.8% 30.4%
Dublin Mid West 7.8% 23.4% 38.4% 8.5% 13.1% 8.7%
Dublin North 9.7% 16.6% 32.9% 12.7% 3.7% 24.5%
Dublin North Central 9.9% 29.4% 24.3% 3.9% 5.1% 27.5%
Dublin North East 8.2% 24.3% 46.5% 4.6% 16.5% 0.0%
Dublin North West 9.3% 9.7% 57.4% 1.7% 17.9% 3.9%
Dublin South 10.5% 35.5% 39.4% 9.3% 4.6% 0.6%
Dublin South Central 5.4% 12.0% 50.9% 3.1% 9.8% 18.9%
Dublin South East 5.9% 19.8% 51.3% 9.5% 5.9% 7.6%
Dublin South West 6.9% 18.2% 52.5% 2.2% 12.9% 7.4%
Dublin West 6.6% 18.5% 44.9% 2.2% 5.1% 22.7%
Dun Laoghaire 6.8% 23.7% 46.7% 5.0% 2.6% 15.1%
Galway East 10.6% 53.8% 12.5% 1.7% 5.1% 16.2%
Galway West 7.5% 21.3% 33.4% 3.7% 3.6% 30.5%
Kerry North-West Limerick 6.1% 32.2% 31.5% 1.2% 23.7% 5.3%
Kerry South 7.7% 24.3% 37.9% 1.2% 4.0% 25.0%
Kildare North 7.2% 20.0% 47.6% 3.0% 2.7% 19.5%
Kildare South 10.6% 18.5% 64.5% 4.3% 0.0% 2.2%
Laois-Offaly 20.0% 49.9% 12.6% 1.3% 10.9% 5.2%
Limerick City 12.7% 34.2% 40.1% 2.3% 6.6% 4.1%
Limerick 13.7% 59.6% 24.4% 2.3% 0.0% 0.0%
Longford-Westmeath 8.3% 32.1% 53.0% 1.2% 4.7% 0.7%
Louth 10.8% 38.7% 19.0% 6.5% 23.1% 2.0%
Mayo 7.9% 64.0% 20.5% 0.6% 7.0% 0.0%
Meath East 9.3% 28.4% 37.9% 2.2% 5.0% 17.2%
Meath West 14.7% 42.6% 17.2% 2.4% 19.3% 3.9%
Roscommon-South Leitrim 8.3% 42.7% 36.8% 1.3% 10.7% 0.3%
Sligo-North Leitrim 10.5% 51.7% 14.8% 2.6% 18.0% 2.4%
Tipperary North 5.9% 14.0% 26.3% 0.6% 3.9% 49.3%
Tipperary South 4.4% 17.8% 21.4% 0.8% 3.0% 52.6%
Waterford 10.2% 30.9% 37.1% 1.5% 8.9% 11.4%
Wexford 9.1% 34.9% 44.2% 0.8% 9.5% 1.4%
Wicklow 3.7% 18.6% 38.0% 3.8% 4.7% 31.3%
STATE 9.3% 31.4% 33.7% 3.5% 9.3% 12.8%

Based on these constituency estimates, I would guesstimate the seats tallies per constituencies as follows (now including the one seat won by Fianna Fail in Louth automatically by virtue of Seamus Kirk being Ceann Comhairle):

FF FG LB GP SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 3 2
Cavan-Monaghan 3 2
Clare 3 1
Cork East 1 3
Cork North Central 1 2 1
Cork North West 2 1
Cork South Central 3 2
Cork South West 2 1
Donegal North East 1 1 1
Donegal South West 1 2
Dublin Central 2 2
Dublin Mid West 1 2 1
Dublin North 1 2 1
Dublin North Central 1 1 1
Dublin North East 1 2
Dublin North West 2 1
Dublin South 2 3
Dublin South Central 1 3 1
Dublin South East 1 3
Dublin South West 1 2 1
Dublin West 1 2 1
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 1
Galway East 3 1
Galway West 1 2 2
Kerry North-West Limerick 1 1 1
Kerry South 1 1 1
Kildare North 1 2 1
Kildare South 1 2
Laois-Offaly 1 3 1
Limerick City 2 2
Limerick 2 1
Longford-Westmeath 1 3
Louth 1 2 1 1
Mayo 4 1
Meath East 1 2
Meath West 2 1
Roscommon-South Leitrim 2 1
Sligo-North Leitrim 2 1
Tipperary North 1 2
Tipperary South 1 2
Waterford 2 2
Wexford 2 3
Wicklow 1 2 2
STATE 2 65 67 0 12 20

As these figures are based on a poll involving an unsatisfactory number of respondents (yes, I am aware of the fact!), it doesn’t not warrant much further comment, but I thought it an interesting exercise to detect how low Fianna Fail seat numbers could fall if their support levels fell even further than their low-to-mid teens ranking of recent Rec C and Ispos-MRBI polls. This show that on these figures, Fianna Fail would be cursed by the catch-all nature of their support geography into an effective wipe out of the party personnel. The party’s ability to win support in all areas of the state means that it has usually been able to achieve significant seats-bonuses in the last general elections when the party’s support levels fell in the high 30s and low 40s. But this catch all nature of support would be a curse (akin in a way to the Liberal Democrats in the UK) if the party support levels was to fall to especially low levels similar to that suggested in the Sunday Indepdendent poll. To make matters worse, the issues of vote-splitting between two or more candidates and the likely transfer-toxic nature of the party in the upcoming election means that the impact of low support levels would be even further exacerbated.

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9 thoughts on “Sunday Independent poll: Cowen is the one and only?

  1. Good grief, the Lord works in mysterious ways, Brian Cowen the last man left standing? I wonder would he do the honorable thing and commit harikari?

  2. I think that the entire trend is a matter mostly of Fianna Fail voters looking for another party.

    Thus the Fianna Fail Nua idea of Conor Lenihan and a few other FF TDs is a good idea.

  3. Given the already large amount of non-random error in these polls (poor questioning etc.), and the likelihood that the 200 were not chosen randomly, the pitifully small sample size means that this is not a real poll and should not be taken seriously.

    The point you make about candidate strategy is probably most important. Given the mid-teen support nationally we can assume FF will do well to be at 10 percent in Dublin. Therefore, anywhere that FF runs two candidates it will not get a seat. If it is evenly split, five percent of the vote won’t be enough to be in the reckoning for final seats even in five seat constituencies. So for instance Hanafin won’t hold her seat.

  4. Despite the soap opera of the past week, I don’t think Fianna Fail either collectively or individually realise that the game is up. You get the sense that deep down they really believe that a change of leader will reap big rewards. On that basis I can’t see them making hard calls and only running one candidate in each constituency. Therefore a wipe out looks likely.

    One does have to wander why Brian Cowen is running. What purpose or function will he have in the next Dail? Personally I feel the image of ex-Taoisigh sitting on back benches, be it on the government side or in opposition, discredits the Office of Taoiseach. In particular for Brian Cowen, he is completely discredited and it is hard to imagine him making any speeches or contribution to the legislative process. Is the 12th Taoiseach of the Irish Republic to become a pot-hole fixer for Laois-Offaly?        

  5. Adrian,
    from what I understand of your methodology is that you take what each party got in 2007 in each constituency and then reduce/ increase their likely support proportionately on the basis of the current national vote.

    The problem is that changes in support are probably not proportionate. So where a party does particularly well, it could be because they do very well among voters with weak ties, and so they might be among the first and most eager to move. As such it could be that where FF did best it would have a bigger decrease in its support, and where it did poorly, this might be more stable, i.e. the drop in support will be smaller.

  6. I would not read to much into this Red C Poll.

    I am from Donegal North East and i would be astonished if Labour wins a seat in that constituency.

    Im sure that FG will win a seat and SF will win a seat maybe two or it will go to an independent but i can’t see it going to Lab.

    But regardless who wins the seats it makes no difference, the opposition do not have any bright ideas on how to fix the mess.

    Within the space of two years nearly all the young irish will be gone, because there will be no credible jobs for the forseeable future.

    Thats why im not voting in the election because it makes no difference who comes out debt will always be debt there is no money for an even starting field.

  7. Given the size of the sample, what would upper and lower values be on the party totals using the same statistical significance tests as are used for the Red C ets. polls?

  8. The SINDO was Fianna Fail’s paper. They boast of 1million readers. Will they swing the election? Is David McWilliam’s “nova man” reading the SINDO? Will Enda appoint some commentators who review him and his party positively with state board positions?

  9. It seems disgraceful that the SINDO would frontpage such an inadequate poll – unless it fulfilled some ulterior purpose or pre-existing agenda. I note their front page story commentary no reference to Labour coming first. Such shoddy “research” and sloppy analysis shouldn’t be dignified by serious commentary elsewhere.

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