What next for Labour and the Irish party system?

Eoin O’Malley (28 February, 2011)

Although the election was a seismic event in the redevelopment of the Irish party system, the decisions made in the next week as to the structure of the government will have a greater long term impact. The decision Labour has to take as to whether to go into government or not seems to have already been taken if we consider the noises made by senior Labour members at the weekend. But if the party were considering more than getting bums on seats in ministerial mercs (or the share of a Prius) then it should pause for thought. Continue reading

One of Europe’s Most Volatile Elections

Guest post by Peter Mair (posted by David Farrell, Feb 28, 2011)

This election goes down not only as the most volatile in Irish democratic history, but also as one of the most volatile elections in postwar Europe. Aggregate electoral volatility is conventionally measured with the simple Pedersen index, which adds the absolute values of the aggregate gains of all winning parties to the aggregate losses of all losing parties, and divides by two. This measure of net volatility obviously underestimates the total amount of change, since party A’s losses to party B can be offset by its gains from party C. But we need individual level panel data to measure this type of gross volatility, and these data are not always easily or quickly collected. Measuring aggregate (net) volatility with the Pedersen index has the advantage of allowing for a more or less instant assessment, and of being able to compare levels of change in contemporary elections with those in the more distant past. Continue reading

Predicting Transfers

by Kevin Cunningham Trinity College Dublin

Why a new approach?

STV is very exciting. With so many independent candidates, it is quite likely that transfers will have an even greater effect in this election than in previous years. Our system has so many intricacies that it is quite difficult to convert estimated vote share (from polling data) into seat distributions, making predictions incredibly difficult.

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Policy and the election campaign

By Jane Suiter

The campaign we have just witnessed is unusual in Irish party political terms and may be one of the first where national policy has played an important part.  There is little doubt  when we examine movements in opinion polls over the course of the campaign that Fine Gael ran the most effective operation. The campaign post mortems have not really begun in earnest but a common theme in those that have appeared so far has been the effectiveness of the various media campaigns. These are undoubtedly important but I will leave it to another time to compare them in detail. More interesting perhaps, from a political science perspective is the underlying logic behind those messages.

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Age and political representation: A historical perspective

Guest article by Mark Farrelly, NUI Maynooth

Table 1: Average age of TDs at selected general elections, 1922-2007

Table 1: Average age of TDs at selected general elections, 1922-2007

Whilst much attention has been paid to the low numbers of female TDs in the Dáil, there has been no examination of the dearth of younger TDs. The average age of TDs has been getting progressively older since 1918. Taking a cross section of elections, held between 1918 and 2007, we can see (as in Table 1) that each Dáil has been older than the last, bar the case four elections. Continue reading

Seat estimates for Irish Independent-Millward Brown Lansdowne and Paddy Power-Red C opinion polls, 23rd February

The Millward Brown Lansdowne opinion poll, published in the 23rd February edition of The Irish Independent estimates party support as follows: Fianna Fail 14%, Fine Gael 38%, Labour 20%, Green Party 1%, Sinn Fein 11%, Others 16%. Based solely on these poll figures, my uniform-swing constituency level analysis models seat estimates for the different parties/groupings as follows: Fianna Fail 17, Fine Gael 78, Labour 37, Green Party 0, Sinn Fein 14, Others 20 (11 Left-leaning (including 6 ULA), 9 Right-leaning).

The Red C poll for Paddy Power (23rd February) estimates party support as follows: Fianna Fail 15%, Fine Gael 40%, Labour 18%, Green Party 3%, Sinn Fein 10%, Others 14%. Based solely on these poll figures, my uniform-swing constituency level analysis models seat estimates for the different parties/groupings as follows: Fianna Fail 21, Fine Gael 80, Labour 34, Green Party 0, Sinn Fein 13, Others 18 (11 Left-leaning (including 6 ULA), 7 Right-leaning). Continue reading

Too may polls, they’re all insignificant, but what’s going on? (Or Fine Gael level off, Labour point south and the Greens dwindle)

Guest post by Kevin Cunningham, TCD (posted by David Farrell, February 22, 2011)

This article explains some of the problems of common polling interpretation and applies the leading solution to the general election campaign of 2011. It also offers a more accurate interpretation of trends and generates a current poll of polls as at Monday February 21st. Continue reading