Blue Da Ba Dee? Bad news for Fine Gael in December 2nd Sunday Business Post-Red C poll

Adrian Kavanagh, 1st December 2012 

Tomorrow’s Sunday Business Post-Red C poll offers grim reading for Fine Gael, with the party support levels down six percentage points on the previous such poll.  This poll puts national support levels for the main political parties and groupings, and relative to the most recent Sunday Business Post-Red C poll on 28th October 2012, as follows: Fine Gael 28% (down 6%), Labour 14% (up 1%), Fianna Fail 20% (up 1%), Sinn Fein 17% (NC), Green Party 3% (up 1%), Independents, United Left Alliance and Others 18% (up 3%). My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fine Gael 53, Labour 21, Fianna Fail 36, Sinn Fein 25, Green Party 1, United Left Alliance 4, Independents and Others 19. 

This analyses used here are similar to previous posts which have applied a constituency level analysis (although with these using the constituency units used for the 2011 General Election) based on assigning seats on the basis of constituency support estimates and simply using a d’Hondt method to determine which party wins the seats, while also taking account of the factors of vote transfers and vote splitting/management (based on vote transfer/management patterns observed in the February 2011 election). Based on such an analysis and using the new constituency units (as defined in the 2012 Constituency Commission report) - the new constituencies which will be used for the next general election (assuming an election is not called in the following months before the Electoral Act putting the new constituency configuration into effect) – these analyses estimates what party seat levels would be, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election. These analysis suggests that Fianna Fail would seem to be the party most likely to be positively effected by the redrawing of the constituency boundaries and suggests that the party, in this context, would be gaining as a result of the boundary changes, in addition to the party’s improvement in its opinion poll levels relative to its 2011 General Election figures, irrespective of the impact of a reduction in Dail seat numbers from 166 to 158.

The constituency support estimates based on the Irish Times-Ipsos MRBI poll figures, when using the new constituency units (as used for the next general election), are as follows:

FF FG LB SF GP ULA OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 32% 31% 12% 16% 5% 2% 3%
Cavan-Monaghan 20% 27% 4% 40% 1% 0% 8%
Clare 25% 33% 11% 6% 3% 0% 22%
Cork East 21% 30% 24% 19% 2% 0% 4%
Cork North Central 18% 21% 18% 24% 2% 10% 8%
Cork North West 30% 39% 11% 13% 2% 0% 4%
Cork South Central 33% 26% 14% 14% 4% 0% 10%
Cork South West 28% 40% 11% 13% 3% 0% 6%
Donegal 20% 17% 5% 41% 1% 0% 17%
Dublin Central 16% 15% 20% 21% 3% 0% 25%
Dublin Mid West 14% 24% 23% 20% 6% 9% 5%
Dublin Fingal 18% 24% 19% 4% 14% 18% 4%
Dublin Bay North 15% 27% 22% 15% 3% 4% 15%
Dublin North West 13% 13% 31% 35% 2% 2% 4%
Dublin Rathdown 11% 28% 12% 5% 12% 2% 30%
Dublin South Central 11% 17% 26% 24% 3% 16% 4%
Dublin Bay South 12% 27% 18% 6% 10% 2% 24%
Dublin South West 12% 23% 23% 21% 4% 5% 11%
Dublin West 20% 22% 22% 10% 2% 23% 1%
Dun Laoghaire 18% 29% 21% 4% 7% 12% 9%
Galway East 21% 35% 11% 9% 1% 0% 23%
Galway West 22% 26% 8% 10% 3% 0% 30%
Kerry County 13% 26% 11% 18% 1% 0% 30%
Kildare North 17% 28% 22% 10% 3% 0% 20%
Kildare South 26% 28% 21% 11% 2% 0% 13%
Laois 32% 28% 9% 23% 1% 0% 7%
Offaly 27% 21% 3% 10% 1% 1% 37%
Limerick City 27% 35% 16% 14% 2% 2% 4%
Limerick 23% 43% 12% 7% 1% 0% 14%
Longford-Westmeath 24% 32% 21% 13% 1% 0% 10%
Louth 17% 23% 13% 33% 7% 0% 8%
Mayo 21% 53% 4% 12% 1% 0% 10%
Meath East 23% 33% 16% 15% 2% 0% 11%
Meath West 21% 35% 10% 28% 2% 0% 4%
Roscommon-Galway 16% 32% 7% 10% 1% 0% 34%
Sligo-Leitrim 25% 27% 6% 28% 1% 4% 9%
Tipperary 17% 22% 11% 9% 1% 11% 29%
Waterford 16% 30% 14% 17% 1% 0% 22%
Wexford 22% 28% 15% 10% 1% 1% 23%
Wicklow 12% 31% 12% 17% 2% 0% 25%

Based on these constituency estimates and using a d’Hondt method to determine which party wins the seats in a constituency, the party seat levels are estimated as follows:

FF FG LB SF GP ULA OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 2 2 1
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 2
Clare 1 2 1
Cork East 1 1 1 1
Cork North Central 1 1 1 1
Cork North West 1 2
Cork South Central 2 1 1
Cork South West 1 2
Donegal 1 1 2 1
Dublin Central 1 1 1
Dublin Mid West 1 1 1 1
Dublin Fingal 1 1 1 1 1
Dublin Bay North 1 1 1 1 1
Dublin North West 1 2
Dublin Rathdown 1 2
Dublin South Central 1 1 1 1
Dublin Bay South 2 1 1
Dublin South West 1 2 1 1
Dublin West 1 1 1 1
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 1
Galway East 1 1 1
Galway West 1 2 2
Kerry County 1 1 1 2
Kildare North 1 1 1 1
Kildare South 1 1 1
Laois 1 1 1
Offaly 1 1 1
Limerick City 1 2 1
Limerick 1 2
Longford-Westmeath 1 2 1
Louth 1 1 1 2
Mayo 1 3
Meath East 1 2
Meath West 1 1 1
Roscommon-Galway 1 2
Sligo-Leitrim 1 1 2
Tipperary 1 1 1 2
Waterford 1 1 1 1
Wexford 1 2 1 1
Wicklow 2 1 2
STATE 35 54 18 24 1 4 22

Amending the model to account for seats that may be won or lost on the basis of a large/small number of candidates contesting the election (e.g. Others being allocated two seats in Dublin Rathdown, but largely on the basis of a larger personal vote for one candidate, Shane Ross), vote transfers and vote management (e.g. discrepancies between votes won by party front runners and their running mates which would see potential seat wins fall out of a party’s hands), the seat allocations across the constituencies would look more like this:

FF FG LB SF GP ULA OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 2 2 1
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 2
Clare 1 2 1
Cork East 1 1 1 1
Cork North Central 1 1 1 1
Cork North West 1 2
Cork South Central 2 1 1
Cork South West 1 2
Donegal 1 1 2 1
Dublin Central 1 1 1
Dublin Mid West 1 1 1 1
Dublin Fingal 1 1 1 1 1
Dublin Bay North 1 1 1 1 1
Dublin North West 1 2
Dublin Rathdown 2 1
Dublin South Central 1 1 1 1
Dublin Bay South 2 1 1
Dublin South West 1 1 2 1
Dublin West 1 1 1 1
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 1
Galway East 1 1 1
Galway West 1 2 2
Kerry County 1 1 1 2
Kildare North 1 1 1 1
Kildare South 1 1 1
Laois 1 1 1
Offaly 1 1 1
Limerick City 1 2 1
Limerick 1 2
Longford-Westmeath 1 2 1
Louth 1 1 1 2
Mayo 1 3
Meath East 1 1 1
Meath West 1 1 1
Roscommon-Galway 1 1 1
Sligo-Leitrim 1 1 2
Tipperary 1 1 1 2
Waterford 1 1 1 1
Wexford 1 2 1 1
Wicklow 2 1 1 1
STATE 36 53 21 24 1 4 19
% Seats 22.8 33.5 13.3 15.2 0.6 2.5 12.0

**********

Should the seat estimates based on The Sunday Business Post-Red C poll figures pan out after the next general election however, the government parties would not have a sufficient combined number of seats to have a majority in Dail Eirean (74 seats), while a potential Fianna Fail-Sinn Fein alliance would have 60 seats. The only viable two-party coalition option would involve Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, with a combined seat number of 89 seats.

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11 thoughts on “Blue Da Ba Dee? Bad news for Fine Gael in December 2nd Sunday Business Post-Red C poll

  1. “The only viable two-party coalition option would involve Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, with a combined seat number of 89 seats.”

    Perhaps such an governing alliance may be necessary in the short term if it leads to a realignment of the political system. As was highlighted last month, Irish voters must deal with the constraints of the existing parties, and the rise for Others shows all have been weighed in the balance and been found wanting.

    • The idea that a realignment must occur through a ff-fg alliance is an old line. The only reason that a ff-fg alliance is possible reading that poll is because of the rise of sf and the strong poll for others. A ff-fg coalition sip be forced in those 2 by the strength of groups other than labour.
      It will not create the new alignment but will be a result if it . The left must force that realignment .

  2. Adrian,

    You’ve clearly been burning the midnight oil again to put this analysis together so promptly. Much appreciated by all us political junkies!

    Whilst an FG-FF government based on these numbers might be technically feasible, it would not be politically viable. FG marching back in as the lead party in government having been so firmly rejected by the electorate for their government performance would not be acceptable. Any alliance with FF – even if it was framed as a ‘national crisis government’ – would be inherently unstable. Traditional supporters of both parties, dwindling and all as they may be, would be aghast. From FF’s perspective, it would be long term political suicide and they would, in any case, be loathe to accept FG leadership of such a coalition. Adding Labour to the ‘national crisis government’ formula might make such a temporary alliance more palatable, but even more unacceptable to Labour voters.

    If the current poll numbers were carried through to a GE, then the more likely outcome would be political chaos, failure by the Dail to agree on the nomination of a Taoiseach, and another GE to follow. Should current OP trends persist, and voting patterns follow, then we’re looking to add political failure to economic failure.

    • “FG marching back in as the lead party in government having been so firmly rejected by the electorate for their government performance would not be acceptable. ”

      Who would not accept it?
      Our recent history shows that we do accept it going right back to the 1980s.

      • Donal,

        As I recollect, from 1981 to 1989, the main party of government changed with every election. FF returned to power after 1989 only by abandoning its principled opposition to coalition government and sharing power with the PDs. Following the collapse of that government, FF’s ill-fated pact with Labour allowed it to retain power, although that coalition too collapsed within a couple of years. The Rainbow Coalition that succeeded it lost the 1997 election. The ‘Bertie Era’ from 1997 to 2007 was remarkable in that FF was consistently returned to office by popular vote. If the current government fails – and right now I wouldn’t put much money on its chances of surviving another year unless there are some significant changes in personnel – it would be very difficult for FG to return as the main party of government , were to lose more than 20 seats as indicated in current opinion polls. Certainly, with a combined share of 42% of the vote, it would not be able to form a government with Labour. I don’t regard a coalition with FF as a politically viable option for the reasons stated above.

  3. The vote for Others including greens in the last General election was 17.2%. There are always significant numbers of local and personality candidates in a general election who have no possibility of election and whose votes on transfer return to mainstream parties. Before the general election was declared the votes for Greens and Others in opinion polls conducted in September and October 2010 were 12% and 14% respectively. It is with these figures that the 21% share of Others in the current poll should be compared. The 21% figure is unprecedented in an opinion poll. In a General election the vote share of Others would probably be in the region of 25% on the basis of the current poll. It is very probable that the number of Others elected in the General Election would exceed the 24 predicted by Adrian.
    Incidentally, Seamus Healy is no longer a member of ULA but appears to be counted as such in the predictions for the new Tipperary constituency. Adrian is in fact predicting the loss of a ULA seat in Dún Laoire .

  4. In the short term these bad numbers for the Fine Gael and Labour parties are probably caused by the Savita Halappanavar Scandal – the plain fact is that the Kenny-Gilmore government could not convincingly pin the blame on the previous Fianna Fáil / Green Party administration – government deputies loyally voted down the Clare Daly Bill to implement the X Case Abortion judgment last April, and repeated that shameful behaviour a few days ago. If – a and it is a very big If – they act soon in accordance with the words of their own Fine Gael Justice Minister Alan Shatter and put an end to 20 years of inexcusable government delay on this – the government parties might claw back some lost ground. On the other hand dithering and long-fingering runs the risk of being held responsible for a future inexcusable abortion-related scandal in the next few months.

    In the longer term it is clear that, allowing for ups and downs, the decades-old foundations of a Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael led government – with Labour sometimes tagged on as a junior coalition partner – are decaying – and that is a good thing if you favour building a left alternative with a firm position opposing coalition government with the right. But that will not happen automatically simply by piling up votes for “Others”.

    Paddy Healy – above – makes a number of excellent points – but one vital addition is necessary : many of the “Others”, even self-declared left candidates, can not be relied upon to stick with the firm position of opposing coalition with the right, which is the policy of the ULA and Séamus Healy. many would follow the example of the 1982 Gregory-Haughey deal of February 1982.

    Also – if a result similar to Adrian’s prediction did occur in the next general election, I see no reason, on principle, to rule out a Sinn Féin / Fine Gael Coalition – a neat symmetry with the SF-DUP Coalition operating from Stormont, Belfast.

  5. Much thanks to Adrian for breaking down the “Others” figure in seat terms – surely when that statistic is the second-highest of all the groupings, it’s time for RedC to at least list ULA support separately?

  6. Reblogged this on Tomás Ó Flatharta and commented:
    The latest credible Sunday Business Post Opinion Poll shows the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition would lose office if a General Election was held soon. In addition 85% of people polled favour abortion legislation on the X Case Supreme Court Judgment. As usual Adrian Kavanagh has published an excellent analysis – Paddy Healy and this writer have submitted comments.

  7. Reblogged this on fleminghway61 and commented:
    A good overview of the form a Government would take should it be elected according to the results in the opinion polls, Sunday Business Post, December 2012

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