Back to the Future?: Good news for Fianna Fail and bad news for government parties in the Spring 2013 opinion polls

Adrian Kavanagh, 27th January/8th February/16 February/23 February/2 March/16 March 2013

A series of recent Irish-Ipsos MRBI, and Sunday Times-Behaviour & Attitudes polls, in addition to two Sunday Business Post-Red C polls (polls on 27th January and 24th February) and three Sunday Independent-Millward Brown polls (17th February, 3rd March and 17th March) have offered grim reading for the two government parties and very good news for the opposition parties and groupings, but  especially Fianna Fail who ironically found themselves leading in a national opinion poll (in the two of the Millward-Brown polld and in the Ipsos-MRBI poll) for the first time since the bank bailout in 2008. The latest of these polls detects a notable swing from the larger parties (including Fianna Fail) towards the independents and small parties, however.

The latest poll, the Sunday Independent-Millward Brown poll (17th March 2013) puts national support levels for the main political parties/groupings as follows: Fine Gael 25% (up 1%), Labour 9% (down 2%), Fianna Fail 29% (up 6%), Sinn Fein 20% (down 1%), Independents, Socialist Party, Green Party, United Left Alliance and Others 17% (down 5%). 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: Fianna Fail 56, Fine Gael 44, Sinn Fein 28, Independents, Green Party, Socialist Party, United Left Alliance and Others 20, Labour 10. Continue reading

The slow Fianna Fail march continues apace – Commentary on the Paddy Power-Red C poll (10th January 2013)

Adrian Kavanagh, 10th January 2013 

Today’s Paddy Power-Red C poll is the first major poll of the 2013 calendar year and the first such one since the Budget in December. As with the December 2nd Sunday Business Post-Red C poll, it does not make for pleasant reading for Fine Gael, with the party support levels down three percentage points on the previous such Paddy Power-Red C poll in May 2012.  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 of May 17th 2012, as follows: Fine Gael 29% (down 3%), Labour 13% (NC), Fianna Fail 21% (up 3%), Sinn Fein 16% (down 4%), Green Party 3%/Independents, United Left Alliance and Others 18% (combined levels up 4%). 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 56, Labour 18, Fianna Fail 37, Sinn Fein 23, Green Party 1, United Left Alliance 4, Independents and Others 19. 

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Avoiding short-term thinking in politics

Posted by Eoin O’Malley (7th January, 2013)

One of the most common complaints about democracy is that it shortens our rulers’ time horizons to an extent that damages our interests. If you are a hereditary absolute monarch, presumably you take a very long view, as you care about the inheritance you leave your children and grandchildren. But if you’re an elected politician you tend to think in terms of the next election.

Political scientists tend to assume that all politicians care about is re-election, and while this might be an oversimplification, it is hardly a controversial assumption. Then politicians think in four or five year cycles. Internationally there is some evidence, though it’s hardly overwhelming, Continue reading