Independents take top spot in Irish Polling Indicator

Post by Tom Louwerse (Trinity College, Dublin)

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Independents and smaller parties have seen their electoral support increased over the last two months. They now top the Irish Polling Indicator, which combines all national election polls in to one estimate of party support. Independents now score between 25.7% and 31%, followed by Sinn Féin at 21.5-25.7% and Fine Gael at 20.1%-24.2%. The largest government party has been on a downward slope in the polls since mid-February, while Continue reading

The Quiet Protest Vote – Intra-party Councillor Replacement in #le14

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Post by Dr. Michael Courtney, TCD

The big stories of this year’s local elections are the collapse of the Labour party vote and the ongoing rise of Sinn Féin. To a large degree, the surge in Sinn Féin’s percentage of the vote and number of councillors is attributed to a protest vote. The narrative goes that those who voted for Fine Gael and Labour in the 2009 Locals and the 2011 General Election are punishing these parties for continuing the programme of austerity and the breaking of several election promises. The voters’ strategy is interpreted to be; to vote for other parties in the local elections to demonstrate their unhappiness with the government’s performance. This type of voting behaviour in ‘second-order’ elections is usually evident in good economic times and bad. Continue reading

Will independents bring ‘real change’?

Posted by Eoin O’Malley, Dublin City University

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Parties are increasingly unpopular. The recently released European Social Survey (wave 6) shows parties are distrusted by 85% of Irish people (compared with parliament and the government distrusted by 75% and 77% respectively).  Ireland isn’t that unusual; Most countries show a large majority lacking trust in parties. Danes, Swedes and Austrian are the most trustful of politics, but even in those places just about a third of respondents claim to trust parties.

This might not matter much. Continue reading

Pooling Irish Opinion Polls: Introducing the Irish Polling Indicator

Posted by Tom Louwerse, Trinity College DublinImage

Note: the last Red C poll does not provide separate estimates for the Green Party and Others, therefore the OTH and GP line end in April.

Opinion polls are a source of information for voters, parties and the media alike. Especially polls into the popularity of parties are usually quite popular. Polls can be a powerful instrument: if done well, a sample of just 1000 voters can give great insights into the (political) views of the entire Irish electorate. But polls are often misunderstood and incorrectly reported. A new tool brings together all Irish opinion polls and aggregates them into one estimate of the support for Irish parties.

The ‘Poll of polls’ has become popular in many countries over the last few years. Besides the popular electoral forecasts by Continue reading

Why didn’t we riot?

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This is the text of an article published in the Sunday Business Post 22nd December 2013

On the night of 6th December 2008 there were widespread protests against the government in Athens. In one middle class district in the centre of Athens, Exarcheia, there were confrontations with the police. Police were ordered to leave the district, but two policemen decided to stay, parked their car, and followed a group of youths. It’s not clear what happened next, but one of the policemen shot Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15 year-old boy from a wealthy family, who attended a private school. This sparked a wave of rioting throughout Greece that lasted a number of weeks.

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Was Michael D. Higgins elected for his policy views?

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President Michael D. Higgins has caused some controversy (though this might be too strong a word) for his more outspoken comments on some issues. In a speech he gave in DCU in September he was highly critical of neo-liberalism as an ideology and economics as a discipline. We should hardly be surprised. Most know where he stands on these issues, and given that, President Higgins has probably been restrained.

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