By Michael Gallagher
Election campaigns feature extensive, some would say excessive, discussion of the horse-race aspects: in short, how many seats will the parties win? Until the votes are cast and counted, all we have to go on are the findings from opinion polls, and the challenge is to make accurate seat predictions from these.
One issue is the accuracy of the polls themselves, an issue highlighted by shortcomings shown up in the British election last May. This is an interesting subject in itself, but for the moment the question is how confident we could be, even if we knew for certain exactly how many votes each of the parties will win on 27 February, about being able to predict seat numbers.
Basically, there are two broad approaches to this:
(i) make predictions for every constituency and aggregate the totals;
(ii) make national-level seat predictions from national-level vote shares.
Political Studies Association of Ireland Annual Conference 2015
Gresham Metropole Hotel Cork, 16 – 18 October 2015
The annual conference of the PSAI will take place in Cork over the weekend 16 – 18 October 2015. Paper proposals are invited from all areas of the discipline. A detailed list of themes is included below and is also available on the conference website at http://www.ucc.ie/en/government/psai/ Continue reading
Post by Tom Louwerse (Trinity College, Dublin)
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
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
Posted by Eoin O’Malley, Dublin City University
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
Posted by Tom Louwerse, Trinity College Dublin
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
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.