Posted on behalf of Dr Siobhan O’Sullivan, School of Applied Social Studies University College Cork, Dr Amy Healy, NUI Maynooth, and Prof Michael Breen, Faculty of Arts, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick.
This blog presents the arguments from a paper published in Irish Political Studies by the authors. Free access to the paper is available for the month of March at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07907184.2014.942645#abstract
The impact of the 2008 recession on political legitimacy in Ireland is still being felt. The collapse of the banking, construction and property sectors, and the 2010 EU/International Monetary Fund loan and attached austerity conditions resulted in a dramatic election in 2011. Support for Fianna Fáil, the party that had dominated political power in Ireland for decades, was decimated and Fine Gael and Labour subsequently formed a coalition government. The next general election will be held in 2016 and in the intervening years there has been widespread protest over austerity, cutbacks, and new taxes and charges. Continue reading
Irish Polling Indicator 2014. Shaded areas display 95% uncertainty estimates; line represents ‘best estimate’.
Support for Fine Gael and Labour has declined from a combined 38% early this year to 27.5% now. This represents the (joint) largest loss for the government parties in a calendar year since the coalition took office in 2011. In 2011 the coalition lost 10% of the vote, in 2012 7.5% and in 2013 1.5%. Fine Gael is now estimated at 22% (+/- 2% uncertainty margin), while Labour is just at 5.5% (+/- 1.5% uncertainty margin).
These figures are obtained from the Irish Polling Indicator, which combines four major Irish opinion polls into arguably the ‘best estimate’ of current parties’ support among the electorate. By combining polls we can better distinguish between real changes and random ‘noise’ due to the fact that opinion polls only survey a small sample of the population. Continue reading
Dr. Mel Farrell, 3 December 2014
The Great Depression helped create the party system that dominated Irish politics for eighty years, the Great Recession may be about to force a new way in Irish politics.
After the 2011 general election, what newly elected Taoiseach Enda Kenny described as a ‘Democratic Revolution’, shook the foundations of Ireland’s political system. Fianna Fáil, a party that had never dropped below 39% of the first preference vote between 1932 and 2007, was decimated at the polls, dropping to 17% and a mere twenty Dáil seats. This represented a fall of 24% from the 41% Fianna Fáil secured at the 2007 general election. Of course, when one factors in the Green Party (-2.9%), and the Progressive Democrats (-2.7%, party dissolved in 2009), one can see that the outgoing government lost a combined 29% of the first preference vote. It was an electoral earthquake with no precedent since the foundation of the state in 1922 and comparable only to the Irish Parliamentary Party’s collapse in December 1918.
Elaine Byrne 21/11/14
The Council of Europe (GRECO) today published it’s fourth evaluation round report on corruption in Ireland. Corruption prevention in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors contains eleven recommendations.
The recommendations are a timely intervention into the debate on political reform – much of which campaigners for reform have been advocating for some time. No surprises here – the strong focus on judges pay is interesting though. Much of it is echoes the European Commission report on corruption in Ireland published earlier this year.
A new poll by Millward Brown came out this weekend, with headline figures of 26% for Sinn Féin and 22% for Fine Gael. This let many news outlets to conclude that Sinn Féin is now the biggest party in the Republic. But this conclusion cannot be drawn from the Millward Brown poll, based on 991 respondents.
First, the difference between Sinn Féin and Fine Gael falls within the margin of error of the poll. While the reported margin of error is 3.1%, this is the margin for any single party. If we calculate the margin of error for the difference between two parties, we find that it is 4.3%. That is just slightly bigger than the 4% gap. This means that even if there was no difference between the two parties among all likely voters, there is more than a 5% probability that a poll of 991 people* finds a difference between SF and FG of 4% or more. Just because of the people that randomly end up being surveyed. This is generally considered inadequate to base firm conclusions on.
Election Institutions and Electoral Integrity
16 October 2014
NUI Merrion Square
All Welcome. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm attendance (for catering purposes).
10.00 – 11.15 Evaluating Electoral Institutions and Administration
Andrew Reynolds, (University of North Carolina) (co-authors: Jorgen Elklit and Pippa Norris)
Why Electoral Integrity Matters: Measurement and Consequences
Carolien VanHam (University of Twente) (co-author: Sarah Birch)
Getting away with foul play? How oversight institutions strengthen election integrity. Continue reading
Many of you have noticed that politicalreform.ie has been down since July. I’d like to say that it was in preparation of a major relaunch, but it wasn’t. It was a failure of too many people involved in running the site, and none of us taking responsibility. A catalogue of unpaid bills, misunderstandings and amateurism meant it took longer than it should have to get back up and running. We’re back now!