A Volatile Electorate: Where Next?

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.

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GRECO Report on Corruption in Ireland

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.

RECOMMENDATIONS -

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Is Sinn Féin the biggest party according to new poll? No, no, no

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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.

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Workshop Announcement: Election Institutions and Electoral Integrity

Mayo BallotElection Institutions and Electoral Integrity

16 October 2014

NUI Merrion Square

All Welcome. Please email t.reidy@ucc.ie 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

We were away….we’re back!

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!

Good news for Fine Gael and Sinn Fein: Constituency-level analysis of the Sunday Business Post-Red C poll (14th September 2014)

Originally posted on Irish Elections: Geography, Facts and Analyses:

Adrian Kavanagh, 13th September 2014 (still being updated!)

The latest in the series of Red C polls has brought good news especially for Fine Gael and Sinn Fein. While Labour sees a one percentage point increase in the party’s poll levels, this is well off the levels of increase observed in last months’ Sunday Times-Behaviour & Attitudes poll. There is a notable fall in support levels for the Independents and Others grouping, while Fianna Fail support levels remain unchanged at a disappointing 18% level although that party seems to perform better in actual electoral contests than they have been in opinion polls. The latest Sunday Business Post-Red C poll estimates party support levels as follows (and relative to the previous Sunday Business Post-Red C poll ): Fine Gael 28% (up 3%), Sinn Fein 23% (up 1%), Fianna Fail 18% (NC), Labour Party 8% (up 1%), Independents, Green Party and Others 23% (down 5%). My…

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Posted on behalf of the Royal Irish Academy

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Royal Irish Academy Discourse: ‘International Human Rights and Democratic Public Ethics’ by Professor Richard Bellamy

University of Limerick, 6 June 2014 at 18:00

We are pleased to invite you to attend a Royal Irish Academy Discourse by Professor Richard Bellamy (European University Institute), with a response by the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, entitled ‘International Human Rights and Democratic Public Ethics’. This Discourse will take place in the Graduate Entry Medical School Lecture Theatre at the University of Limerick, on 6 June at 18:00. This event is being held under the auspices of the President of Ireland Ethics Initiative and in association with the Limerick City of Culture 2014.
For any queries regarding this Discourse please contact discourse@ria.ie
Attendance is free but early booking is advised.