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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Love’s Labour Not Entirely Lost?: Constituency-level analysis of the Sunday Times-Behaviour & Attitudes poll (17th August 2014)

Adrian Kavanagh, 16th August 2014 

The latest in the series of Behaviour & Attitudes polls has brought good news for the Labour Party after a long period of dismal results in previous such opinion polls. The Sunday Times-Behaviour & Attitudes poll of August 16th 2014, estimates party support levels as follows (and relative to the previous Sunday Times-Behaviour & Attitudes poll): Fine Gael 24% (down 2%), Sinn Fein 19% (down 2%), Fianna Fail 18% (down 1%), Labour Party 14% (up 7%), Green Party 2% (NC), Independents and Others 20% (down 2%). 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 31, Fine Gael 46, Sinn Fein 28, Labour Party 21, Green Party 1, Independents and Others 31. Continue reading

Turnout isn’t even a symptom, so let’s stop the hand wringing

voting

We’re all worried about the decline in turnout, aren’t we? Politicians, academics and other worthies march up to Glenties every year to worry about our failing politics, and to self-flagellate about our failure to reform it.

And it’s not just us we’re worried about this year. With the results of the 2014 European elections we worry that other parts of Europe have gone bad. They’ve elected nationalists! Let’s forget that the vote for the racist nationalists, who I assume are the ones we don’t like, has gone down in many countries. Something must be done!

The standard analysis is that the Front National in France and Britain’s UKIP were elected because so many good people didn’t bother to vote. It’s probably true that low turnout inflates support for anti-EU parties. It is also likely that in general elections in these countries, when more people vote.

But do we really need to solve the ‘problem’ of low turnout? Continue reading

FoI and other DPER reforms very welcome

As the Government renegotiates its priorities and reshuffles the Cabinet, it is an appropriate time to look back and assess the Government’s achievements under its political reform programme.

There has been a good deal of criticism at the slow pace of change and at the apparent absence of an appetite for reform among the Government with little meaningful reform to decrease executive dominance which is arguably among the greatest problems in our system. Continue reading

Reforming the Oireachtas as an Oversight and Accountability Mechanism for Human Rights

CommitteeRoom_4_800Post by Kirsten Roberts*

In democracies, parliaments are crucial in balancing the use of power by the executive and overseeing the functioning of the State. In Ireland this balance is off – with the executive and civil service seemingly unwilling to cede any real control to oversight or accountability mechanisms. While the Oireachtas has been prominent as perhaps the only body able to publicly consider many of the difficult issues that have arisen this year – from whistleblowers to the charities sector – its role as an oversight mechanism is not being fully realised. Continue reading

Independents take top spot in Irish Polling Indicator

Post by Tom Louwerse (Trinity College, Dublin)

IPI_Longitudinal

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