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.
Post by Dr Dawn Walsh, Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security (ICCS), The University of Birmingham.
While the summer of 2014 was marked by a surprisingly quiet ‘marching season’ the issue of parades remains a controversial one in Northern Ireland. The difficulties and disputes around Parades by the Loyal Orders, predominantly the Orange Order, can be seen as a cultural manifestation of a constitutional conflict, which has been managed but not resolved by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. Migration patterns have resulted in a situation where a number of these parades now pass through or skirt nationalist areas if they follow traditional routes. This is unacceptable to the local residents who see them as sectarian and intimidating. However alterations from these traditional routes are equally unacceptable to marchers who view the parades as an integral part of their culture and re-routing as an infringement on their human rights. Continue reading
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
Irish Polling Indicator, update 21 September 2014 Lines display estimates per party, shaded areas indicate 95% uncertainty margins
Fine Gael and Labour show increased popularity in opinion polls in the last months, the Irish Polling Indicator shows. Fine Gael is now on 26% with Labour at 8%, which represents a 3 percentage point increase for both parties compared to early June. Independents, meanwhile, have seen their support drop from 27% early June to 23% now. Sinn Féin support is now estimated at 22% and Fianna Faíl at 19%; neither party shows a significant change in support over the summer.
It was much commented that turnout in yesterday’s Scottish referendum was very high (at 85%), and some also reported that there had been a surge in voter registrations, with as many as 97% of eligible voters registered to vote. Of course if 97% of eligible voters registered then turnout wasn’t actually 85%, but 82.5% (85*.97 – still pretty impressive). In most countries and many cross-country studies we take the turnout as the number of voters/ number of registered voters. Continue reading