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
By Eoin O’Malley
The latest opinion poll (analysed here) indicates that the Labour party is bearing the brunt of governing whereas Fine Gael and Enda Kenny seem to be enjoying an extended honeymoon with the electorate. This is backed up by the analysis of polcors in Ireland, one of whom reported here that Gilmore was seen as ‘dithering’ and ineffectual in cabinet. reports of Kenny’s performance in cabinet are that he is effective and fair – surprising many. So do small parties always do badly in government, and if so why?
Eoin O’Malley (28 February, 2011)
Although the election was a seismic event in the redevelopment of the Irish party system, the decisions made in the next week as to the structure of the government will have a greater long term impact. The decision Labour has to take as to whether to go into government or not seems to have already been taken if we consider the noises made by senior Labour members at the weekend. But if the party were considering more than getting bums on seats in ministerial mercs (or the share of a Prius) then it should pause for thought. Continue reading
By Michael Gallagher
In essence there are two ways of trying to convert opinion poll findings regarding voting intentions into seat totals for the political parties. One, employed in the earlier post by Adrian Kavanagh (5 Feb, two posts below this one), is to assume uniform swing across the country; apply this to the party vote shares across each of the 43 constituencies to arrive at new predicted vote shares in each if them; make inferences about what this vote distribution within each constituency would mean for the allocation of seats there; then add up the constituency totals to produce an overall national result. Continue reading
By Michael Gallagher
With the election now just a few months away, possibly even closer, we should have a clear idea of how the parties will line up in the 31st Dáil. Nonetheless, there is evidently still a good deal of fluidity in voting intentions. Fianna Fáil support is rather like the banks’ liabilities: every time we feel that a bottom has finally been determined, there turn out to be further depths yet to which the graph can plummet. All that we have learned over the years tells us that FF cannot possibly poll as low as the 17 or 18 per cent at which recent surveys have recorded it, never mind the 13 per cent of last week’s poll, but this is the first election since 1927 that FF has gone into knowing it is doomed to defeat whatever it does, and much of what we have learned over the years does not seem to apply any more. Continue reading