Latest Red C Poll – Fianna Fail down to just 32 seats?

Adrian Kavanagh 23 September 2010

Latest Red C Poll figures, to be published in tomorrow’s (24 October) Sunday Business Post – Fianna Fail 18% (down 6%), Fine Gael 32% (up 1%), LAB 27% (up 4%), Green Party 4% (up 1%), Sinn Fein 9% (down 1%), Independents/Other small parties 10% (up 2%)

On these figures, my constituency level analysis estimmates the party’s seat allocations as follows – FF 32, FG 64, LAB 50, GP 0, SF 7, OTH 13

Constituency estimates of party support based on changed levels of support since General Election 2007:

  FF FG LB GP SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 22.5% 37.7% 27.1% 7.4% 5.4% 0.0%
Cavan-Monaghan 17.3% 38.7% 3.4% 3.3% 27.5% 9.9%
Clare 21.9% 47.3% 4.8% 5.0% 5.1% 16.0%
Cork East 13.7% 30.0% 46.3% 2.1% 7.3% 0.7%
Cork North Central 13.7% 28.5% 29.0% 2.7% 9.3% 16.8%
Cork North West 27.3% 53.5% 15.6% 3.7% 0.0% 0.0%
Cork South Central 20.5% 35.5% 26.3% 7.6% 7.1% 3.0%
Cork South West 18.7% 42.8% 26.1% 5.8% 6.7% 0.0%
Donegal North East 25.1% 30.5% 5.6% 1.3% 26.1% 11.3%
Donegal South West 25.3% 31.1% 8.6% 1.5% 31.8% 1.7%
Dublin Central 17.9% 10.4% 31.1% 4.6% 11.0% 25.1%
Dublin Mid West 14.9% 14.6% 30.3% 9.6% 12.5% 18.1%
Dublin North 18.9% 17.0% 26.5% 14.7% 3.6% 19.3%
Dublin North Central 19.2% 30.2% 19.6% 4.5% 4.9% 21.6%
Dublin North East 16.0% 25.0% 37.6% 5.3% 16.1% 0.0%
Dublin North West 18.7% 10.3% 47.8% 2.1% 18.0% 3.2%
Dublin South 19.6% 34.9% 30.4% 10.3% 4.3% 0.5%
Dublin South Central 11.4% 13.4% 44.7% 3.9% 10.4% 16.2%
Dublin South East 12.1% 21.2% 43.1% 11.5% 5.9% 6.2%
Dublin South West 14.2% 19.6% 44.4% 2.6% 13.1% 6.1%
Dublin West 13.8% 20.3% 38.7% 2.7% 5.3% 19.1%
Dun Laoghaire 14.0% 25.5% 39.4% 6.1% 2.6% 12.4%
Galway East 19.6% 52.2% 9.5% 1.8% 4.7% 12.1%
Galway West 18.2% 27.0% 33.4% 5.3% 4.3% 11.7%
Kerry North-West Limerick 12.0% 33.4% 25.7% 1.4% 23.4% 4.2%
Kerry South 15.7% 26.2% 32.0% 1.4% 4.1% 20.6%
Kildare North 15.0% 21.7% 40.7% 3.7% 2.8% 16.2%
Kildare South 20.9% 19.3% 52.9% 5.1% 0.0% 1.8%
Laois-Offaly 33.5% 43.9% 8.7% 1.3% 9.1% 3.5%
Limerick City 23.7% 33.6% 30.9% 2.5% 6.1% 3.1%
Limerick    24.3% 55.5% 17.8% 2.4% 0.0% 0.0%
Longford-Westmeath 16.5% 33.5% 43.5% 1.4% 4.7% 0.6%
Louth 19.6% 36.9% 14.2% 6.9% 20.9% 1.4%
Mayo 10.0% 59.7% 2.9% 0.7% 6.2% 20.4%
Meath East 18.3% 29.5% 30.9% 2.6% 5.0% 13.7%
Meath West 25.9% 39.4% 12.5% 2.5% 17.0% 2.7%
Roscommon-South Leitrim 17.7% 48.2% 5.1% 1.6% 11.5% 15.9%
Sligo-North Leitrim 19.0% 49.2% 11.1% 2.8% 16.2% 1.8%
Tipperary North 12.7% 15.9% 23.4% 0.8% 4.2% 42.9%
Tipperary South 20.1% 24.7% 23.3% 1.3% 4.0% 26.6%
Waterford 19.8% 31.4% 29.6% 1.8% 8.5% 8.9%
Wexford 17.6% 35.7% 35.4% 1.0% 9.2% 1.1%
Wicklow 14.6% 24.0% 38.5% 5.6% 5.7% 11.6%
STATE 18.0% 32.0% 27.0% 4.0% 9.0% 10.0%

Based on these support estimates, seats would be  allocated within constituencies as follows:

  FF FG LB GP SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 1 2 2      
Cavan-Monaghan 1 2     2  
Clare 1 2       1
Cork East   2 2      
Cork North Central   1 2     1
Cork North West 1 2        
Cork South Central 1 2 2      
Cork South West   2 1      
Donegal North East 1 1     1  
Donegal South West 1 1     1  
Dublin Central 1   2     1
Dublin Mid West 1   2     1
Dublin North 1 1 1     1
Dublin North Central   1 1     1
Dublin North East   1 1   1  
Dublin North West 1   2      
Dublin South 1 2 2      
Dublin South Central   1 3     1
Dublin South East 1 1 2      
Dublin South West 1 1 2      
Dublin West   1 2     1
Dun Laoghaire 1 1 2      
Galway East 1 3        
Galway West 1 2 2      
Kerry North-West Limerick   1 1   1  
Kerry South   1 1     1
Kildare North   1 2     1
Kildare South 1   2      
Laois-Offaly 2 3        
Limerick City 1 2 1      
Limerick    1 2        
Longford-Westmeath 1 1 2      
Louth 2 2     1  
Mayo   4       1
Meath East 1 1 1      
Meath West 1 2        
Roscommon-South Leitrim 1 2        
Sligo-North Leitrim 1 2        
Tipperary North   1 1     1
Tipperary South   1 1     1
Waterford 1 2 1      
Wexford 1 2 2      
Wicklow 1 2 2      
STATE 32 64 50 0 7 13

A few comments. As to Fianna Fail, this is an especially bad poll result, especially given that their consistent poll trends over the past months suggested that their decline in support had now bottomed out in the low 20s; these figures now suggest that their decline in support may not have yet reached its floor level. But also given that their seat allocation here is 17 seats fewer than that allocated on their September poll ratings of 24%; this suggests that there may be a certain “tipping point” level at which falling Fianna Fail support will result in proportionally greater numbers of seat losses that their percentage decline in support would suggest. 

Despite the combined support level of the two main parties now standing at exactly 50%, these findings are especially positive for Fine Gael, whose position as the most popular party in the state based on the Red C figures is especially cemented, but also because the combined number of seats to be allocated to Fianna Fail and Labour (82) is not sufficient for these parties to form an alternate coalition government without support from Sinn Fein or from the Indepdendents/other small parties grouping.  The combined number of seats that a Fine Gael-Labour government would command based on these figures would be 114; could this possibly be too large a number of seats for such a government to function adequately?

While the Green Party are again allocated no seats in the analysis based on these latest poll figures, there is one positive dimension for the party in that they would at least be in contention for seats in a number of Dublin constituencies, such as Dublin North, Dublin South and Dublin South East.

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17 thoughts on “Latest Red C Poll – Fianna Fail down to just 32 seats?

  1. 1. You are stronger than me to resist titling this post something like “Epic Fáil”.

    2. I read recently an Irish commenter note that at every election since 1937, the three main parties’ ordinal results (from most to fewest seats and first preferences) has not changed (although of course FF can drop below the combined FG/ Labour total). An interesting comparison to Australia, which also has a “two and a half party” system with preferential voting, where occasionally the Liberals do win more seats (1975, 1996) than Labor, without the help of the Nationals/ Country Party, but have only ever won more first-preference votes than the ALP at one election I can think of (1966).

    • 1. Will keep that in mind Tom for future posts in case the FF poll figures fall even further…
      2. You could probably go back even to 1932, so long as you take the Cumann na nGaedhal figures to largely resemble those of Fine Gael; of course Labour have occasionally lost their status as third largest party but usually just for one election in every ten.

  2. These results, as well as the last local election results, would also result in a massively different Seanad, could we end up having a Seanad more in line with how it was intended to be originally before Dev changed it into a Dail waiting room? Would this new Seanad be the place for debate and giving voice to the sort of new Ireland we want to rise from the ash of the ‘first’ republic?

  3. Wow! The tipping point analysis is very interesting – probably the point where the small constituency sizes kick in and strart punishing smaller parties relative to larger ones?

    • Think the “tipping point” was especially evident in the FG results in 2002, when the party’s support levels fell below a certain figure it meant it was no longer getting the “seats bonus” that FF and FG ususually get in Irish general elections and actually ended up winning a smaller % of seats than the party’s % share of the vote. Could also explain why Fine Gael seat gains far outstripped their gains in vote terms in the 2007 election…

  4. Interesting that these results might give Lab/ FF and SF a majority but then again Lab isn’t really a left wing party the way SF is.

  5. dublin mid west no FG? with Francis Fitzgerald and Keating (4k+ in locals), with gov chief whip, gogarty and harney in the area??? I don’t think so. God knows who the ‘other’ is.

    • These figures are based sole on the 2007 election figures when Keating ran as an Independent (as did people like Gino Kenny)- if analysis is reworked to take account of changes of party personnel in the meantime then the analysis would have awarded the “independent” seat to Keating/Fine Gael.

  6. Fascinating analysis Adrian, especially the note about a possibility of a Fianna Fáil ‘tipping point’. Very interesting.

    @ Adam: Gino Kenny in People Before Profit as the Other perhaps? He was the first to come to my mind.

  7. I agree with most of the analysis but find it very difficult in the world of realism that labour will win 50 seats. I would predict FF to get 43-46 seats with Labour just hitting 40 and FG possibly breaking the 70 seat margin. remember the next election will be scrutinising policy so i do think there will be a last minute ‘trust’ issue with the electorate and labour will lose 3-5% on election day as compared to the most recent poll up until then. Thoughts?

    • Quite probably Keith, but FF will need to be winning a much higher share of the vote than 18% if they are to get their seat numbers into the 40s; similarly if Labour are in the high 20s in terms of their share of the popular vote then they will win close to 50 seats.

  8. There will be 43 General Elections on Polling Day and each Constituency will have a good local flavour despite the “Tail Winds”. Places like Mayo, Roscommon/Leitrim, Limerick City, Limerick County,Cork North Central, Sligo/Nt.Leitrim, Clare, East Galway and McBrierty in Donegal could give a Labour surprise.

    • Quite likely – if Labour support ends in high 20s, the effect of selecting a strong local candidate could see higher than anticipated swings to Labour, especially in some of their weaker constituencies where they’ve selected former independents to run for them who would have already built up their own personal vote base. On the other hand, some of the seats allocated by the model may not pan out in reality; e.g. a second Labour seat in Kildare South.

  9. Can foresee a qualitative tipping point (as well as the quantitative PR one): there is always a psychological advantage in being a market leader, whether we’re talking about breakfast cereals or political parties. It is however well documented, that when a brand leader is shown to be in rapid decline, that decline becomes self perpetuating. FF has always been the largest party because it has always been the largest party. If the emperor is shown to have no clothes, it will be interesting as to whether this meteroric decent continues.

  10. This is the most important sentence in the article:
    “The combined number of seats that a Fine Gael-Labour government would command based on these figures would be 114; could this possibly be too large a number of seats for such a government to function adequately?”

    We need to talk!

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