Seat estimates for Irish Independent-Millward Brown Lansdowne and Paddy Power-Red C opinion polls, 23rd February

The Millward Brown Lansdowne opinion poll, published in the 23rd February edition of The Irish Independent estimates party support as follows: Fianna Fail 14%, Fine Gael 38%, Labour 20%, Green Party 1%, Sinn Fein 11%, Others 16%. Based solely on these poll figures, my uniform-swing constituency level analysis models seat estimates for the different parties/groupings as follows: Fianna Fail 17, Fine Gael 78, Labour 37, Green Party 0, Sinn Fein 14, Others 20 (11 Left-leaning (including 6 ULA), 9 Right-leaning).

The Red C poll for Paddy Power (23rd February) estimates party support as follows: Fianna Fail 15%, Fine Gael 40%, Labour 18%, Green Party 3%, Sinn Fein 10%, Others 14%. Based solely on these poll figures, my uniform-swing constituency level analysis models seat estimates for the different parties/groupings as follows: Fianna Fail 21, Fine Gael 80, Labour 34, Green Party 0, Sinn Fein 13, Others 18 (11 Left-leaning (including 6 ULA), 7 Right-leaning).Seat levels for different coalition options, based on the Millward Brown Lansdowne figures, would stand as follows: Fine Gael/Labour 115 seats (majority of 64 seats), Fine Gael/”Right-leaning” Independents-Others 87 seats (majority of 8 seats), Fine Gael/Fianna Fail 95 (majority of 24 seats), Fianna Fail/Labour 54 seats, Fianna Fail/Labour/Sinn Fein 68 seats, “Left Coalition” 625 seats, Fine Gael/Green Party 78 seats, Fine Gael/”Right-leaning” Independents-Others/Green Party 87 seats (majority of 8 seats). As noted already, the Others grouping is a very broad church, involving a number of left-leaning independents and smaller parties (including the United Left Alliance grouping), as well as business/reform independents and disaffected former members of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour. Looking at the constituencies where the model assigns seats to the Others, it would look as if 11 of the 20 seats allocated would fall to left-leaning independents/smaller parties, including six seats for United Left Alliance candidates (Barry – Cork NC, Daly – Dublin N, Collins – Dublin SC, Higgins – Dublin W, Boyd Barrett – Dun L, Healy – Tipperary S).

Based on thes Milward Brown-Lansdowne poll figures the model estimates party support levels by constituency as follows:

  FF FG LB SF GP OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 20% 49% 21% 7% 2% 0%
Cavan-Monaghan 12% 41% 2% 30% 1% 14%
Clare 16% 51% 3% 6% 1% 23%
Cork East 12% 40% 36% 10% 1% 1%
Cork North Central 11% 33% 20% 11% 1% 25%
Cork North West 22% 65% 11% 0% 1% 0%
Cork South Central 18% 46% 20% 9% 2% 5%
Cork South West 16% 54% 20% 9% 2% 0%
Donegal North East 19% 33% 10% 30% 0% 8%
Donegal South West 19% 35% 6% 37% 0% 3%
Dublin Central 14% 12% 21% 13% 1% 38%
Dublin Mid West 13% 31% 24% 17% 3% 12%
Dublin North 16% 22% 20% 5% 4% 33%
Dublin North Central 15% 34% 13% 6% 1% 32%
Dublin North East 14% 33% 30% 22% 1% 0%
Dublin North West 17% 14% 38% 25% 1% 6%
Dublin South 18% 47% 25% 6% 3% 1%
Dublin South Central 9% 17% 33% 13% 1% 26%
Dublin South East 11% 29% 36% 9% 3% 11%
Dublin South West 12% 25% 34% 18% 1% 10%
Dublin West 11% 24% 28% 7% 1% 30%
Dun Laoghaire 12% 32% 30% 3% 2% 21%
Galway East 13% 60% 6% 5% 0% 16%
Galway West 12% 26% 19% 4% 1% 38%
Kerry North-West Limerick 9% 38% 18% 28% 0% 6%
Kerry South 12% 30% 22% 5% 0% 31%
Kildare North 12% 27% 30% 4% 1% 26%
Kildare South 21% 28% 46% 0% 2% 3%
Laois-Offaly 26% 51% 6% 11% 0% 5%
Limerick City 20% 42% 23% 8% 1% 5%
Limerick    20% 67% 13% 0% 1% 0%
Longford-Westmeath 13% 41% 39% 6% 0% 1%
Louth 16% 44% 10% 26% 2% 2%
Mayo 8% 73% 11% 8% 0% 0%
Meath East 15% 35% 22% 6% 1% 22%
Meath West 20% 46% 9% 20% 1% 4%
Roscommon-South Leitrim 13% 52% 20% 13% 0% 1%
Sligo-North Leitrim 14% 56% 8% 19% 1% 3%
Tipperary North 9% 16% 14% 4% 0% 57%
Tipperary South 6% 20% 11% 3% 0% 59%
Waterford 16% 38% 21% 11% 0% 14%
Wexford 15% 45% 26% 12% 0% 2%
Wicklow 6% 24% 23% 6% 1% 40%

Based on these constituency support estimates, the destination of seats by constituency would be guesstimated as follows (looking solely at first preferences and not considering likely transfer patterns):

  FF FG LB SF GP OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 1 3 1      
Cavan-Monaghan   2   2   1
Clare   3       1
Cork East   2 2      
Cork North Central   2 1     1
Cork North West 1 2        
Cork South Central 1 3 1      
Cork South West   2 1      
Donegal North East 1 1   1    
Donegal South West 1 1   1    
Dublin Central 1   1 1   1
Dublin Mid West   2 1 1    
Dublin North 1 1 1     1
Dublin North Central   2       1
Dublin North East   1 1 1    
Dublin North West     2 1    
Dublin South 1 3 1      
Dublin South Central   1 2 1   1
Dublin South East   2 2      
Dublin South West   1 2 1    
Dublin West   1 2     1
Dun Laoghaire   2 1     1
Galway East   3       1
Galway West   2 1     2
Kerry North-West Limerick   2   1    
Kerry South   1 1     1
Kildare North   1 2     1
Kildare South 1 1 1      
Laois-Offaly 2 3        
Limerick City 1 2 1      
Limerick    1 2        
Longford-Westmeath   2 2      
Louth 2 2   1    
Mayo   4 1      
Meath East   1 1     1
Meath West   2   1    
Roscommon-South Leitrim   2 1      
Sligo-North Leitrim   2   1    
Tipperary North   1 1     1
Tipperary South   1       2
Waterford 1 2 1      
Wexford 1 3 1      
Wicklow   2 1     2
STATE 17 78 37 14 0 20

Based on the Red C poll figures, this model would estimate constituency support levels for the parties as follows:

  FF FG LB SF GP OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 20% 49% 18% 6% 6% 0%
Cavan-Monaghan 13% 43% 2% 27% 2% 12%
Clare 17% 53% 3% 5% 3% 20%
Cork East 13% 42% 33% 9% 2% 1%
Cork North Central 12% 35% 18% 10% 2% 23%
Cork North West 23% 65% 10% 0% 3% 0%
Cork South Central 18% 46% 17% 8% 6% 4%
Cork South West 16% 55% 17% 8% 4% 0%
Donegal North East 20% 35% 10% 27% 1% 7%
Donegal South West 21% 37% 5% 34% 1% 2%
Dublin Central 16% 13% 20% 13% 4% 35%
Dublin Mid West 14% 32% 21% 15% 8% 10%
Dublin North 17% 22% 18% 4% 12% 28%
Dublin North Central 16% 36% 12% 5% 3% 28%
Dublin North East 15% 34% 26% 20% 4% 0%
Dublin North West 19% 15% 36% 24% 2% 5%
Dublin South 18% 47% 21% 5% 8% 1%
Dublin South Central 11% 18% 31% 13% 3% 24%
Dublin South East 12% 30% 31% 8% 10% 10%
Dublin South West 14% 27% 31% 16% 2% 9%
Dublin West 12% 26% 26% 6% 2% 27%
Dun Laoghaire 13% 34% 27% 3% 5% 18%
Galway East 14% 62% 5% 4% 1% 14%
Galway West 13% 28% 18% 4% 3% 34%
Kerry North-West Limerick 10% 41% 16% 26% 1% 6%
Kerry South 13% 33% 20% 5% 1% 28%
Kildare North 14% 29% 28% 3% 3% 24%
Kildare South 22% 29% 41% 0% 5% 3%
Laois-Offaly 27% 52% 5% 10% 1% 5%
Limerick City 21% 44% 21% 7% 2% 4%
Limerick    20% 67% 11% 0% 2% 0%
Longford-Westmeath 15% 43% 35% 5% 1% 1%
Louth 16% 45% 9% 23% 5% 2%
Mayo 9% 74% 10% 7% 0% 0%
Meath East 16% 37% 20% 6% 2% 19%
Meath West 21% 47% 8% 18% 2% 4%
Roscommon-South Leitrim 14% 54% 18% 12% 1% 1%
Sligo-North Leitrim 15% 57% 7% 17% 2% 2%
Tipperary North 10% 18% 14% 4% 1% 54%
Tipperary South 7% 22% 11% 3% 1% 56%
Waterford 17% 40% 19% 10% 1% 12%
Wexford 16% 47% 24% 11% 1% 2%
Wicklow 7% 26% 21% 6% 4% 37%
STATE 15% 40% 18% 10% 3% 14%

Based on these constituency support estimates, the destination of seats would be guesstimated as follows:

  FF FG LB SF GP OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 1 3 1      
Cavan-Monaghan 1 2   2    
Clare   3       1
Cork East   2 2      
Cork North Central   2 1     1
Cork North West 1 2        
Cork South Central 1 3 1      
Cork South West   2 1      
Donegal North East 1 1   1    
Donegal South West 1 1   1    
Dublin Central 1   1 1   1
Dublin Mid West   2 1 1    
Dublin North 1 1 1     1
Dublin North Central   2       1
Dublin North East   1 1 1    
Dublin North West 1   1 1    
Dublin South 1 3 1      
Dublin South Central   1 2 1   1
Dublin South East   2 2      
Dublin South West   1 2 1    
Dublin West   2 1     1
Dun Laoghaire   2 1     1
Galway East 1 3        
Galway West   2 1     2
Kerry North-West Limerick   2   1    
Kerry South   1 1     1
Kildare North   2 1     1
Kildare South 1 1 1      
Laois-Offaly 2 3        
Limerick City 1 2 1      
Limerick    1 2        
Longford-Westmeath   2 2      
Louth 2 2   1    
Mayo   4 1      
Meath East   1 1     1
Meath West 1 2        
Roscommon-South Leitrim   2 1      
Sligo-North Leitrim   2   1    
Tipperary North   1 1     1
Tipperary South   1       2
Waterford 1 2 1      
Wexford 1 3 1      
Wicklow   2 1     2
STATE 21 80 34 13 0 18

As noted a number of times previously, this is a very rough model based on a “uniform swing” assumption – assuming that the national swing from the 2007 general election support levels to current opinion poll support levels would be replicated exactly in each constituency. As a result, this model does over-inflate constituency support estimates in constituencies where parties/groupings are already starting from a very high base; e.g. Fine Gael in Mayo, Labour in Kildare South, Others in Dublin Central, Galway West, Tipperary North and Wicklow. But, in terms of the overall national estimation of seat estimates it could be argued that the over-estimation of support levels in some constituencies is compensated for by under-estimating the probable party support levels in other constituencies; e.g. Fine Gael in Dublin Central and Wicklow, Labour in Dublin North Central and Louth, Others in constituencies such as Dublin South, Mayo, Wexford and Donegal North East – hence, the award of an extra seat to a party, or grouping, in an “over-estimated” constituency may be compensated by the “non-award” of a seat in an “under-estimated constituency”.

The high national support level for the Others grouping probably cannot be adequately illustrated as, given that it is based around 2007 support patterns, it cannot detect areas where new independent and small party candidates did not do well in 2007 but may poll exceptionally well in this coming election; e.g. Kilcoyne in Mayo, Blaney in Donegal North East, Ross in Dublin South, Somerville in Dublin South East, Dillon in Limerick, Wallace in Wexford. In thes case of constituencies such as Dublin South, Mayo, Limerick and Wexford, seats assigned by the model to the parties might well fall to such independents in the “real election”. 

Fianna Fail’s percentage share of seats won is well below their admittedly disappointing percentage share of the vote in this poll – Fianna Fail would be winning 23 seats  (Millward Brown-Lansdowne) or 25 seats (Red C) if their percentage share of seats was similar to that of their percentage share of the vote.  The relatively low level of seats being allocated to Fianna Fail can be related to the party’s geography of support; their traditional catch-all pattern of support means that there are no dramatic regional variations in party support.  This catch-all support pattern was a strength for the party when their national support level was polling in the high 30s and low 40s (and indeed my earlier poll analyses awarded Fianna Fail significant seat bonuses even when polls were estimating their support levels to be in the mid 20s), but it is a decided handicap for Fianna Fail once the party’s support levels fall to such a low level.  When party national support levels are as low as this, a small party will win seats by relying on uneven support patterns – winning high support levels in some constituencies, in turn being balanced by winning very low support levels in other constituencies). For parties such as Sinn Fein and the Green Party, uneven geographies of support are usually a strength – if they were winning similar levels of support everywhere they would be struggling to win any seats at all. But if party support levels are evenly spread in relative terms, as is the norm with Fianna Fail, then a party with support levels in the low-to-mid teens will find itself with support levels below the quota in a significant number constituencies.  This also ties in with my idea that there is for every party a “tipping point”, or even a number of such tipping points, in their national support levels – should their support levels fall below these “tipping points” then their seat losses will be particularly exacerbated, as indeed happened with Fine Gael in the 2002 election. It is also worth noting that this model does not take account of the fact that Fianna Fail’s loss in support will be accompanied by an equal decline in vote transfers from other parties. Furthermore, as Fianna Fail are running more than one candidate in all constituencies, the party’s declining support will be split between two or more candidates; a factor that could even see Fianna Fail seat losses being further exacerbated.

To make matters worse for Fianna Fail, one of the 17 seats allocated to the party, based on the Millward-Brown figures, in this model would be Seamus Kirk’s seat in Louth, held by virtue of his position as Ceann Comhairle. On these seat levels, the Fianna Fail parliamentary party would look something like this: Seamus Kirk, John McGuinness, Michael Moynihan, Michael Martin, Charlie McConalogue, Mary Coughlan, Mary Fitzpatrick, Michael Kennedy, Maria Corrigan, Sean Power, Barry Cowen, John Moloney, Willie O’Dea, Niall Collins, Declan Breathnach, Brendan Kenneally, John Browne.

If the likely transfer toxicity of Fianna Fail  in this election is also factored in, as well as the impact of splitting the party vote between two or more candidates, the it is likely that some of these 17 seats (or 21 seats in the case of the Red C poll), assigned by the model to the party, would fall out of Fianna Fail’s hands. Some of these seats may also fall into the hands of strong new independent candidates, which the model cannot take account of, as discussed earlier.

The model predicts that Fine Gael would win 78 seats based on the Milward Brown-Lansdowne figures and 80 seats based on the Red C figures. The reality is that the party would also be highly likely win a seat in Dublin Central which the poll fails to detect due to the low base of support there from the 2007 election (of course, there may be other constituencies where the Fine Gael vote is over-estimated and the seats predicted here may not fall to the party – possibly the third seats in constituencies where the party is predicted to win three out of four seats, while the high level of Fine Gael seats predicted within Cork may possibl not arise following the election of a Fianna Fail leader from that county). Over and above the 79-81 seats level (once Dublin Central is included), are there any other constituencies where Fine Gael could realistically win extra seats to push them closer to an overall majority?  The most likely contenders would include a seat in Dublin North West, second seats in Dublin North and Meath East, and a third potential seat in Cavan-Monaghan and Wicklow. As the party’s national support levels edges closer to the 40 per cent mark and the “Kenny Krusade” gains pace, the prospects of an overall Fine Gael majority increase, but on the present high-30s poll levels it must be said the party effectively requires a perfect storm of good fortune in terms of vote transfers and political opportunity spaces across a number of constituencies in order to hit the magic 83 seat mark. However, the likelihood of an overall majority for the party could be heightened further should Fine Gael-leaning voters turn out to vote in greater numbers than those supporting other parties on Friday – in which case Fine Gael poll standings in the high 30s could well translate into an election result in the low 40s and the ultimate achievement of the overall majority.

Over the course of the past few months, these poll analyses have observed a Gilmore Gale (especially over the summer and autumn of 2010) surge in Labour support, then later (in the wake of the Donegal South-West by-election and the Budget) in December 2010/January 2011 a “Doherty Drive” and “Kenny Krusade” surge in Sinn Fein and Fine Gael support, with a mini “Martin-mo” revival in Fianna Fail fortunes in late January 2011. Ultimately the post-Budget “Kenny Krusade”,  accompanied by a “Noonan-Nudge”, would appear to have been the most significant of all these trends in terms of shaping this weekend’s election result and the composition of the next government, though it looks as if (barrign the adverse effects of differential voter turnout levels) the Gilmore Gale and Doherty Drive should also translate into Labour and Sinn Fein seat gains. But what of the Martin-mo? Unless this picks up momentum over the next few days, or unless candidate effects and higher turnout propensity amongst Fianna Fail-leaning voters act to save the party, what is likely to be a bad weekend for Fianna Fail could turn out to be a very, very bad weekend…

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16 thoughts on “Seat estimates for Irish Independent-Millward Brown Lansdowne and Paddy Power-Red C opinion polls, 23rd February

  1. Unless FG vote-manage to the nth degree, Spring will win for Labour in Kerry North/West Limerick, making it FG 1, Lab 1, SF 1.

  2. So on these results is it possible that Sinn Fein and some of the more lefter type independents could form a technical group with more seats than Fianna Fáil and be the official opposition – the hideousness of someone like Gerry Adams being elected to the Dáil and being leader of the opposition is sickening.

    • Perhaps this sentiment mirror the reaction of earlier generations to de Valera and FF first going into the Dáil and then winning power – to say nothing of non-Sinn Féin supporters in Northern Ireland in our time?

      But isn’t this change of course what we want, as a minimum in terms of being able to change governments and/or policies without resort to violence?

      With this as a base we still have a lot of work to do to enhance our democracy ie. embedding both Swedish-style Freedom of Information and Swiss-style direct democracy in our constitution.

      • I suppose I agree with donal it would far better to have fianna fail lead the oppossiton with their record for fraud, tioseach with no bank accounts, changing currency in the back seat of a car in the car park in England, jobs for the boys,Galway tents for their property developers friends, their lies, brown envelopes. That’s what we need leading the opposition rather those shinners and jailbirds

    • Desmond Fitzgerald writes : “the hideousness of someone like Gerry Adams being elected to the Dáil and being leader of the opposition is sickening.”

      Please elaborate.

      Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny made indirect approaches to Sinn Féin (via the Green Party) in 2007 seeking their support for the vote on a new taoiseach after that year’s General Election.

      As previosly discussed on this site, Fine Gael happily made ex IRA Chief of Staff Seán MacBride a government minister in the 1948 Inter-Party government.

      For more on the pitfalls of selective condemnations see :

      http://thebrokenelbow.com/2011/02/21/micheal-martin-gerry-adams-and-martin-mcguinness/

      • Both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael originated in Sinn Fein. De Valera and Michael Collins etc. were in both the IRA and Sinn Fein.
        Be realistic, Times have changed and are still changing.

  3. problem with limerick county poll with 101 per cent voting and no votes for independents with paddy power having john Dillon at 5/8. something wrong here i wonder how accurate are your polls as this is the only constitiuency i know

  4. soory you seem to have ereased my last post. there is something wrong with you poll for limerick (county) the total poll is 101 per cent and no vote for independents, while paddy power has john Dillon IND at 5/8 to get elected, while he is recording no vote on your poll, just wondering what is the problem here

  5. Adrian,

    The regional breakdown of the Red C poll places FG eight points ahead of Labour, with FF in fourth place behind Sinn Fein. So it FG 32% in the capital compared with Labour’s 26%. This has implications for Labour second seat gains in Dublin; and the anticipated seats may instead fall either to Fine Gael or Sinn Fein. Labour’s strong showing drops back once you get outside Dublin; particularly in Connaught-Ulster where they are only on 9%.Your estimates for Labour seats total may be way too high, when the vote is broken down regionally? And that’s even before you take ‘personality’ factors into account in each constituency. also, wiht the Greens at 5% in Dublin, this might reflect the possibility of that party maintaining its presence in both Dublin South and Dublin North.

  6. Probably just a typo but would imagine that FG would be taking a seat in Dublin Central with Paschal Donohoe with these figures

  7. I agree, Paschal seems like a dead cert, and I can’t see FF holding a seat here.

    More importantly, what do we need to do to get the ‘Left Coalition’ of 625 seats? – now there’d be some change!

    Thanks for all these posts, they’ve been fascinating.

  8. Where is the Indepedent in Meath East coming from???? Surely 2 FG

    Here is how I see the Fianna Fail seats panning out (absolute meltdown contrary to Media Optimism (wishful thinking!):

    1. Carlow Kilkenny 1. John McGuinness
    2. Cavan Monaghan 2. Brendan Smith
    3. Clare 3. Timmy Dooley
    4. Cork North West 4. Michael Moynihan
    5. Cork South Central
    5. Michael Martin
    6. Donegal North East 6. Charlie McConalogue
    7. Donegal South West 7. Mary Coughlan
    8. Dublin Mid-West 8. John Curran
    9. Dublin West 9. Brian Lenihan
    10. Galway East 10. Michael Kitt
    11. Galway West
    11. Eamon O’Cuiv
    12. Kildare South 12. Sean Power
    13. Laois Offaly 13. Barry Cowen
    14. Limerick City 14. Willie O’Dea
    15. Limerick 15. Niall Collins
    16. Louth
    16. Seamus Kirk
    17. Mayo 17. Dara Calleary
    18. Sligo North LeitrimMarc McSharry
    19. Waterford 19. Brendan Keneally
    20. Wexford 20. Sean Connick

    • Dooley will not win a seat in Clare. Even giving FF a few extra percent than the polls – the vote will split between him and Hillery with neither getting enough on their own and not transferring to each other. Clare will be 3 FG + 1 ind or lab. Lab is the most interesting with local polls miles our of kilter (3 or 4 times higher) than all national polls. That’s a real puzzle.

  9. Looking at the constituency breakdown I think F O’Toole could have been a lot more fair in his disappointment with the Irish people if he had qualified it. Lets look at the FF+FG scores per constituency.

    Its time left wing commentators said the obvious.

    Its the Culchies Stupid!

  10. I picked up on your analysis of Dublin Central two weeks ago and yet you still aren’t predicting a seat for FG here.

    I don’t know how you are basing your figures but they don’t reflect reality in Dublin Central. Even his competitors accept that Pascal Donohoe is going to take a seat for FG here.

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