Adrian Kavanagh, 20th and 21st July 2011
The Ispos-MRBI polls, published in the July 20th and July 21st editions of The Irish Times offers good news for Fine Gael and David Norris. My constituency level analysis suggest Fine Gael would win just enough seats to form a single party government based on these figures, while analysis of the presidential election poll figures suggests a win for Norris, who would be predicted to win the election, finishing over 90,000 votes ahead of Gay Mitchell on the final count.
The latest edition of the Irish Times Ispos-MRBI series of opinion polls almost mirrors recent Red C and Millward Brown opinion polls and offers very good news for Fine Gael whose support levels remain strong some months after February’s general election. Applying my constituency level analysis to these figures, seat estimates based on the simulated constituency support estimates suggest that Fine Gael could win a sufficient number of seats to form a majority single-party government if these figures were to be replicated in an election held today. The July 21st Irish Times Ispos-MRBI poll puts national support levels for the main political parties and groupings as follows: Fine Gael 38% (up 1% relative to the last Ispos-MRBI poll on 18th February 2011), Labour 18% (down 1%), Fianna Fail 18% (up 2%), Sinn Fein 10% (down 1%), Green Party 2% (as was), Independents and Others 14% (down 1%).
Based solely on assigning seats on the basis of the constituency support estimates (simply using a d’Hondt method to determine which party wins the seats), party seat levels would be estimated as follows: Fine Gael 78, Labour 30, Fianna Fail 30, Sinn Fein 8, Green Party 0, Others 20. When the factors of vote transfers and vote splitting/management (based on vote transfer/management patterns oberved in the February 2011 election) are accounted for and constituency marginality levels at the February 2011 election taken account of, the party seat levels would more than likely be as follows: Fine Gael 83, Labour 32, Fianna Fail 22, Sinn Fein 16, Green Party 0, Others 13.
The constituency support estimates based on the poll figures are as follows:
|Cork North Central||16%||28%||25%||15%||1%||15%|
|Cork North West||25%||50%||13%||7%||2%||3%|
|Cork South Central||29%||36%||17%||8%||3%||7%|
|Cork South West||24%||50%||13%||7%||2%||4%|
|Donegal North East||18%||33%||10%||25%||1%||14%|
|Donegal South West||23%||21%||5%||33%||1%||17%|
|Dublin Mid West||12%||33%||29%||12%||4%||10%|
|Dublin North Central||13%||40%||21%||6%||1%||19%|
|Dublin North East||12%||31%||32%||12%||2%||10%|
|Dublin North West||12%||18%||41%||22%||1%||5%|
|Dublin South Central||10%||25%||33%||14%||2%||15%|
|Dublin South East||12%||38%||24%||4%||7%||16%|
|Dublin South West||11%||30%||34%||17%||1%||7%|
|Kerry North-West Limerick||12%||43%||18%||20%||1%||6%|
Seat guesstimates based solely on these figures (using a d’Hondt method to determine which party wins the seats in a constituency) and also taking account of the fact that Sean Barrett as Ceann Comhairle would be automatically re-elected in Dun Laoighaire, guaranteeing a Fine Gael seat there:
|Cork North Central||1||1||1||1|
|Cork North West||1||2|
|Cork South Central||2||2||1|
|Cork South West||1||2|
|Donegal North East||1||1||1|
|Donegal South West||1||1||1|
|Dublin Mid West||2||2|
|Dublin North Central||2||1|
|Dublin North East||1||2|
|Dublin North West||2||1|
|Dublin South Central||1||2||1||1|
|Dublin South East||2||1||1|
|Dublin South West||1||2||1|
|Kerry North-West Limerick||2||1|
When the model is amended to account for seats that may be won 0r lost on the basis of number of candidates (e.g. Others being allocated a seat in Laois-Offaly mainly due to the large number of independent candidates who contested this constituency), vote transfers and vote management (e.g. discrepancies between votes won by party front runners and their running mates which would see potential seat wins fall out of a party’s hands), the seat allocations across the constituencies would look more like this:
|Cork North Central||1||1||1||1||4|
|Cork North West||1||2||3|
|Cork South Central||1||3||1||5|
|Cork South West||1||2||3|
|Donegal North East||1||1||1||3|
|Donegal South West||1||1||1||3|
|Dublin Mid West||2||1||1||4|
|Dublin North Central||1||1||1||3|
|Dublin North East||1||2||3|
|Dublin North West||1||1||1||3|
|Dublin South Central||1||2||1||1||5|
|Dublin South East||1||2||1||4|
|Dublin South West||1||2||1||4|
|Kerry North-West Limerick||1||1||1||3|
Even though support levels for Labour, Sinn Féin and Others groups have not changed significantly, the 1% loss of support by these parties added to increasing support levels for Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael means that some of their more marginal seats are seen to fall into Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s hands, with Fianna Fáil predicted to gain two extra seats and Fine Gael six extra seats, leaving the latter with just enough seats to form a single party government.
The July 20th Irish Times Ispos-MRBI poll puts support for the main candidates expected to be in October’s presidential election contest as follows: David Norris 25%. Gay Mitchell 21%, Michael D. Higgins 18%, Sean Gallagher 13%, Mary Davis 12%, Eamonn Cuiv 11% with second preferences expected to go as follows based on the poll figures: David Norris 10%. Gay Mitchell 8%, Michael D. Higgins 14%, Sean Gallagher 9%, Mary Davis 10%, Eamonn Cuiv 4%, Non Transferable 45%. Based on these poll figures, I would predict that David Norris will win the election, beating Gay Mitchell on the final count by 533,329 votes to 442,550 votes.
First step in this model will be to estimate the turnout for the election. The turnout is likely to be lower than the turnout for the general election, but there will be likely to be more people voting than in the previous presidential election in 2007. Fortunately there was also a general election in 2007 and this can offer a yardstick to help guesstimate the turnout. The numbers turning out to vote increased by 24.1% between the general elections of 1997 (1,806,932 voting) and 2011 (2,243,176 voting). Applying the same level of increase to the number that turned out to vote in the presidential election of 1997 (1,279,688) gives us a turnout of 1,588,641 voters.
Based on the poll figures and this estimated turnout value, the first count would be as follows:
Following the elimination of Cuiv and distribution of his transfers (in line with second preference poll figures), the second count would be as follows:
Following the elimination of Davis and distribution of her transfers, the third count would be as follows:
Following the elimination of Gallagher and distribution of his transfers, the fourth count would be as follows:
Following the elimination of Higgins and distribution of his transfers, the fourth count would be as follows:
Of course it must be noted that it is very much early days in terms of the presidential race. While two candidates have been formally nominated to contest the election by their parties (Higgins and Mitchell) and two other candidates (Gallagher and Davis) have attained sufficient endorsements from local authorities to be allowed to stand, we still do not know what the final line-up of candidates will look like. Indeed the current front-runner, David Norris, has not yet ensured that he will be a candidate, either via the Oireachtas nomination or the local authority nomination route. Indeed, with final nominations not being decided on until September, there is a chance that the actual winning candidate may not yet have entered the race! With the formal campaign will not starting until September, this race is still very much up for grabs.