Taxi for Fianna Fail? Sunday Independent-Millward Brown Lansdowne poll 18th September 2011

The Sunday Independent-Millward Brown Lansdowne poll offers a somewhat different picture of the political landscape to the Sunday Times/Behaviour & Attitudes poll of 4th September. While it continues the trend of strong poll showings by Fine Gael, this poll sees Labour’s standings back at the levels enjoyed by the party earlier in the year and marks a stark contrast to the 12% support level for that party in the Sunday Times poll. The most dramatic figure however is the exceptionally low 10% rating for Fianna Fail, meaning that if support levels for all parties and groupings were exactly replicated in a general election contest that Fianna Fail would just about have enough TDs left to fill a taxi.

The September 4th Sunday Independent-Millward Brown Lansdowne poll puts national support levels for the main political parties and groupings as follows: Fine Gael 40%, Labour 20%, Fianna Fail 10%, Sinn Fein 11%, Green Party 2%, Independents and Others 17%.

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 91, Labour 36, Fianna Fail 3, Sinn Fein 12, Green Party 0, Others 24. 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 41, Fianna Fail 4,  Sinn Fein 16, Green Party 0, Others 22.

The constituency support estimates based on the poll figures are as follows:

FF FG LB SF GP OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 17% 46% 18% 11% 3% 5%
Cavan-Monaghan 12% 44% 6% 29% 1% 9%
Clare 13% 48% 16% 0% 2% 21%
Cork East 10% 41% 32% 12% 1% 4%
Cork North Central 9% 29% 27% 17% 1% 18%
Cork North West 15% 56% 15% 9% 2% 4%
Cork South Central 17% 41% 20% 10% 3% 9%
Cork South West 14% 55% 15% 8% 2% 5%
Donegal North East 10% 35% 11% 27% 1% 17%
Donegal South West 13% 22% 5% 37% 1% 21%
Dublin Central 8% 22% 29% 14% 2% 24%
Dublin Mid West 7% 34% 31% 13% 4% 12%
Dublin North 9% 35% 27% 0% 9% 20%
Dublin North Central 7% 41% 23% 6% 1% 22%
Dublin North East 6% 32% 35% 13% 2% 12%
Dublin North West 7% 18% 44% 24% 1% 6%
Dublin South 5% 39% 18% 3% 7% 29%
Dublin South Central 5% 25% 35% 14% 2% 18%
Dublin South East 6% 38% 25% 4% 7% 19%
Dublin South West 6% 30% 37% 19% 1% 8%
Dublin West 10% 30% 30% 7% 2% 22%
Dun Laoghaire 9% 38% 31% 0% 4% 18%
Galway East 10% 47% 14% 7% 1% 21%
Galway West 12% 34% 13% 7% 2% 31%
Kerry North-West Limerick 6% 44% 20% 22% 1% 7%
Kerry South 7% 35% 11% 0% 1% 46%
Kildare North 8% 37% 30% 6% 2% 17%
Kildare South 13% 38% 29% 7% 2% 11%
Laois-Offaly 16% 39% 8% 12% 0% 24%
Limerick City 13% 49% 21% 10% 1% 6%
Limerick 12% 55% 18% 0% 1% 14%
Longford-Westmeath 11% 43% 28% 8% 1% 9%
Louth 9% 35% 20% 24% 5% 8%
Mayo 9% 71% 5% 7% 0% 8%
Meath East 11% 46% 22% 10% 1% 10%
Meath West 10% 51% 14% 19% 1% 4%
Roscommon-South Leitrim 8% 42% 9% 11% 0% 29%
Sligo-North Leitrim 13% 42% 11% 15% 1% 19%
Tipperary North 9% 26% 20% 7% 1% 36%
Tipperary South 7% 37% 11% 5% 1% 39%
Waterford 8% 41% 19% 11% 1% 20%
Wexford 11% 38% 21% 6% 1% 23%
Wicklow 6% 42% 17% 11% 2% 23%

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 Laoghaire, guaranteeing an extra Fine Gael seat there:

FF FG LB SF GP OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 1 3 1
Cavan-Monaghan 3 2
Clare 3 1
Cork East 2 2
Cork North Central 2 1 1
Cork North West 3
Cork South Central 1 3 1
Cork South West 2 1
Donegal North East 2 1
Donegal South West 1 1 1
Dublin Central 1 1 1 1
Dublin Mid West 2 2
Dublin North 2 1 1
Dublin North Central 2 1
Dublin North East 1 2
Dublin North West 2 1
Dublin South 3 1 1
Dublin South Central 1 2 1 1
Dublin South East 2 1 1
Dublin South West 1 2 1
Dublin West 2 1 1
Dun Laoghaire 3 1
Galway East 3 1
Galway West 2 1 2
Kerry North-West Limerick 2 1
Kerry South 1 2
Kildare North 2 1 1
Kildare South 2 1
Laois-Offaly 1 3  1
Limerick City 3 1
Limerick 2 1
Longford-Westmeath 2 2
Louth 2 1 2
Mayo 5
Meath East 2 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 2 1 1
Wexford 3 1 1
Wicklow 3 1 1
STATE 3 91 36 12 0 24

When the model is amended to account for seats that may be won 0r lost on the basis of a large/small number of candidates contesting the election (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:

FF FG LB SF GP OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 1 3 1
Cavan-Monaghan 3 2
Clare 2 1 1
Cork East 2 1 1
Cork North Central 2 1 1
Cork North West 2 1
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 2
Dublin North 2 1 1
Dublin North Central 1 1 1
Dublin North East 1 2
Dublin North West 2 1
Dublin South 3 1 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 3 1
Galway East 2 1 1
Galway West 2 1 2
Kerry North-West Limerick 1 1 1
Kerry South 1 2
Kildare North 2 1 1
Kildare South 2 1
Laois-Offaly 1 3 1
Limerick City 1 2 1
Limerick 2 1
Longford-Westmeath 3 1
Louth 2 1 2
Mayo 4 1
Meath East 2 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 2 1 1
Wexford 3 1 1
Wicklow 3 1 1
STATE 4 83 41 16 0 22

Even though support levels for most of the parties are not seen to be dramatically different to the levels recorded at the general election, the low standing of Fianna Fail and the likelihood of a significant further loss of Dail seats based on this poll figure would see seats falling into the hands of their rival parties. This analysis also illustrates the problem Fianna Fail faces of being a catch all party – their low support level in the poll would tend to be relatively similar across the forty three constituencies in the state leaving Fianna Fail short of the level of support required to win seats in most of these. By contrast, Sinn Fein may be just 1% higher than Fianna Fail in the polls, but the strong regional nature of the Sinn Fein geography of support means that this support would be concentrated in higher support levels in that party’s stronger areas, allowing them to better translate support levels into seat levels than Fianna Fail would. In the past the catch all nature of Fianna Fail support allowed that party to attain significant seat bonuses at general elections when party support levels were high – now with significantly lower support levels this catch all nature of Fianna Fail support leaves that party at risk of further electoral annhilation. Maybe re-inventing the party as a regionally based party, focused mainly on strong support areas in Cork, Galway, the Border constituencies and south Leinster and effectively ceding territory in weaker areas such as Dublin, may offer a path for Fianna Fail to take to electoral recovery?

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5 thoughts on “Taxi for Fianna Fail? Sunday Independent-Millward Brown Lansdowne poll 18th September 2011

  1. This is remarkable. It is entirely good sport to sit back and continue to watch ’em unravel.

    Spaces being filled by Sinn Féin, well, this is a negative externality.

  2. Still no FG seat in DNW – how high does the FG vote need to go!

    It’s a hard call between taking joy from the implosion of FF but being worried at the lack of a proper opposition and the likelihood of the cronyism that has always been within FG simply turning FG into what FF became, now that FG looks likely to be in office for far longer periods that it ever has before.

  3. Also FF should stop being automatically placed first in any table setting out political data – put it in third or fourth where it now stands.

  4. I’m not a Fianna Fail supporter. But gosh these figures actually sadden me a little. Frankly though it does scare me a bit that we could be left without any viable opposition for the foreseeable future. As we all know good oppositon is vital to good governmnet.
    So as much as I wanted to see FF pay the price for what they have helped do to our country, for them to simply fade away makes me quite fearful

  5. Fearful? We have the opportunity to have a big centre right party opposed by a number of left and centre-left parties – this is called normal democracy. The road to opposition is obviously the consolidation of the left-wing – and if Labour won’t do it then the numerous left-wing independents and Sinn Fein can do it. Could it be the infantilising reign of terror of those parasites is over?!

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