“I’m in!” – Gallagher campaign gathers momentum and Sinn Fein support surging in latest series of opinion polls

Adrian Kavanagh, 6th-9th October 2011

The two presidential election polls and the Irish Times-Ipsos MRBI and Sunday Times-Behaviour and Attitudes polls on party support intentions offers interesting trends. Sean Gallagher has emerged as the surprise package in the presidential election polls and poses a more serious threat to Michael D. Higgins than that which Martin McGuinness and David Norris were posing in last week’s Red C poll. While the gamble of the McGuinness candidature may not be translating into a likely win for Sinn Fein, it could be argued that the gamble is paying off in terms of the huge increase in support registered for the party in the Irish Times-Ipsos MRBI and Sunday Times-Behaviour and Attitudes poll, propelling the party past Labour and Fianna Fail into second place. Based on the Ipsos MRBI figures the party will need to take further support off Labour if Sinn Fein is to overtake Labour as the party with the second largest number of seats in Dail Eireann, but the poll figures in the Sunday Times-Behaviour and Attitudes poll suggests that Sinn Fein would exactly do that.

The release of two new presidential election polls by Irish Times-Ipsos MRBI and Paddy Power-Red C have dramatically changed the dynamics of the campaign, effectively funnelling the field of contenders for the presidency down to three, or rather two, candidates well positioned to win the contest. The Irish Times-Ipsos MRBI poll estimates support levels for the candidates as follows: Higgins 23%, Gallagher 20%, McGuinness 19%, Davis 12%, Norris 11%, Mitchell 9%, Scallon 6%. The Paddy Power-Red C poll estimates support levels for the candidates as follows: Higgins 25%, Gallagher 21%, McGuinness 16%, Davis 9%, Norris 14%, Mitchell 10%, Scallon 5% . On the basis of these figures, Michael D Higgins would be predicted to edge out Sean Gallagher for the presidency on the final count, but by a significantly narrower margin than that envisaged for a Higgins win in the previous post relating to the September 25th Sunday Business Post-Red C poll. Furthermore, as his main contender now is decidedly more transfer-attractive than his main opponents in the 25th September poll, Higgins cannot rely on transfers to help him win the presidency in a case where he might not top the poll in to the same degree as was the cse where David Norris was his closest challenger – Gallagher, on these figures, only needs to be narrowly ahead of Higgins on first preferences to go on to win the contest.

As the only poll to provide detailed transfer intention data, this analysis will focus on the figures provided in the Paddy Power-Red C poll in terms of trying to estimate the likely election outcome. 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 1997. Fortunately there was also a general election in 1997 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. Given that 1997 was a highly uncompetitive election in which Mary McAlese had established an unassailable poll lead some weeks before the election, the likelihood is that the high profile afforded the current contest added to the very competitive nature of the contest suggested by these, and other, poll figures, the likelihood is that the turnout may well be higher than what is estimated here. Indeed the possibility of a record turnout for a presidential election, surpassing the 65% level for the 1966 contest, cannot entirely be discounted. Different turnout levels between areas and groups could well also have a significant bearing on the election outcome, especially in cases where the two main contenders are drawing the main support from high/low turnout geographical areas, age cohorts and social groups.

Based on the poll figures (for support and transfer patterns) and this estimated turnout value, the counts would be likely to progress as follows:

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Norris    222,410    235,119    242,625    260,078
Higgins    397,160    410,664    430,180    486,416    486,416    535,900
McGuinness    254,183    275,629    289,141    291,080    291,080
Davis    142,978    150,127
Mitchell    158,864    168,396    193,917
Gallagher    333,615    343,941    388,979    410,310    410,310    451,061
Scallon      79,432

Thus this model would conceive that Higgins would win the contest by a relatively comfortable margin, due to higher support levels relative to Gallagher as well as his greater ability to attract transfers (although this is not as notable as was the case when his main challenger was Norris – Higgins is predicted to take 17% of transfers against a 15% estimate for Gallagher.  The low figures for transfers associated with McGuinness (it’s interesting to note that Norris ability to attract transfers has increased in inverse relation to his declining support estimate) suggests that he would need to be polling significantly higher in terms of first preference tallies than the more transfer-friendly Higgins if he was to go on to win the contest. This does not apply in the case of Gallagher however. By replicating the model while increasing his vote and keeping the relative poll ratings of the other candidates consistent we can see that for him to edge out Michael D. Higgins narrowly on the final count that he would need to be juat over one percent ahead of his closest rival on the first count – these figures would have the candidates’ support levels as follows – Gallagher 25.0%, Higgins 23.7%, McGuinness 15.2%, Norris 13.3%,  Mitchell 9.5%, Davis 8.5%, Scallon 4.7%.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Norris    211,215    223,285    230,413    246,987
Higgins    377,170    389,994    408,528    461,934    461,934    508,927
McGuinness    241,389    261,756    274,587    276,429    276,429
Davis    135,781    142,570
Mitchell    150,868    159,920    184,157
Gallagher    397,537    407,344    450,115    470,372    470,372    509,072
Scallon      75,434

The race thus seems effectively to be now boiling down to to a three-horse race, or rather a two-and-a-half horse race given that Martin McGuinness’s prospects of winning the election are hampered significantly by the fact that he is the least likely of the seven candidates to attract vote transfers, based on the transfer estimates presented in the Paddy Power-Red C poll report.  That being said, poll figures suggesting a major increase in Sinn Fein support relative to that party’s support level in the February election means that it seems as if the Sinn Fein gamble of running McGuinness is paying off. The combination of the two polls suggesting that the momentum is behind Higgins and Gallagher may have the effect of funnelling further votes towards the front runners and further widening the gap between them and Mitchell, Norris, Davis and Scallon. Then again, given the levels of volatility experienced in recent polls, the next polls could offer as much surprises as those experienced by many pundits when witnessing the Lazarus-like surge of Gallagher in these two polls.

The data presented with the polls also offer interesting insights as to each of the candidates’ social, regional and demographic support bases, as well as presidential voting intentions by party preference. Looking at party preference, the most striking aspect here is Gay Mitchell’s low rating amongst Fine Gael supporters, estimated to win 21% of votes cast by Fine Gael supporters in the Irish Times-Ipsos MRBI poll and just 15% of these in the Paddy Power-Red C poll. In both polls, Michael D Higgins emerges as the favoured candidate of Fine Gael supporters, although he is seen to only narrowly pip Sean Gallagher for this ranking in the Paddy Power-Red C poll data. Even Michael D Higgins is estimated to win less than half the votes cast by supporters of his party; taking 39% of Labour supporters’ votes in the Irish Times-Ipsos MRBI poll  and just 28% in the Paddy Power-Red C poll (David Norris is seen to take a significant chunk of Labour Party supporters’ votes, being estimated to take 25% of these in the Paddy Power-Red C poll data).   These trends in which significant numbers of party supporters are leaning towards supporting candidates from other parties/independents may appear surprising, but it is in keeping with the insights offered second-order election model which suggests that government party supporters may be likely to vote against their candidate in ‘second-order elections’, sometimes as a means of registering a safe protest vote against their own party’s in government, sometimes simply because people will just tend to vote differently in different elections especially given the weakening of party attachments/loyalties in more recent decades. Martin McGuinness is the most successful in retaining his party support base, being estimated to take seventy percent of Sinn Fein supporters’ votes in both polls. Michael D. Higgins and Sean Gallagher are seen to benefit most from Fianna Fail’s decision not to contest the election, with a combined tally of between forty and fifty percent of Fianna Fail supporters expressing a preference for either candidate in both polls; Gallagher proving the most popular amongst Fianna Fail leaners in the Irish Times-Ipsos poll while Higgins assumes this mantle in the Paddy Power-Red C poll.

In terms of regional trends, Higgins is seen to be the strongest candidate in all regions bar one in both polls, being usurped by Gallagher in Leinster in the Irish Times-Ipsos poll and in Munster in the Paddy Power-Red C poll. Higgins has a significant lead over Gallagher in Dublin, and a less significant one in Connacht-Ulster, in both polls. Both polls predict that McGuinness will poll especially strong in Connacht-Ulster and Norris in Dublin, while Connacht-Ulster will offer Dana her highest support levels. No significant regional patterns are seen to emerge with the Davis vote in either poll.

Unlike earlier polls that pointed to strong Higgins support amongst younger voters, these polls both point to a “greying” of his support base with higher support levels noted amongst the older age categories, but especially the 65 and over age group. Gallagher, Norris and McGuinness now all emerge as more popular in the youngest (18-24) age cohort. Mitchell is decidedly more popular amongst the older age categories, while the opposite trend is noted for Norris.

The most notable gender divide for any of the candidates’ support bases is associated with McGuinness who is attracting much higher levels of support amongst male voters than females (28% v 11% in Irish Time-Ipsos MRBI, 24% v 9% in Paddy Power-Red C). Norris and, to a lesser extent, Davis are more popular amongst female voters. Higgins is seen to be significantly more popular amongst female voters in the Paddy Power-Red C poll, but not in the Irish Time-Ipsos MRBI poll.

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The October 7th Irish Times-Ipsos MRBI poll puts national support levels for the main political parties and groupings as follows: Fine Gael 35% (down 3% relative to the last such poll in July 2011), Labour 17% (down 1%), Fianna Fail 16% (down 2%), Sinn Fein 18% (up 8%), Green Party 2% (NC), Independents and Others 12% (down 2%). The significant trends here relative to the previous poll in May relates to the significant increase in support for Sinn Fein, with support levels for the government parties falling by a combined level of 4%.

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 74, Labour 29, Fianna Fail 21, Sinn Fein 24, Others 18. 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 75, Labour 34, Fianna Fail 18, Sinn Fein 25, Others 14.

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

FF FG LB SF GP OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 25% 37% 14% 17% 3% 3%
Cavan-Monaghan 16% 33% 4% 40% 1% 5%
Clare 22% 45% 14% 0% 2% 16%
Cork East 15% 35% 26% 20% 1% 3%
Cork North Central 13% 25% 22% 27% 1% 12%
Cork North West 23% 47% 12% 13% 2% 3%
Cork South Central 26% 34% 16% 15% 3% 6%
Cork South West 22% 47% 13% 13% 2% 4%
Donegal North East 14% 27% 8% 39% 1% 11%
Donegal South West 17% 16% 4% 50% 1% 12%
Dublin Central 14% 19% 25% 24% 2% 17%
Dublin Mid West 11% 29% 26% 21% 4% 9%
Dublin North 16% 33% 25% 0% 10% 16%
Dublin North Central 12% 38% 21% 10% 1% 17%
Dublin North East 10% 28% 30% 21% 2% 8%
Dublin North West 10% 15% 34% 36% 1% 4%
Dublin South 9% 38% 17% 5% 8% 23%
Dublin South Central 9% 22% 30% 24% 2% 13%
Dublin South East 11% 36% 23% 7% 8% 15%
Dublin South West 9% 25% 30% 29% 1% 5%
Dublin West 16% 28% 27% 12% 2% 16%
Dun Laoghaire 15% 37% 29% 0% 5% 14%
Galway East 17% 43% 12% 12% 1% 16%
Galway West 20% 31% 11% 12% 2% 23%
Kerry North-West Limerick 10% 36% 16% 33% 1% 5%
Kerry South 14% 36% 11% 0% 1% 38%
Kildare North 14% 34% 27% 11% 2% 13%
Kildare South 21% 33% 25% 11% 2% 8%
Laois-Offaly 24% 33% 7% 20% 0% 16%
Limerick City 20% 42% 18% 16% 1% 4%
Limerick 21% 51% 17% 0% 1% 10%
Longford-Westmeath 18% 37% 24% 14% 1% 6%
Louth 13% 27% 15% 35% 5% 5%
Mayo 15% 63% 4% 12% 0% 6%
Meath East 18% 40% 18% 16% 1% 7%
Meath West 15% 41% 11% 29% 1% 3%
Roscommon-South Leitrim 14% 38% 8% 18% 1% 22%
Sligo-North Leitrim 19% 35% 9% 23% 1% 13%
Tipperary North 16% 25% 18% 12% 1% 28%
Tipperary South 13% 36% 10% 9% 1% 31%
Waterford 13% 37% 17% 18% 1% 14%
Wexford 18% 35% 19% 11% 1% 17%
Wicklow 10% 39% 15% 18% 2% 17%
STATE 16% 35% 17% 18% 2% 12%

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:

FF FG LB SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 1 2 1 1
Cavan-Monaghan 1 2 2
Clare 1 2 1
Cork East 2 1 1
Cork North Central 1 1 1 1
Cork North West 1 2
Cork South Central 1 2 1 1
Cork South West 1 2
Donegal North East 1 2
Donegal South West 1 2
Dublin Central 1 1 1 1
Dublin Mid West 2 1 1
Dublin North 2 1 1
Dublin North Central 2 1
Dublin North East 1 1 1
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 1 1 1 1
Dun Laoghaire 3 1
Galway East 1 2 1
Galway West 1 2 1 1
Kerry North-West Limerick 2 1
Kerry South 1 2
Kildare North 1 2 1
Kildare South 1 1 1
Laois-Offaly 1 2 1 1
Limerick City 1 2 1
Limerick 1 2
Longford-Westmeath 1 2 1
Louth 1 1 1 2
Mayo 1 4
Meath East 2 1
Meath West 2 1
Roscommon-South Leitrim 2 1
Sligo-North Leitrim 1 1 1
Tipperary North 1 1 1
Tipperary South 2 1
Waterford 2 1 1
Wexford 1 2 1 1
Wicklow 2 1 1 1
STATE 21 74 29 24 18

When the model is amended to account for seats that may be won or lost on the basis of a large/small number of candidates contesting the election, 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 OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 1 2 1 1
Cavan-Monaghan 1 2 2
Clare 1 2 1
Cork East 2 1 1
Cork North Central 1 1 1 1
Cork North West 1 2
Cork South Central 1 2 1 1
Cork South West 2 1
Donegal North East 1 2
Donegal South West 1 2
Dublin Central 1 1 1 1
Dublin Mid West 2 1 1
Dublin North 2 1 1
Dublin North Central 1 1 1
Dublin North East 1 1 1
Dublin North West 1 1 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 1 1 1
Dun Laoghaire 3 1
Galway East 1 2 1
Galway West 1 1 1 1 1
Kerry North-West Limerick 1 1 1
Kerry South 2 1
Kildare North 2 1 1
Kildare South 1 1 1
Laois-Offaly 2 2 1
Limerick City 1 2 1
Limerick 1 2
Longford-Westmeath 1 2 1
Louth 1 1 1 2
Mayo 1 4
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 2 1
Waterford 2 1 1
Wexford 1 2 1 1
Wicklow 2 1 1 1
STATE 18 75 34 25 14

Given that there are a number of other potential gains seen to be within Sinn Fein’s grasp (such as Roscommon-South Leitrim, Cork South-West, Wexford), in addition to the eleven seats gains suggested by the results of this analysis (with Sinn Fein candidates such as Kathleen Funchion, John Brady and Eoin O Broin predicted to take seats), this has to be seen as a very good result for that party and suggests that the party may be making political gains resulting from their decision to contest the presidential election and to take the gamble of running a high profile candidate in Martin McGuinness. While the party is seen to win the second highest level of support, the model does not predict they will win the second largest number of Dail seats based around their geography of support, akin to previous analyses which suggested the party would win more seats than Fianna Fail even with lower shares of the national vote. The very polarised geography of support for Sinn Fein means that the party can win a significant number of seats with support levels in the low teens, as this translates into sufficiently high support levels to win seats in their stronger constituencies (and very low support levels in their weak constituencies). However, this means that there is a “ceiling” in terms of the potential number of seats they party can win while their support level remains in the 10-20 percent range, as even as support nationally increases they will still be well off the pace in terms of winning seats in their weakest constituencies, such as Dublin South. In a similar vein (although the Labour geography of support would not be as defined, or polarised, as Sinn Fein’s) Labour experienced a similar problem in the 2011 General Election in trying to translate the “Gilmore Gale” surge in party support into seat gains in traditionally weak constituencies such as Mayo, Cavan-Monaghan and the two Donegal constituencies.

While combined support levels for the government parties are seen to fall by 4% and both parties would be predicted to lose thee-four seats each, they would still be winning a more than sufficient number of seats to maintain a comfortable majority in Dail Eireann based on these poll figures. For Fianna Fail, these poll figures suggest that the party is now being outstripped by Sinn Fein as the main party amongst the opposition groups and the party runs the risk of being marginalised (as it has in terms of main political events at present by the party’s decision not to run a candidate in the presidential election). With a potential combined of around seventy seats across Labour, Sinn Fein and left-leaning independents and smaller party (including ULA) candidates, the poll findings also suggest the potential of an alternative Left coalition government option, should Fine Gael and Fianna Fail over time move towards a political marriage in the centre or the centre-right of the Irish political spectrum.

Based solely on translating the trends evidenced in this poll into constituency support estimates in Dublin West the by-election would appear to be between the two government parties, with the estimates predicting that Eithne Loftus would enjoy a narrow lead over Patrick Nulty on the first count, with Fianna Fail and Socialist Party transfers then deciding the final outcome. However, a study of past by-election trends since 198o which shows that government party tends tend to fare poorly in by-elections and a growing realisation that voters will vote differently in different types of elections means that Ruth Coppinger must also be viewed as a very serious contender here as the strongest of the opposition party candidates. Dublin West is ultimately boiling down to a three horse race.

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The October 9th Sunday Times-Behaviour and Attitudes poll puts national support levels for the main political parties and groupings as follows: Fine Gael 36% (down 8% relative to the last such poll in July 2011), Labour 14% (up 2%), Fianna Fail 15% (NC), Sinn Fein 17% (up 4%), Green Party 4% (up 2%), Independents and Others 13% (up 1%). The significant trends here relative to the previous poll in August relates to the significant increase in support for Sinn Fein, with support levels for the government parties falling by a combined level of 7%, as such a similar trend to that seen in recent Red C and Ipsos MRBI polls.

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 74, Labour 21, Fianna Fail 19, Sinn Fein 27, Green Party 2, Others 23. 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 77, Labour 26, Fianna Fail 17, Sinn Fein 29, Green Party 3, Others 15.

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

FF FG LB SF GP OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 24% 39% 12% 16% 6% 3%
Cavan-Monaghan 15% 35% 4% 39% 1% 6%
Clare 21% 46% 12% 0% 5% 17%
Cork East 15% 37% 23% 19% 2% 3%
Cork North Central 13% 26% 19% 26% 2% 14%
Cork North West 22% 49% 10% 13% 3% 3%
Cork South Central 24% 35% 14% 14% 6% 7%
Cork South West 21% 49% 10% 13% 4% 4%
Donegal North East 14% 29% 7% 38% 1% 12%
Donegal South West 16% 17% 3% 48% 2% 13%
Dublin Central 13% 20% 21% 23% 4% 19%
Dublin Mid West 10% 31% 22% 20% 7% 10%
Dublin North 14% 32% 19% 0% 19% 16%
Dublin North Central 12% 40% 17% 10% 3% 18%
Dublin North East 10% 30% 25% 21% 4% 9%
Dublin North West 10% 16% 30% 36% 2% 5%
Dublin South 8% 36% 13% 5% 15% 23%
Dublin South Central 8% 24% 26% 23% 4% 14%
Dublin South East 10% 36% 18% 6% 15% 15%
Dublin South West 9% 28% 26% 29% 2% 6%
Dublin West 15% 29% 23% 11% 3% 18%
Dun Laoghaire 14% 38% 24% 0% 9% 15%
Galway East 16% 45% 10% 11% 2% 17%
Galway West 19% 32% 9% 11% 4% 25%
Kerry North-West Limerick 9% 38% 14% 33% 1% 5%
Kerry South 13% 36% 9% 0% 2% 40%
Kildare North 13% 36% 23% 10% 4% 14%
Kildare South 20% 36% 22% 11% 3% 8%
Laois-Offaly 24% 35% 6% 19% 1% 16%
Limerick City 19% 44% 15% 15% 3% 4%
Limerick 20% 54% 14% 0% 2% 10%
Longford-Westmeath 18% 40% 20% 14% 1% 7%
Louth 12% 28% 12% 33% 9% 5%
Mayo 14% 65% 4% 11% 1% 6%
Meath East 17% 42% 16% 16% 2% 7%
Meath West 15% 43% 9% 28% 2% 3%
Roscommon-South Leitrim 13% 40% 7% 17% 1% 21%
Sligo-North Leitrim 19% 37% 7% 23% 2% 13%
Tipperary North 16% 26% 16% 12% 2% 28%
Tipperary South 12% 38% 9% 8% 2% 30%
Waterford 12% 39% 14% 18% 2% 14%
Wexford 17% 38% 16% 11% 1% 17%
Wicklow 9% 41% 13% 18% 3% 17%
STATE 15% 37% 14% 17% 4% 12%

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:

FF FG LB SF GP OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 1 2 1 1
Cavan-Monaghan 1 2 2
Clare 1 2 1
Cork East 2 1 1
Cork North Central 1 1 1 1
Cork North West 1 2
Cork South Central 1 2 1 1
Cork South West 1 2
Donegal North East 1 2
Donegal South West 1 2
Dublin Central 1 1 1 1
Dublin Mid West 1 1 1 1
Dublin North 1 1 1 1
Dublin North Central 2 1
Dublin North East 1 1 1
Dublin North West 1 2
Dublin South 2 1 1 1
Dublin South Central 1 2 1 1
Dublin South East 2 1 1
Dublin South West 1 1 2
Dublin West 1 1 1 1
Dun Laoghaire 3 1
Galway East 1 2 1
Galway West 1 2 2
Kerry North-West Limerick 2 1
Kerry South 1 2
Kildare North 2 1 1
Kildare South 1 1 1
Laois-Offaly 1 2 1 1
Limerick City 1 2 1
Limerick 1 2
Longford-Westmeath 1 2 1
Louth 2 1 2
Mayo 1 4
Meath East 1 2
Meath West 2 1
Roscommon-South Leitrim 2 1
Sligo-North Leitrim 1 1 1
Tipperary North 1 1 1
Tipperary South 2 1
Waterford 2 1 1
Wexford 1 2 1 1
Wicklow 3 1 1
STATE 19 74 21 27 2 23

When the model is amended to account for seats that may be won or lost on the basis of a large/small number of candidates contesting the election, 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 2 1 1
Cavan-Monaghan 1 2 2
Clare 1 2 1
Cork East 2 1 1
Cork North Central 1 1 1 1
Cork North West 1 2
Cork South Central 1 2 1 1
Cork South West 2 1
Donegal North East 1 2
Donegal South West 1 2
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 2 1 1 1
Dublin South Central 1 2 1 1
Dublin South East 2 1 1
Dublin South West 1 1 2
Dublin West 1 1 1 1
Dun Laoghaire 3 1
Galway East 1 2 1
Galway West 1 2 1 1
Kerry North-West Limerick 2 1
Kerry South 1 2
Kildare North 2 1 1
Kildare South 1 1 1
Laois-Offaly 2 2 1
Limerick City 1 2 1
Limerick 1 2
Longford-Westmeath 2 1 1
Louth 2 1 2
Mayo 1 4
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 2 1
Waterford 2 1 1
Wexford 1 2 1 1
Wicklow 3 1 1
STATE 16 77 26 29 3 15

Given that the trends observed here tend to be relatively similar to the Ipsos-MRBI poll, there will be no further commentary except to note that the extent of the Sinn Fein lead over Labour in this poll means that they are also estimated to have the second largest number of Dail seats in addition to having the second highest level of support. It is also worth noting, that based on these figures, this proves to be the first poll analysis in a long time to predict that the Green Party won win Dail seats based on the party support estimates associated with this poll.

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9 thoughts on ““I’m in!” – Gallagher campaign gathers momentum and Sinn Fein support surging in latest series of opinion polls

  1. Thanks, Aidan.
    Do the polls contain any useful published data breaking down the results by age, sex and geography?
    By useful, I mean such that it could be extrapolated with known margins of error.
    Surely Paddy Power would want that for setting the odds?

  2. that is an impressive breakdown of the poll results, but i am one of those lesser mortals who have to take short cuts – like trying to assess/guess what is going on in the minds of the respondents to the poll.

    is gay mitchell really failing to get his message across ? another view could be that he is the political equivalent of the suicide bomber. on target but blown up with his victim . . .

    he put out the message – ‘mcguinness is too dangerous and must be stopped !’ (or substitute your own paraphrase.) the electorate’s reply : ‘you are right. so we had better go for someone who can stop him. because you can’t.’

    gay mitchell has breathed hope into the many who have voted fianna fail over the years. (and they have not gone away, you know.) faced with a no show, faced with humiliating defeat at the hands of the rival and upstart sinn fein, aware of the sinn fein marginalisation of the s d l p in the north, a lot of frustrated f f voters now have somewhere to go.

    i think sean gallagher may be the beneficiary of this dynamic. gallagher is an inspirational talker, by profession. fianna fail already knows that micheal martin does not have the capacity to catalyse the collective roar – the o’driscoll driving for the line feeling. maybe gallagher is someone who can ?

    i think that gallagher stands to gather up the voters that mitchell has kindly put the wind up, on his behalf. so mitchell has done for gallagher, what hogan and co were meant to do for mitchell.

    so if a suicide bombing can be said to backfire, that is how i see it.

    but this being an interesting and volatile election, next week i might think something quite different.

  3. Adrian it looks like Sean Gallagher is in line to win this election.
    One tihng, in regard to the Dublin West Bye-Election…, based on the % it looking like FF will not retian this seat.., but they will regain this seat in the next General Election…, Your opinion?

    • On the numbers presented in the model, FF would not be in the running to win the by-election (given that Dublin West would effectively be a one-seat constituency for this election) but would be in line to regain the seat at the next general election. The extent to which this may pan out in the actual election may depend on the degree to which the February 2011 Fianna Fail vote was a personal vote for the late Brian Lenihan, as well as other factors such as election boundary changes, changes in terms of opposition personnel, changing national support trends etc.

  4. Gallagher is definitely a serious challenger based on last week’s poll figures, but still needs to make up some ground over the final weeks of the campaign

    FF would not win (or come close to winning) the Dublin West by-election (given that DW would effectively be a single seat constituency in this election) based on support trends in this analysis, but would then be in line to regain the seat in the next general election. In reality this may depend on the degree ot which the 2011 FF vote was a personal vote for the late Brian Lenihan, as well as other factors such as electoral boundary changes, changing opposition personnel, changing national support trends etc.

  5. It will all depend on the voter turnout as Irish people are notorious for saying one thing in an opinion poll and then being too lazy to make the effort to actually go and vote.

    So whoever gets their vote out will do the best.

    • Whilst I fully agree with your comments that the Irish People are Notorious fo saying one thing and doing another, I still believe that our Opinion Polls, especially, more recently, have been, very close to, Spot On.
      And your finishing line, “And whoever gets their vote out will do best” is so typically Irish…, it reminds me of a situation at a count in Roscommon Town in 1990, when the sitting FF TD just lost his seat to the Independent Hospital candidate, Tome Foxe and Brian Farrell, of the then, Today Tonight, was down in Roscommon, doing the Election ’89, as Sean Doherty the following…, “Sean, What Went Wrong?” To which The Doc replyed…, “Well Very Simply, Brian, Not Enough People Voted For Me” It was probably the only time Ive ever seen Brian Farrell stumped.., it felt like 3 minutes of a gap, the silence, which was only 10-15 seconds… In fact John Waters used this piece in the very last lines of his, now, Re-Released Book, ‘Jiving At The Crossroads’ This is a real Irish thingy 🙂

  6. the figures for gallagher are extraordinary. forget ‘transfer friendly’ projections. the contest is so dramatic, that the voters are not waiting to express their second preference in the ballot box, but seem to be actually abandoning their first preferences where their runner is too far behind to have a reasonable chance of winning.

    i am sticking to my analysis. sinn fein resurgent fills as many people with apprehension as it fills with new hope. gallagher is the beneficiary of the message of gay mitchell, and the message of miriam o callaghan. scare tactics have backfired.

    i say that the figures for gallagher are extraordinary because if you add up the percentages lost by the lower candidates it becomes clear that gallagher is cleaning up. you do not have to ask who he is taking votes off – because his gain of 18% nearly accounts for nearly all of the losses of the back five runners..

    the behaviour of the polled voters suggests that there has been a genuine and dramatic choice among the seven personalities.

    alternatively, there is a new assertiveness among the voters. the electorate are behaving less like party faithful and more like x factor judges making hopeless contestants crumple and weep.

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