Shamrock bounce for Kenny: Sunday Business Post-Red C poll (25th March 2012)

Adrian Kavanagh, 26th March 2012

The Sunday Business Post-Red C (25th March) poll points to a significant gain in Fine Gael’s support levels relative to the previous such poll (of March 4th) just a week ahead of the party’s Ard Fheis, with a slight decline in support levels for Fianna Fail, Labour and Independents. Sinn Fein’s position as the state’s second most popular party, established in the March 4th poll, is further cemented in this poll with the party remaining at a support level of 18%.  The Sunday Business Post-Red C poll puts national support levels for the main political parties and groupings as follows: Fine Gael 34% (+4%), Labour 15% (down 1%), Fianna Fail 16% (down 1%), Sinn Fein 18% (NC), Green Party 2% (NC), Independents and Others 17% (down 2%). On the basis of this constituency level analysis – based on assigning seats on the basis of constituency support estimates (simply using a d’Hondt method to determine which party wins the seats), while also taking account of the factors of vote transfers and vote splitting/management (based on vote transfer/management patterns oberved in the February 2011 election) – party seat levels would be estimated as follows: Fine Gael 73, Labour 24, Fianna Fail 20, Sinn Fein 29, Green Party 0, Independents and Others 21.

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

FF FG LB SF GP OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 26% 37% 13% 17% 3% 4%
Cavan-Monaghan 16% 32% 4% 41% 1% 7%
Clare 22% 43% 12% 0% 2% 20%
Cork East 16% 35% 24% 20% 1% 3%
Cork North Central 13% 24% 20% 27% 1% 15%
Cork North West 23% 47% 11% 14% 2% 3%
Cork South Central 26% 33% 15% 15% 3% 8%
Cork South West 22% 47% 11% 14% 2% 5%
Donegal North East 14% 26% 7% 39% 1% 13%
Donegal South West 17% 15% 3% 49% 1% 15%
Dublin Central 13% 18% 21% 23% 2% 21%
Dublin Mid West 11% 29% 24% 21% 4% 11%
Dublin North 16% 32% 22% 0% 10% 20%
Dublin North Central 12% 37% 18% 10% 1% 21%
Dublin North East 11% 28% 27% 22% 2% 11%
Dublin North West 10% 15% 31% 37% 1% 5%
Dublin South 9% 36% 15% 5% 8% 28%
Dublin South Central 9% 22% 27% 24% 2% 16%
Dublin South East 11% 35% 21% 7% 8% 18%
Dublin South West 10% 25% 27% 30% 1% 7%
Dublin West 16% 27% 23% 12% 2% 20%
Dun Laoghaire 16% 36% 26% 0% 5% 18%
Galway East 17% 41% 10% 11% 1% 19%
Galway West 20% 29% 10% 12% 2% 28%
Kerry North-West Limerick 10% 35% 14% 34% 1% 6%
Kerry South 13% 33% 9% 0% 1% 44%
Kildare North 14% 33% 24% 11% 2% 16%
Kildare South 21% 33% 23% 12% 2% 10%
Laois-Offaly 24% 31% 6% 19% 0% 20%
Limerick City 20% 42% 16% 16% 1% 5%
Limerick 21% 50% 15% 0% 1% 13%
Longford-Westmeath 19% 37% 21% 14% 1% 8%
Louth 13% 27% 13% 36% 5% 7%
Mayo 15% 62% 4% 12% 0% 7%
Meath East 18% 39% 16% 16% 1% 9%
Meath West 16% 40% 10% 29% 1% 4%
Roscommon-South Leitrim 13% 36% 7% 17% 0% 26%
Sligo-North Leitrim 19% 33% 8% 23% 1% 16%
Tipperary North 16% 23% 16% 12% 1% 33%
Tipperary South 12% 33% 9% 8% 1% 36%
Waterford 13% 36% 15% 18% 1% 18%
Wexford 18% 34% 16% 11% 1% 21%
Wicklow 10% 37% 13% 18% 2% 21%
STATE 16.0% 34.0% 15.0% 18.0% 2.0% 15.0%

Based on these constituency estimates, and using a d’Hondt method to determine which party wins the seats in a constituency, the party seat levels are estimated as follows:

FF FG LB SF GP OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 2 2 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 1 2
Dublin South 2 1 2
Dublin South Central 1 1 2 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 2
Tipperary South 1 2
Waterford 2 1 1
Wexford 1 2 1 1
Wicklow 2 1 1 1
STATE 20 73 19 29 0 25

Amending the model to account for seats that may be won or 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 2 1 1 0 0
Cavan-Monaghan 1 2 0 2 0 0
Clare 1 2 0 0 0 1
Cork East 0 2 1 1 0 0
Cork North Central 1 1 1 1 0 0
Cork North West 1 2 0 0 0 0
Cork South Central 1 2 1 1 0 0
Cork South West 1 2 0 0 0 0
Donegal North East 0 1 0 2 0 0
Donegal South West 0 1 0 2 0 0
Dublin Central 0 1 1 1 0 1
Dublin Mid West 0 2 1 1 0 0
Dublin North 0 2 1 0 0 1
Dublin North Central 0 1 1 0 0 1
Dublin North East 0 1 1 1 0 0
Dublin North West 0 0 1 2 0 0
Dublin South 0 3 1 0 0 1
Dublin South Central 0 1 1 2 0 1
Dublin South East 0 2 1 0 0 1
Dublin South West 0 1 1 2 0 0
Dublin West 1 1 0 1 0 1
Dun Laoghaire 0 2 1 0 0 1
Galway East 1 2 0 0 0 1
Galway West 1 2 0 0 0 2
Kerry North-West Limerick 0 2 0 1 0 0
Kerry South 0 1 0 0 0 2
Kildare North 0 2 1 0 0 1
Kildare South 1 1 0 1 0 0
Laois-Offaly 2 2 0 1 0 0
Limerick City 1 2 1 0 0 0
Limerick 1 2 0 0 0 0
Longford-Westmeath 1 2 1 0 0 0
Louth 0 2 1 2 0 0
Mayo 1 4 0 0 0 0
Meath East 1 2 1 0 0 0
Meath West 0 2 0 1 0 0
Roscommon-South Leitrim 0 2 0 0 0 1
Sligo-North Leitrim 1 1 0 1 0 0
Tipperary North 0 1 1 0 0 1
Tipperary South 0 1 0 0 0 2
Waterford 0 2 1 1 0 0
Wexford 1 2 1 0 0 1
Wicklow 0 2 1 1 0 1
STATE 20 73 24 29 0 21

The main trend evident based on these figures is the estimation of a significant increase in Fine Gaek seat numbers over one year after the 2011 General Election, with the party seat numbers up by ten relative to the constituency-level estimates for the March 4th Red C poll figures. Most of these seat gains would be predicted to come at the expense of Fianna Fail, Labour and Independents whose seat levels would be predicted to be somewhat lower than those predicted in the previous such constituency-level analysis.

The trend of higher Sinn Fein support levels, especially relative to the 2011 General Election and indeed the party’s poll ratings in polls in Autumn 2010, is further underpinned by these poll figures and these can be traced back to the aftermath of the Pearse Doherty win in the Donegal-South West by-election of November 2010, with the general trend in the party’s support levels in polls held since then being a general upwards one. In some ways an increase in Sinn Fein support levels is to be expected, given the economic climate in which the government parties are operating in and given the level of toxicity still associated with Fianna Fail a year after that party left power. But the party has also been making an impact in terms of the performances in the Dail and the media by party members such as Pearse Doherty and Mary Lou McDonald. In addition to the 29 seats predicted based on The Sunday Business Post-Red C poll results for Sinn Fein, there would be a number of other constituencies where further Sinn Fein gains would be possible on the basis of a further small swing to the party, including constitiuencies such as Cork North West, Cork South West, Galway West, Longford-Westmeath, Mayo, Meath East, Roscommon-South Leitrim, Wexford and especially Limerick City, while on the basis of these estimations they would be in line to win two seats in constituencies within their stronger regions. There is a limit to the extent of further gains suggested on the basis of the party’s weak support base amongst the urban middle class consittuency, with the party not estimated to be in contention in constituencies such as Dublin South and Dublin South-East with this model even on the basis of a national poll figure of just under 20% for the party. Until Sinn Fein can attain some degree of a foothold within middle class areas they are unlikely to be in a position to win the same level of seats won by Fianna Fail or Fine Gael in those parties’ heydays. That said, should the party support levels increase further and Fianna Fail support levels rebound over the next four years back up into the low 20s then the prospect of a Sinn Fein-lead coalition government (with Pearse Doherty or Mary-Lou McDonald as Taoiseach) involving Fianna Fail as junior coalition partners could become a live prospect.

Should the seat estimates based on The Sunday Business Post-Red C poll figures pan out after the next general election, the the government parties would continue to hold a majority (albeit a somewhat reduced one, largely due to a significant reduction in Labour seat numbers) in Dail Eirean with seat numbers for a Fine Gael-Labour coalition estimated at 97 seats – giving a potential coalition involving these parties a comfortable majority of 28 seats in the Dail – and an alternative Sinn Fein-Fianna Fail coalition alliance estimated at 49 seats. Given the fact that a Fine Gael-Sinn Fein coalition would be highly improbable, the only other likely two-party coalition option would involve Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, with these parties combined seat levels based on these figures estimated at 93 seats, giving a potential coalition involving these parties a majority of 20 seats in the Dail.

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6 thoughts on “Shamrock bounce for Kenny: Sunday Business Post-Red C poll (25th March 2012)

  1. No matter what the trends are up, down, sideways one thing is certain, only a very small minority of people even within the various parties, have any real grasp of where this economy is going. Perhaps this is deliberate?

    They can always blame the permanent public service for feeding them endless garbage to sate any curiosity they might have. GIGO. Most Irish politicians display and endless appetite for what I would describe as “good news snippets”, and are treated to such by their handlers. After all, if you pay someone almost as much as a ministers salary you probably feel you have an entitlement to “good news”. They will not be disappointed.

    Government debt is forecast to be in the order of 118% of GDP third quarter of 2013 and that does not include OBS (off balance sheet) NAMA which would add another 20% bringing it close to 140% of GDP. Our debt to GNP would be close to 170%. None of this includes our unfunded public sector pension schemes which according to the Comptroller and Auditor General are over 120bn Euro. If this were added our debts, our debt to GDP ratio would rise to 211%. But what about Bailout No. 2 being planned? Well, newly appointed Harvard Professor Lorenzo Bin Smagi formerly with the ECB for 10 years believes that second bailout will be in the order of a further 85bn ballooning our debt to GDP to 262%. It is simply off the Richter scale. It amazes me they way we indulge in navel gazing with Red C polls. It’s like being on the deck of the Titanic and wondering should you straighten your tie before the ship goes to the bottom. Sure why not!

    It is easy to be optimistic when you ignore reality while drawing 40% of monthly salaries from the 67.5bn bailout as they blather about things looking up!. It postpones or should I say transfers reality, (to our children). Then if you can line yourself up for another bailout, runs the logic we could postpone reality again. This is precisely what is being planned as FG, not to be outdone by FF take aim at ESM. First however, the enabling process, the Fiscal Compact, must be carefully stage managed to a “yes”. conclusion.

    Yesterday, we had former Taoiseach John Bruton telling us that writing permanent austerity into our constitution will not make much of a difference, not to him, no doubt. In another sense he is right when you look at these figures. It’s sad the way these guys like John The Tzar of the IFC pop up, to muddy the waters and spout even more nonsense.

  2. I am back
    I have previously argued that the score of independents and others in opinion polls should not be compared with their score in actual general elections. This is because many minor candidates contest general elections whose votes on transfer return to the main parties. Typically, neighbours and work colleagues vote for them. But these votes are credited to “others” in the share of first preferences. These minor candidates are not available to respondents to opinion polls which are taken outside the period after which candidates are declared for a general election. Only well established “others” are available in such polls. For example the score for others in October 2010(RED C) was 10% but the score in General Election 2011 was 15.4%. I believe that the score of 15% in the current poll would be a few points higher if a general election were held tomorrow.

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