Ard Fheis Yes for Enda: Paddy Power-Red C poll (25th March 2012)

Adrian Kavanagh, 30th March 2012

The Paddy Power-Red C (30th March) poll makes for good reading for the government parties – it points to a cementing of the significant gains in Fine Gael’s support levels evident in the weekend’s Red C poll in The Sunday Business Post while Labour are ranked as the second most popular party in the state. Fianna Fail support levels remain entrenched in the mid teens while there is somewhat of a drop in Sinn Fein’s poll ratings relative to the levels reached by the party in polls over the past few weeks and months.  The poll puts national support levels for the main political parties and groupings as follows (relative to the weekend’s Red C poll): Fine Gael 35% (up 1%), Labour 16% (up 1%), Fianna Fail 15% (down 1%), Sinn Fein 14% (down 4%), Green Party, Independents and Others 20% (up 3%). 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 70, Labour 31, Fianna Fail 19, Sinn Fein 21, Green Party, Independents and Others 25.

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

FF FG LB SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 25% 39% 14% 14% 8%
Cavan-Monaghan 16% 36% 4% 34% 10%
Clare 20% 43% 13% 0% 25%
Cork East 15% 37% 26% 16% 6%
Cork North Central 13% 25% 21% 21% 20%
Cork North West 22% 49% 12% 11% 6%
Cork South Central 25% 35% 16% 12% 13%
Cork South West 21% 49% 12% 11% 8%
Donegal North East 14% 29% 8% 32% 17%
Donegal South West 17% 17% 4% 41% 20%
Dublin Central 13% 19% 23% 18% 27%
Dublin Mid West 10% 30% 25% 17% 17%
Dublin North 14% 31% 22% 0% 32%
Dublin North Central 11% 37% 19% 8% 25%
Dublin North East 10% 29% 29% 17% 15%
Dublin North West 10% 16% 35% 30% 8%
Dublin South 8% 35% 15% 4% 39%
Dublin South Central 8% 23% 29% 19% 21%
Dublin South East 10% 35% 21% 5% 29%
Dublin South West 9% 27% 30% 24% 9%
Dublin West 15% 27% 24% 9% 25%
Dun Laoghaire 14% 35% 26% 0% 24%
Galway East 16% 42% 11% 9% 23%
Galway West 18% 29% 10% 9% 34%
Kerry North-West Limerick 10% 38% 16% 28% 8%
Kerry South 11% 31% 9% 0% 49%
Kildare North 13% 33% 25% 8% 21%
Kildare South 20% 34% 24% 9% 14%
Laois-Offaly 23% 32% 6% 15% 24%
Limerick City 19% 43% 17% 13% 8%
Limerick 19% 50% 15% 0% 16%
Longford-Westmeath 17% 38% 23% 11% 10%
Louth 13% 29% 15% 29% 13%
Mayo 14% 64% 4% 9% 9%
Meath East 17% 41% 18% 13% 12%
Meath West 15% 44% 11% 24% 6%
Roscommon-South Leitrim 12% 36% 7% 13% 31%
Sligo-North Leitrim 18% 35% 8% 18% 20%
Tipperary North 14% 23% 16% 9% 39%
Tipperary South 11% 32% 9% 6% 42%
Waterford 12% 37% 15% 14% 22%
Wexford 16% 34% 17% 8% 25%
Wicklow 9% 38% 14% 14% 26%

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 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 1 1
Donegal South West 2 1
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 2 1
Dublin South 2 1 2
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 2 1 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 2 1
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 17 71 28 20 30

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 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 1 1
Donegal South West 1 1 1
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 2 1
Dublin South 2 1 2
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 2 1 1
Galway East 1 2 1
Galway West 1 1 1 2
Kerry North-West Limerick 1 1 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 1 2 1
Louth 2 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 1 2
Waterford 2 1 1
Wexford 1 2 1 1
Wicklow 2 1 1 1
STATE 19 70 31 21 25

The main trend evident based on these figures is the estimation of a significant increase in Fine Gael seat numbers relative to estimates for the party based on polls held earlier in the year, with the party seat numbers up by nine or ten in the last two Red C polls relative to the constituency-level estimates for the March 4th Red C poll figures. Furthermore, while the analysis estimates Fine Gael seat numbers at 70, there are a few constituencies where a further seat c0uld easily fall to the party leaving Fine Gael at a seat number in the low to mid 70s and at a level that would be almost similar to that won by the party in the 2011 General Election.

The trend of higher Sinn Fein support levels relative to the party’s support levels in 2011 General Election – and indeed the party’s support ratings in polls as recent as Autumn 2010 – is further underpinned by these poll figures, although these are not as dramatic and positive for the party as the figures in opinionspolls held over the previous few weeks. The upsurge in Sinn Fein support 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 generally upwards one although the figures in this poll go somewhat against that trend. 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 the other main opposition party, Fianna Fail, a year after that party left power and especially in the wake of the Mahon Tribunal findings. 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 21 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, Limerick City, Mayo, Meath East, Roscommon-South Leitrim, Wexford and Waterford. Furthermore, on the basis of these estimations they would be in line to win two seats in constituencies within their stronger regions, such as Cavan-Monaghan and Louth. There is a limit however to the extent of further gains that the party might make suggested on the basis of the party’s weak support base amongst the urban middle class constituency (in a similar vein to the extent that the Labour Party’s weakness in rural regions such as Connacht-Ulster weakened the impact of the Gilmore Gale in General Election 2011), with the party not estimated to be in contention in constituencies such as Dublin South and Dublin South-East with this model. 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 as those won by Fianna Fail or Fine Gael in these parties’ heydays.

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 slightly reduced one) in Dail Eirean with seat numbers for a Fine Gael-Labour coalition estimated at 101 seats – giving a potential coalition involving these parties a more than comfortable majority of 36 seats in the Dail – while combined seat numbers for an alternative Sinn Fein-Fianna Fail coalition alliance would be estimated at just 40 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 89 seats, giving a potential coalition involving these parties a majority of 12 seats in Dail Eireann.

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Ard Fheis Yes for Enda: Paddy Power-Red C poll (25th March 2012)

  1. The only statistically significant change in this poll in comparison to the most recent Red C poll is the drop of 4% in the Sinn féin VOTE AND THE INCREASE OF 3% IN THE VOTE FOR OTHERS! This swing goes unmentioned! The failure of Sinn Fein to call for non-payment of the household charge and the tough line taken by the ULA on the issue is the obvious explanation, Sinn FÉin are being outflanked on the left! The general tendency is towards polarisation with the hard right (Fg) and the hard left(ULA) gaining support. This is the traditional development in a severe economic and social crisis

  2. FG and Labour combined have 51%. Labour’s support is only 1% higher than one of the most unpopular, nay despised, governments in the history of the state (love affair gone badly wrong) and this on the heels of Mahon. The public’s divorce from FF is confirmed with memories now suitably re-arranged and seared into the collective brain.

    What I think is going to happen is, the continued economic mismanagement and farce will continue. Howerver, it is going to explode before the next election. Morgan Kelly will be proved right, yet again, his prediction was, that within 5 years both civil war parties FF and FG would be mortally wounded. FG are the “beneficiaries” of the slow burn FF economic mismanagement that they inherited but which they have imbibed with gusto. Remember that Keats poem ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ “A drowsy numbness dulls my senses as though of hemlock I had drunk or emptied some dull opiate to the dregs”. That is going to be the FG experience when the protective effects of dishing our 67.5bn on banks and themselves wears off (money runs out).

    FG came into power after the FF/Greens had already agreed the bailout of 67.5bn and coughed up the NPRF also. One could argue that they came into power because they too agreed with the bailout and did nothing to stop it in return for an election date of 25th of February 2011. The public servants and trade unions are assiduously dipping into the 67.5bn bailout every month so their salary cheques don’t bounce, good luck with that strategy! While this is going on, we have a lull before the storm, peace and harmony between FG and Labour.

    When I studied economics I seem to recall that a basic tenet was not to use borrowed money to fund current consumption. Salaries are current consumption are they not? All the events and time scales are playing into the hand of SF. I believe the only reason SF did not come out and say “Don’t pay this” is they were afraid that the old barb of not wanting to play by the rules of the constitutional democracy would be thrown at them again. A version of the Armalite in one hand, ballot paper in the other.

    I hope FG enjoy this weekend because there won’t be many more like it, maybe just one more, then it will hit the fan.

    • @Robert Browne
      Well put! The current lot are in power mostly because they were simply not Fianna Fáil at the last GE. At the end of the 80s a combination of unique factors handed us a “get out of jail free” card: from being laggards we rapidly caught up with the rest of Europe in terms of income levels (not all of the cash splashed around in the 70s was wasted, that spent on opening up education paid dividends in the end) and the labour force increased hugely in size with the entry of women. Public debt levels that were at similar levels relative to GDP to present suddenly became very manageable as the economy expanded. Can’t see where the miracle is going to come from this time to save us again (plus the very high levels of personal and corporate debt this time round). Maybe the EU will step in to help but IMO even if they do that won’t come without heavy strings attached. Some of the genuine idealism amongst earlier European leaders seems to have gradually evaporated away from that project. The expression “countries have interests, not friends” comes to mind.

      Political reform is an area (which doesn’t cost much) where this government could easily distinguish itself. The moves have to be bold however. Any credit for half-hearted half-baked tokenistic efforts will be eventually drowned out by the mostly justified cynicism out there. For example, the government now advertises state board positions and chairs/CEOs are supposed to appear before a Dáil committee after their appointment. All it takes is a few cronyistic seeming appointments and voters will be asking “what really has changed?”. However, if the whole appointments process was thoroughly overhauled and a formal system put in place (and I don’t mean some fig-leaf like JABA is for judicial appointments) then there’s a chance voters will still give the current government some credit right up to the next GE. Same for other areas of political reform. Instead, even after Mahon, they’re defending their handling of Moriarty. The perception will seep in more and more that they’re no different to the last crowd. They may think they’re being clever but foot-dragging on reform may ultimately come to bite them in the behind in the longer term. Wouldn’t surprise me if, like you say, this is merely the “lull before the storm”.

      • @Finbar Lehane,

        Many thanks for these observations and for your extended meditation on the implications of Mahon on that thread. I sense you are coming to a similar position to the one I’ve been at for some time.

        Among its EU peers – and most other advanced economies, Ireland probably has:
        – governments that exercise the most excessive executive dominance;
        – the weakest parliament;
        – the most centralised and expansive and least accountable system of public administration;
        – the least effective and accountable system of local government;
        – the most effective, ‘behind-the-scenes’ influence of narrow sectional economic interests on the formulation and implementation of public policy to the detriment of the public interest; and
        – the least effective competition policy and representation and advocacy of the collective interests of consumers.

        We might argue about differences in degree, but there can be no doubt that Ireland is close to the extreme end of the spectra defined by these criteria. And it is these institutional and procedural extremes and failings that render the formulation and implementation of any sort of rational and beneficial public policy almost totally futile. Those on the ‘inside’ of Official Ireland will always be able to secure their absolute or relative positions; those on the ‘outside’ will have to shift for themselves.

        But Official Ireland is totally incapable of reforming itself from within. Those embedded in Official Ireland – whether in the political classes, in the ‘government-machine’, in the ‘support industry’ for the government-machine, in the media, in the professions or in academia – have absolutely no incentive to contemplate reform – and every incentive not to.

        Even here, on a blog titled Politcial Reform – and given the catalogue of institutional and procedural failings I’ve outlined above – the reform focus is on ‘participatory democracy’. This has nothing on Nero allegedly fiddling (probably playing the lyre) while Rome burned. It actually beats the intellectual contortions being performed by a number of leading economists to rationalise the programme of fiscal adjustment in the absence of any meaningful structural reforms.

        As a democrat I place my faith in the good sense of a majority of Irish citizens that will lead them eventually to decide enough is enough and to demand some meaningful change – and in the emergence of some politicians sufficiently in tune with the public mood to give these demands some substance. If or, more likely, when this happens, Official Ireland will adapt rapidly; its evolutionary capability is remarkable. And we will find that Official Ireland was fully in favour all along of any demands the people eventually advance.

        There is probably little we can do to advance this; it will take its own course. And contributing to blogs of this nature is probably totally futile. Official Ireland doesn’t want to know; and very few members of the public are paying attention.

      • @Paul Hunt
        Thanks! Pretty much agree with all of that analysis. And you may well be ultimately right regarding posting on such blogs/websites, but that won’t deter me for now! 🙂

        I do suspect you’ve ended up playing a kind of gadfly role with regards to “Official Ireland” for quite a long time. In general, that can be a very worthwhile type of role, but often also a very thankless one! Has probably been like flogging a dead horse. But there may possibly be events on the horizon that may eventually sting even the horse of “Official Ireland” out of its death-like slumber (one can only hope anyway).

  3. Adrian, why do you insist in putting FF in the first column? I assume these figures go into an excel spreadsheet which means you merely copy/insert the FF row into a new one after FG and L – all the formula’s will remain the same and be copied over.

    I don’t agree that FG will suffer the same fate as FF although the level of arrogance from some within FG so soon is quite a surprise but I don’t see the likes of Hogan or Shatter still being Ministers come the next election.

    So much for these special advisers!

    The good thing is that instead of the TINA (there is no alternative) mentality we are now hearing about wider discussions of the debt so while it is foolish to expect the government to give away it’s strategy there is hope that the penny has dropped at government and EU level that we (and Greece and Spain and Portugal etc) simply cannot afford to balance the books, get growing and protect the wealth of a small banking elite. Two out of three at a push but not all 3 and we now have to see how the EU elite devise a plan to save face and admit the path they have forced on the EU taxpayer for the last 4 years was wrong and if we’d lanced the boil of writing off debt at the start we’d be well out of the woods now and the pain of doing that would have been no worse than what we are going through now.

    If a wider picture deal is done on the debt and we get to balance out day to day spending and we get some level of growth again by 2016 – a very long time away as when we compare now to April 2008 we see how radically things can change – and as who in their right mind would take a chance of voting FF again, means FG/L have every chance of being re-elected.

    The real question is what happens if SF end up the larger opposition party – are we ready to stomach someone who has been linked to murder/protection rackets/drugs and disappearing people sitting in the leader of the opposition chair and having a state car.

    I suspect FF will be gone by 2016 and replaced with a new centre right party with some FF, some former PD, some right ind and some faces from FG and L. It would be no bad thing either.

  4. Irrespective of the line-up in the next dail, some thgings are somewhat more certain. There will be no economic recovery. Our economy has already regressed to the late 1990s level, and has a long way to go before it reaches an end-point. Absent the required political, economic and administrative re-structurings, the 1930s look promising. The predicament is that once the regression momentum gets traction it is very difficult to put a brake on it. Sure, braking will stop the wheels turning, but the momentum will cause an uncontrolled skid – what is what we have at the present with our so-called ‘Austerity’ programme. Very interesting times.

    If any of you know some of the Leinster House Housemates, could you ask them the following.

    1. Can you distinguish between a PC economy and a FIRE economy? What are the social (and political) implications of the latter?

    2. Do you know what the Permagrowth paradigm is? What are the economic implications of this paradigm.

    3. Do you know what the Export-land Model of Liquid Hydrocarbon Fuel is? That, what are the economic implications of the Available Nett Exports depletion rate? What are the political implications for our non existent Energy Security policy?

    There are a few other searching questions I would like to put to those critters, but the above will do.

    Now. If they answer in the negative to the three questions. They never heard of a FIRE economy, the Permagrowth paradigm or the Export-land Model – hence, have no idea of the disturbing political implications of these three: renew your passport in a hurry and book your passage out of this country. Seriously.

  5. @Finbar Lehane,

    The debate continues elsewhere:
    http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2012/04/12/jorg-asmussen%E2%80%99s-talk-to-the-iiea/

    There is even a hint that some of our leading economists are aware of ‘political economy’.

    As for this blog, the principal contributors have nailed their flag to the ‘participatory democracy’ mast while effectively ignoring all others. Good luck to them. I’m sure the ‘powers-that-be’ will show their gratitude.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s