Fianna Fail/Sinn Fein coalition government by 2016? May/June opinion polls from Millward Brown and Red C

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Adrian Kavanagh, 19 May 2013 

Opinion polls in the first half of 2013 have all pointed towards significant gains in Fianna Fail support levels, albeit to varying degrees, leaving Fianna Fail at its highest support level in opinion polls since the IMF-EU bailout in November 2010 and with some of these positioning it as the most popular party in the state ahead of Fine Gael. The latest Sunday Independent-Millward Brown polls (19th May and 2nd June 2013) and Sunday Business Post-Red C poll (26th May 2013) continue in this vein. The June 2nd Sunday Independent-Millward Brown poll puts national support levels for the main political parties/groupings as follows: Fine Gael 27% (up 4%), Labour 11% (down 1%), Fianna Fail 27% (up 1%), Sinn Fein 17% (down 2%), Independents and Others 18% (NC). My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fianna Fail 51, Fine Gael 49, Independents and Others 23, Sinn Fein 22,  Labour 13.

The Sunday Business Post-Red C poll puts national support levels for the main political parties/groupings as follows: Fine Gael 26% (down 2%), Labour 11% (NC), Fianna Fail 26% (up 1%), Sinn Fein 16% (NC), Independents, Green Party and Others 21% (up 1%). My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fianna Fail 50, Fine Gael 48, Independents and Others 24, Sinn Fein 23, Labour 13. The 19th May Sunday Independent-Millward Brown poll puts national support levels for the main political parties/groupings as follows: Fine Gael 23% (down 1%), Labour 12% (NC), Fianna Fail 26% (down 1%), Sinn Fein 19% (up 3%), Independents and Others 18% (NC), Green Party 2% (down 1%). My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fianna Fail 53, Fine Gael 40, Sinn Fein 26, Independents and Others 22, Labour 16, Green Party 0.

The analyses used here are similar to previous posts which have applied a constituency level analysis (although with these using the constituency units used for the 2011 General Election) based on assigning seats on the basis of constituency support estimates and 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 observed in the February 2011 election). Based on such an analysis and using the new constituency units (as defined in the 2012 Constituency Commission report) – the new constituencies which will be used for the next general election (assuming an election is not called in the following months before the Electoral Act putting the new constituency configuration into effect) – these analyses estimates what party seat levels would be, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election. These analysis suggests that Fianna Fail would seem to be the party most likely to be positively effected by the redrawing of the constituency boundaries and suggests that the party, in this context, would be gaining as a result of the boundary changes, in addition to the party’s improvement in its opinion poll levels relative to its 2011 General Election figures, irrespective of the impact of a reduction in Dail seat numbers from 166 to 158.

Due to unusually high/low support levels for some parties or political groupings in the previous election, the model may throw up occasional constituency predictions that are unlikely to pan out in a “real election”, but the estimates here cannot be seen as highly accurate estimates of support levels at the constituency level as in a “real election” party support changes will vary significantly across constituency given uneven geographical shifts in support levels. But the ultimate aim of the models are to get an overall, national-level, estimate of seat numbers and these are based on the proviso that an over-prediction in one constituency may be offset by an under-prediction in another constituency.

I have made some further corrections to the base support figures for the different parties for this analysis to take better account of the impacts on support of the 2012 Constituency Commission report boundary changes with especial reference to the Dublin constituencies. For instance, these figures better reflect the weaker positions of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in Dublin Central after the moving out of the Ashtown area to Dublin West and the Botanic/Drumcondra area to Dublin North West, but also their stronger positions in Dublin West and Dublin North West.

Fine Gael are assigned an extra seat in Dun Laoghaire on the basis that the Ceann Comhairle, Sean Barrett, will be automatically returned at the next general election and this constituency will effectively be rendered a three-seat contest at the next general election.

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The constituency support estimates based on the June 2nd Sunday Business Post-Red C poll figures, when using the new constituency units (as used for the next general election), are as follows:

FF FG LB SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 41% 28% 9% 15% 5%
Cavan-Monaghan 26% 25% 3% 38% 8%
Clare 33% 30% 8% 6% 21%
Cork East 28% 29% 18% 19% 4%
Cork North Central 23% 20% 14% 23% 18%
Cork North West 38% 36% 8% 12% 4%
Cork South Central 41% 24% 10% 13% 9%
Cork South West 36% 36% 8% 12% 5%
Donegal 25% 15% 4% 39% 16%
Dublin Central 18% 11% 15% 25% 29%
Dublin Mid West 19% 24% 18% 20% 14%
Dublin Fingal 25% 25% 15% 5% 21%
Dublin Bay North 19% 26% 17% 16% 19%
Dublin North West 20% 14% 24% 32% 8%
Dublin Rathdown 15% 28% 10% 5% 33%
Dublin South Central 15% 16% 21% 25% 21%
Dublin Bay South 19% 29% 16% 7% 21%
Dublin South West 17% 23% 19% 22% 16%
Dublin West 27% 21% 16% 11% 23%
Dun Laoghaire 24% 28% 17% 4% 21%
Galway East 27% 33% 8% 8% 23%
Galway West 29% 24% 6% 9% 29%
Kerry County 18% 25% 9% 18% 30%
Kildare North 23% 27% 18% 10% 20%
Kildare South 34% 26% 16% 10% 12%
Laois 40% 25% 7% 21% 7%
Offaly 33% 19% 2% 10% 36%
Limerick City 35% 33% 12% 13% 6%
Limerick 31% 40% 9% 6% 14%
Longford-Westmeath 31% 30% 16% 13% 10%
Louth 22% 22% 10% 33% 8%
Mayo 27% 49% 3% 11% 10%
Meath East 31% 31% 12% 15% 10%
Meath West 27% 33% 7% 27% 4%
Roscommon-Galway 21% 30% 6% 9% 33%
Sligo-Leitrim 32% 24% 4% 26% 12%
Tipperary 22% 20% 9% 9% 39%
Waterford 22% 29% 11% 16% 22%
Wexford 29% 26% 12% 9% 24%
Wicklow 17% 30% 10% 17% 25%

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 2 2 0 1 0
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 0 2 0
Clare 2 1 0 0 1
Cork East 1 1 1 1 0
Cork North Central 1 1 0 1 1
Cork North West 2 1 0 0 0
Cork South Central 2 1 0 1 0
Cork South West 2 1 0 0 0
Donegal 1 1 0 2 1
Dublin Central 1 0 0 1 1
Dublin Mid West 1 1 1 1 0
Dublin Fingal 1 2 1 0 1
Dublin Bay North 1 1 1 1 1
Dublin North West 1 0 1 1 0
Dublin Rathdown 0 1 0 0 2
Dublin South Central 0 1 1 1 1
Dublin Bay South 1 1 1 0 1
Dublin South West 1 1 1 1 1
Dublin West 1 1 1 0 1
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 0 0 1
Galway East 1 1 0 0 1
Galway West 2 1 0 0 2
Kerry County 1 1 0 1 2
Kildare North 1 1 1 0 1
Kildare South 2 1 0 0 0
Laois 1 1 0 1 0
Offaly 1 1 0 0 1
Limerick City 2 2 0 0 0
Limerick 1 2 0 0 0
Longford-Westmeath 2 1 1 0 0
Louth 2 1 0 2 0
Mayo 1 3 0 0 0
Meath East 1 2 0 0 0
Meath West 1 1 0 1 0
Roscommon-Galway 1 1 0 0 1
Sligo-Leitrim 2 1 0 1 0
Tipperary 1 1 0 0 3
Waterford 1 1 0 1 1
Wexford 2 2 0 0 1
Wicklow 1 2 0 1 1
STATE 50 48 11 22 27

These estimates also need to take account of the candidate and competition trends unique to the different constituency. Amending the model to account for seats that may be won or lost on the basis of estimates here being based on support levels derived due to a large/small number of candidates contesting the election in 2011 or one candidate polling especially well in that 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 2 2 0 1 0
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 0 2 0
Clare 2 1 0 0 1
Cork East 1 1 1 1 0
Cork North Central 1 1 1 1 0
Cork North West 2 1 0 0 0
Cork South Central 2 1 0 1 0
Cork South West 2 1 0 0 0
Donegal 1 1 0 2 1
Dublin Central 1 0 0 1 1
Dublin Mid West 1 1 1 1 0
Dublin Fingal 1 2 1 0 1
Dublin Bay North 1 1 1 1 1
Dublin North West 1 0 1 1 0
Dublin Rathdown 1 1 0 0 1
Dublin South Central 0 1 1 1 1
Dublin Bay South 1 1 1 0 1
Dublin South West 1 2 1 1 0
Dublin West 1 1 1 0 1
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 1 0 0
Galway East 1 1 0 0 1
Galway West 2 1 0 0 2
Kerry County 1 1 0 1 2
Kildare North 1 1 1 0 1
Kildare South 2 1 0 0 0
Laois 1 1 0 1 0
Offaly 1 1 0 0 1
Limerick City 2 2 0 0 0
Limerick 1 2 0 0 0
Longford-Westmeath 2 1 1 0 0
Louth 2 1 0 2 0
Mayo 1 3 0 0 0
Meath East 1 2 0 0 0
Meath West 1 1 0 1 0
Roscommon-Galway 1 1 0 0 1
Sligo-Leitrim 2 1 0 1 0
Tipperary 1 1 0 0 3
Waterford 1 1 0 1 1
Wexford 2 2 0 0 1
Wicklow 1 2 0 1 1
STATE 51 49 13 22 23
% seats 32.3 31.0 8.2 13.9 14.6

Based on these seat estimates, a Fine Gael-Labour alliance (combined seat level of 62 seats) would not have a sufficient number of seats to command a bare majority in the Dail (79 seats in a 158 seat Dail, assuming a TD from another political grouping would take on the role of Ceann Comhairle) but a potential Fianna Fail-Sinn Fein (combined seat level of 73 seats) alliance would just require the support of six other Dail deputies from the Independents and Others ranks to make up the numbers to attain a majority in the Dail. Of course, a Fianna Fail-Fine Gael coalition government, based on these seat estimates would command a very strong Dail  majority (with a combined seat level of 100 seats).

On these poll figures, it would seem that Fianna Fail would be almost certain to be a part of the next government if these figures were replicated at the next general election, whether it be in coalition with Sinn Fein (and some Others) or with Fine Gael.

The seat estimates based on this constituency-level analysis still suggest a significant improvement in Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein seat levels relative to those won by these parties and groupings in the 2011 contest (especially given that the fact that there will be eight less seats in the next Dail has been factored into this analysis), effectively pointing to significant gains on the part of the Dail opposition since 2011. The same applies to the Independents and Others, but it is worth noting that, as opposed to the parties, the Independents and Others grouping is a very broad church and includes a range of parties, groups and individuals with very different ideological perspectives, including the Socialist Party, the People Before Profit alliance and the Green Party, as well as left-leaning independents and Fianna Fail-gene pool independents. Looking at the constituencies where this grouping is predicted to win seats in this model, it can be seen that left-leaning parties and independents would take 12/13 of the 22 seats being assigned to this grouping.

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The constituency support estimates based on the Sunday Business Post-Red C poll figures, when using the new constituency units (as used for the next general election), are as follows:

FF FG LB SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 41% 28% 9% 14% 8%
Cavan-Monaghan 26% 25% 3% 37% 9%
Clare 32% 30% 8% 5% 25%
Cork East 27% 29% 19% 19% 6%
Cork North Central 23% 19% 14% 23% 21%
Cork North West 38% 36% 8% 12% 6%
Cork South Central 41% 24% 10% 12% 13%
Cork South West 36% 36% 8% 12% 8%
Donegal 25% 15% 4% 38% 18%
Dublin Central 17% 11% 16% 24% 32%
Dublin Mid West 19% 24% 19% 20% 19%
Dublin Fingal 24% 24% 15% 5% 32%
Dublin Bay North 19% 25% 18% 15% 22%
Dublin North West 20% 14% 24% 31% 10%
Dublin Rathdown 15% 27% 10% 4% 44%
Dublin South Central 15% 16% 21% 23% 24%
Dublin Bay South 18% 29% 16% 7% 30%
Dublin South West 16% 23% 19% 21% 21%
Dublin West 27% 21% 16% 10% 26%
Dun Laoghaire 24% 27% 18% 4% 28%
Galway East 27% 32% 8% 8% 25%
Galway West 28% 24% 6% 9% 33%
Kerry County 17% 24% 9% 17% 32%
Kildare North 23% 26% 18% 9% 23%
Kildare South 33% 25% 16% 10% 15%
Laois 39% 25% 7% 21% 8%
Offaly 33% 18% 2% 9% 38%
Limerick City 35% 33% 12% 13% 8%
Limerick 30% 39% 9% 6% 16%
Longford-Westmeath 31% 29% 16% 13% 11%
Louth 22% 22% 10% 32% 14%
Mayo 26% 49% 3% 11% 11%
Meath East 30% 31% 12% 14% 12%
Meath West 27% 33% 8% 27% 6%
Roscommon-Galway 21% 29% 6% 9% 35%
Sligo-Leitrim 32% 24% 4% 26% 14%
Tipperary 21% 20% 9% 8% 42%
Waterford 21% 28% 11% 16% 24%
Wexford 28% 25% 12% 9% 26%
Wicklow 16% 29% 10% 16% 29%

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 2 2 0 1 0
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 0 2 0
Clare 2 1 0 0 1
Cork East 1 1 1 1 0
Cork North Central 1 1 0 1 1
Cork North West 2 1 0 0 0
Cork South Central 2 1 0 0 1
Cork South West 2 1 0 0 0
Donegal 1 1 0 2 1
Dublin Central 1 0 0 1 1
Dublin Mid West 1 1 0 1 1
Dublin Fingal 1 1 1 0 2
Dublin Bay North 1 1 1 1 1
Dublin North West 1 0 1 1 0
Dublin Rathdown 0 1 0 0 2
Dublin South Central 0 1 1 1 1
Dublin Bay South 1 1 1 0 1
Dublin South West 1 1 1 1 1
Dublin West 1 1 1 0 1
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 0 0 1
Galway East 1 1 0 0 1
Galway West 2 1 0 0 2
Kerry County 1 1 0 1 2
Kildare North 1 1 1 0 1
Kildare South 2 1 0 0 0
Laois 1 1 0 1 0
Offaly 1 0 0 0 2
Limerick City 2 2 0 0 0
Limerick 1 2 0 0 0
Longford-Westmeath 2 1 0 1 0
Louth 1 1 0 2 1
Mayo 1 3 0 0 0
Meath East 1 2 0 0 0
Meath West 1 1 0 1 0
Roscommon-Galway 1 1 0 0 1
Sligo-Leitrim 2 1 0 1 0
Tipperary 1 1 0 0 3
Waterford 1 1 0 1 1
Wexford 2 1 0 0 2
Wicklow 1 2 0 1 1
STATE 49 45 9 22 33

These estimates also need to take account of the candidate and competition trends unique to the different constituency. Amending the model to account for seats that may be won or lost on the basis of estimates here being based on support levels derived due to a large/small number of candidates contesting the election in 2011 or one candidate polling especially well in that 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 2 2 0 1 0
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 0 2 0
Clare 2 1 0 0 1
Cork East 1 1 1 1 0
Cork North Central 1 1 1 1 0
Cork North West 2 1 0 0 0
Cork South Central 2 1 0 1 0
Cork South West 2 1 0 0 0
Donegal 1 1 0 2 1
Dublin Central 1 0 0 1 1
Dublin Mid West 1 1 1 1 0
Dublin Fingal 1 1 1 0 2
Dublin Bay North 1 1 1 1 1
Dublin North West 1 0 1 1 0
Dublin Rathdown 0 2 0 0 1
Dublin South Central 0 1 1 1 1
Dublin Bay South 1 1 1 0 1
Dublin South West 1 2 1 1 0
Dublin West 1 1 1 0 1
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 1 0 0
Galway East 1 1 0 0 1
Galway West 2 1 0 0 2
Kerry County 1 1 0 1 2
Kildare North 1 1 1 0 1
Kildare South 2 1 0 0 0
Laois 1 1 0 1 0
Offaly 1 1 0 0 1
Limerick City 2 2 0 0 0
Limerick 1 2 0 0 0
Longford-Westmeath 2 1 0 1 0
Louth 2 1 0 2 0
Mayo 1 3 0 0 0
Meath East 1 2 0 0 0
Meath West 1 1 0 1 0
Roscommon-Galway 1 1 0 0 1
Sligo-Leitrim 2 1 0 1 0
Tipperary 1 1 0 0 3
Waterford 1 1 0 1 1
Wexford 2 1 1 0 1
Wicklow 1 2 0 1 1
STATE 50 48 13 23 24
% seats 31.6 30.4 8.2 14.6 15.2

Based on these seat estimates, a Fine Gael-Labour alliance (combined seat level of 61 seats) would not have a sufficient number of seats to command a bare majority in the Dail (79 seats in a 158 seat Dail, assuming a TD from another political grouping would take on the role of Ceann Comhairle) but a potential Fianna Fail-Sinn Fein (combined seat level of 73 seats) alliance would just require the support of six other Dail deputies from the Independents and Others ranks to make up the numbers to attain a majority in the Dail. Of course, a Fianna Fail-Fine Gael coalition government, based on these seat estimates would command a very strong Dail  majority (with a combined seat level of 98 seats).

On these poll figures, it would seem that Fianna Fail would be almost certain to be a part of the next government if these figures were replicated at the next general election, whether it be in coalition with Sinn Fein (and some Others) or with Fine Gael.

The seat estimates based on this constituency-level analysis still suggest a significant improvement in Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein seat levels relative to those won by these parties and groupings in the 2011 contest (especially given that the fact that there will be eight less seats in the next Dail has been factored into this analysis), effectively pointing to significant gains on the part of the Dail opposition since 2011. The same applies to the Independents and Others, but it is worth noting that, as opposed to the parties, the Independents and Others grouping is a very broad church and includes a range of parties, groups and individuals with very different ideological perspectives, including the Socialist Party, the People Before Profit alliance and the Green Party, as well as left-leaning independents and Fianna Fail-gene pool independents. Looking at the constituencies where this grouping is predicted to win seats in this model, it can be seen that left-leaning parties and independents would take 12/13 of the 22 seats being assigned to this grouping.

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The constituency support estimates based on the Millward Brown-Sunday Independent poll figures, when using the new constituency units (as used for the next general election), are as follows:

FF FG LB SF OTH GP
Carlow-Kilkenny 42% 25% 10% 17% 5% 2%
Cavan-Monaghan 25% 21% 3% 43% 8% 0%
Clare 33% 27% 9% 7% 23% 1%
Cork East 27% 25% 21% 22% 4% 1%
Cork North Central 23% 17% 15% 26% 18% 1%
Cork North West 39% 32% 9% 14% 4% 1%
Cork South Central 42% 21% 11% 15% 9% 1%
Cork South West 37% 33% 9% 14% 6% 1%
Donegal 24% 13% 4% 43% 16% 0%
Dublin Central 17% 9% 17% 27% 28% 1%
Dublin Mid West 19% 21% 20% 23% 14% 2%
Dublin Fingal 26% 23% 18% 6% 23% 5%
Dublin Bay North 19% 23% 19% 18% 20% 1%
Dublin North West 19% 12% 25% 35% 8% 1%
Dublin Rathdown 16% 26% 12% 6% 36% 4%
Dublin South Central 14% 14% 23% 27% 21% 1%
Dublin Bay South 19% 27% 19% 8% 23% 4%
Dublin South West 16% 20% 21% 25% 17% 1%
Dublin West 27% 18% 18% 12% 24% 1%
Dun Laoghaire 25% 25% 20% 5% 23% 2%
Galway East 28% 29% 9% 10% 24% 0%
Galway West 29% 22% 7% 11% 30% 1%
Kerry County 17% 21% 10% 21% 30% 0%
Kildare North 23% 23% 20% 11% 21% 1%
Kildare South 34% 23% 18% 12% 13% 1%
Laois 39% 22% 7% 24% 7% 0%
Offaly 33% 16% 3% 11% 37% 0%
Limerick City 35% 29% 14% 15% 6% 1%
Limerick 31% 36% 10% 8% 15% 0%
Longford-Westmeath 31% 26% 18% 15% 10% 0%
Louth 22% 19% 11% 38% 8% 2%
Mayo 28% 45% 3% 14% 10% 0%
Meath East 31% 27% 14% 17% 11% 1%
Meath West 27% 29% 8% 31% 4% 1%
Roscommon-Galway 21% 27% 6% 11% 34% 0%
Sligo-Leitrim 31% 21% 5% 30% 12% 0%
Tipperary 22% 18% 10% 10% 40% 0%
Waterford 22% 25% 12% 19% 22% 0%
Wexford 28% 23% 13% 11% 25% 0%
Wicklow 16% 26% 11% 19% 26% 1%

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 GP
Carlow-Kilkenny 3 1 0 1 0 0
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 0 2 0 0
Clare 2 1 0 0 1 0
Cork East 1 1 1 1 0 0
Cork North Central 1 1 0 1 1 0
Cork North West 2 1 0 0 0 0
Cork South Central 2 1 0 1 0 0
Cork South West 2 1 0 0 0 0
Donegal 1 0 0 3 1 0
Dublin Central 1 0 0 1 1 0
Dublin Mid West 1 1 1 1 0 0
Dublin Fingal 2 1 1 0 1 0
Dublin Bay North 1 1 1 1 1 0
Dublin North West 1 0 1 1 0 0
Dublin Rathdown 0 1 0 0 2 0
Dublin South Central 1 0 1 1 1 0
Dublin Bay South 1 1 1 0 1 0
Dublin South West 1 1 1 1 1 0
Dublin West 1 1 1 0 1 0
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 0 0 1 0
Galway East 1 1 0 0 1 0
Galway West 2 1 0 0 2 0
Kerry County 1 1 0 1 2 0
Kildare North 1 1 1 0 1 0
Kildare South 1 1 1 0 0 0
Laois 1 1 0 1 0 0
Offaly 1 0 0 0 2 0
Limerick City 2 1 0 1 0 0
Limerick 1 2 0 0 0 0
Longford-Westmeath 2 1 1 0 0 0
Louth 1 1 0 3 0 0
Mayo 1 3 0 0 0 0
Meath East 1 1 0 1 0 0
Meath West 1 1 0 1 0 0
Roscommon-Galway 1 1 0 0 1 0
Sligo-Leitrim 2 1 0 1 0 0
Tipperary 1 1 0 0 3 0
Waterford 1 1 0 1 1 0
Wexford 2 1 1 0 1 0
Wicklow 1 2 0 1 1 0
STATE 51 40 13 26 28 0

These estimates also need to take account of the candidate and competition trends unique to the different constituency. Amending the model to account for seats that may be won or lost on the basis of estimates here being based on support levels derived due to a large/small number of candidates contesting the election in 2011 or one candidate polling especially well in that 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 GP
Carlow-Kilkenny 3 1 0 1 0 0
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 0 2 0 0
Clare 2 1 0 0 1 0
Cork East 1 1 1 1 0 0
Cork North Central 1 1 1 1 0 0
Cork North West 2 1 0 0 0 0
Cork South Central 2 1 0 1 0 0
Cork South West 2 1 0 0 0 0
Donegal 1 0 0 3 1 0
Dublin Central 1 0 0 1 1 0
Dublin Mid West 1 1 1 1 0 0
Dublin Fingal 2 1 1 0 1 0
Dublin Bay North 1 1 1 1 1 0
Dublin North West 1 0 1 1 0 0
Dublin Rathdown 1 1 0 0 1 0
Dublin South Central 1 0 1 1 1 0
Dublin Bay South 1 1 1 0 1 0
Dublin South West 1 1 1 2 0 0
Dublin West 1 1 1 0 1 0
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 1 0 0 0
Galway East 1 1 0 0 1 0
Galway West 2 1 0 0 2 0
Kerry County 1 1 0 1 2 0
Kildare North 1 1 1 0 1 0
Kildare South 1 1 1 0 0 0
Laois 1 1 0 1 0 0
Offaly 1 1 0 0 1 0
Limerick City 2 1 0 1 0 0
Limerick 1 2 0 0 0 0
Longford-Westmeath 2 1 1 0 0 0
Louth 1 1 1 2 0 0
Mayo 2 2 0 0 0 0
Meath East 1 1 0 1 0 0
Meath West 1 1 0 1 0 0
Roscommon-Galway 1 1 0 0 1 0
Sligo-Leitrim 2 1 0 1 0 0
Tipperary 1 1 0 0 3 0
Waterford 1 1 0 1 1 0
Wexford 2 1 1 0 1 0
Wicklow 1 2 0 1 1 0
STATE 53 40 16 26 22 0
% seats 33.5 25.3 10.1 16.5 13.9 0.0

Based on these seat estimates, a Fine Gael-Labour alliance (combined seat level of 56 seats) would not have a sufficient number of seats to command a bare majority in the Dail (79 seats in a 158 seat Dail, assuming a TD from another political grouping would take on the role of Ceann Comhairle) but a potential Fianna Fail-Sinn Fein (combined seat level of 79 seats) alliance would just about have those numbers. Of course, a Fianna Fail-Fine Gael coalition government, based on these seat estimates would command a very strong Dail  Emajority (with a combined seat level of 93 seats).

The seat estimates based on this constituency-level analysis still suggest a significant improvement in Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein seat levels relative to those won by these parties and groupings in the 2011 contest (especially given that the fact that there will be eight less seats in the next Dail has been factored into this analysis), effectively pointing to significant gains on the part of the Dail opposition since 2011. The same applies to the Independents and Others, but it is worth noting that, as opposed to the parties, the Independents and Others grouping is a very broad church and includes a range of parties, groups and individuals with very different ideological perspectives, including the Socialist Party, the People Before Profit alliance and the Green Party, as well as left-leaning independents and Fianna Fail-gene pool independents. Looking at the constituencies where this grouping is predicted to win seats in this model, it can be seen that left-leaning parties and independents would take 12 of the 22 seats being assigned to this grouping.

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The changing seat numbers for the parties in the different analyses points to one reason why the Irish electoral system is not entirely one hundred percent proportional – thus underpinning the rationale behind this series of constituency level analyses of polling figures – as the manner in which constituency boundaries are drawn, or redrawn, can act to gives certain parties a significant advantage in terms of translating their vote tallies into seat wins. This knowledge, of course, formed the basis for the gerrymanders that marked the partisan boundary redrawal system which existed up to the 1977 General Election, with the party/parties in government being in a position to be able to redraw election boundaries in a manner that would allow them to pick up extra seats. In simplistic terms, in the 1960s and 1970s this amounted to the main government options seeking to create constituency units with odd-numbers of seats in the regions of the state where their support levels were highest (where a 50% share of the vote would be sufficient to allow them win 2 seats in a 3-seat constituency or 3 seats in a 5-seat constituency) and constituency units with even numbers of seats (i.e. 4-seat constituencies) where their support levels were weaker as a 40% share of the vote would be sufficient to allow them win 2 seats out of 4. Since the introduction of independent boundary commissions following the 1977 General Election, partisan influences no longer can skew the boundary drawing process in favour of a government party, or government parties, but as the example here shows a significant redrawal such as that envisaged in the 2012 Constituency Commission report will probably tend to disproportionately advantage, or disadvantage, certain parties or political groupings. Similarly, as the range of constituency level analyses prior to the 2011 General Election displayed, a party’s ability to take advantage of such disproportionality in the system, whether arising from constituency boundaries or a tendency for the Irish system to favour the larger parties, is dependent on that party maintaining its support at, or above, a certain level, as a fall in support for that party, even if relatively minimal, can lead to disproportionate level of potential seat losses if party support levels fall below a certain “tipping point”.

This concept of a “tipping point” is especially notable in the case of Fianna Fail. When the party’s support level fell below 20% in the latter part of 2010, this meant that the party – especially given its traditional catch all nature of support – was now in a position where it was struggling to win seats in a number of three-seat and four-seat constituencies, as well as five-seat constituencies in the Dublin region, where Fianna Fail support was notably weaker in 2011. The boundary changes associated with the 2012 Constituency Commission report acted to ensure the party would actually gain seats, irrespective of gains in support levels, as suggested by previous posts. With party support now over 20%, and with a very fractured political environment in which significant vote levels are being won by a number of different parties and political groupings, as opposed to the more straight-forward political landscape of the early 1980s, Fianna Fail is now in a position where it can expect to win seats in most of the larger (four and five seat) constituencies and will be competitive in most three-seat constituencies, especially in rural Ireland. This is translating into a disproportionate gain, relative to support trends, in seat levels for Fianna Fail. The level of seat gains suggested for Fianna Fail in this analysis also underpins the extent of “near misses” that the party endured in a number of constituencies at the last general election, meaning only a slight increase in support in a  number of constituencies would translate such “near misses” into seat gains, especially with the assistance of the recent boundary changes in a number of cases. Unlike Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein prospects of transforming vote gains into seat gains is stymied by the party’s weakness in certain constituencies, in which the party is likely to remain uncompetitive even if it should gain a few extra percentage points in terms of support levels. The more regional nature of the Sinn Fein support base is ideal for translating smaller levels of support into seat levels in its stronger areas, but it means the party may struggle to make the significant levels of seat gains on the basis of further increases in support that Fianna Fail could hope to make. Ultimately the political landscape of the next Dail will be determined by what levels of support these parties are standing on when the next election takes place (which could be as late as Spring 2016) but it will also be shaped by the different parties’ geographies of support, and the extent to which these support geographies might entitle these to a “bias” in terms of seat levels relative to support levels, or see the parties winning fewer seats that their support levels would suggest.

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6 thoughts on “Fianna Fail/Sinn Fein coalition government by 2016? May/June opinion polls from Millward Brown and Red C

  1. The people of this country are going to hit FG and Labour hard in the next election of that there can be no doubt. Labour could go to under 10 TD’s .

    What are the values and I use the word “values” that would bring FF and SF together, other than raw power? FF are the party that signed on the dotted line of the Trokia MOU that provided for a tax on homes and a tax on water. SF say they are going to fight the next election with the aim of getting rid of property tax and water charges a policy stand for which they are going to get a certain landslide of votes.

    Sinn Fein say they will get rid of property tax and water charges if they get a “mandate” from the people. Ahh, there is the rub! Nobody, in SF has explained to me what is their precise definition of “mandate”. If they get 20 seats, is that a mandate? If they get 40 seats, is that a mandate? If they get 50 seats is that a mandate etc? Sinn Fein need to tell us whether their definition of “mandate” is an overall majority? This is a bit like saying, if I win the Euro millions I will see you all right! but then turning around and saying seeing that I only won the Irish lotto I can do nothing for your troubles.

    In particular, will Sinn Fein with a smaller number of seats than FF go into government with FF and let FF get away with taxing homes and taxing water both FF policy? Will SF offer the lame duck excuse of, ‘we are only the minority party in government so there was nothing we could do’? Implicit here, is if the electorate had given us more seats, we might have been able to do something about property charges and water charges but alas….. Will SF be able to have their cake and eat it? Will they be able to run an election on the basis of getting rid of both these hated taxes, soaking up the votes but knowing that they are planning to go into coalition with FF and knowing that they will be sacrificing both those objectives in short order? If that is the case, and it is likely, it is gross cynicism.

    SF need to state these (property and water taxes), are core SF policies the acceptance of which is a prerequisite before any talks on forming a coalition government might even happen.

  2. ISinn Fein cannot be seen or heard to advocate policies of Fianna Fail simply because these are the tough choices a minority party would have to accept in Government.
    Most of the people who support the current Sinn Fein, do so out of total rejection of unfair taxes and others which are in the pipeline, not to mention the continued private sector involvement, management and profiteering of/from state resources in addition to turning a blind eye to unfair taxation via policies of positive discrimination towards a social elite.
    Business is of course essential to the development of a strong economy provided the majority of the population can find work, are suitably educated and well trained, and enjoy the benefits of having their taxes well spent as with the Scandinavian models.
    First and foremost, Sinn Fein need to make it quite clear that the resources of the Nation are the property of the Nation, and that those who can afford to be taxed are done so in a fair and relative system. Ireland cannot develop it’s natural or human resources unless all the citizens of this Island are treated in an equitable and fair manner.
    I am surprised that there are still people on this Island who would simply jump from one burning ship to another.
    This generation as with previous generations have been groomed and coached under a cloak of fear and subtle intimidation, we have seen the rejection of majority votes in referendums and been told to vote until we had given the correct decision. We have been told that the ever increasing margin of wealth between the vast majority and the chosen few is necessary and that it is the fate of those sliding down the financial ladder to accept their lot or get out.
    We are returning to a class system where a Government of the people is being controlled by a wealthy minority and outside interests, and yet they threaten us that non compliance is a non starter. In other words, you have no choice regardless of how you vote!
    Sinn Fein need to make it clear that Irish people need to, and can take control of their own destiny
    by simply rejecting the same old mantra from different preachers operating on corporate orders.
    Would we rather see an Ireland developing on the Norwegian model or are we happy to see ourselves sink further into a model of super capitalism where only a chosen few can ever realize the
    bounties and comforts that Ireland can provide?
    It won’t be easy, but a clear statement needs to be drawn up rejecting those who are defying the principles set out by the founding fathers of this nation. Until then, we we will be seen as nothing but a defeated and fearful people cowering under the weight of threats.
    Sinn Fein are being tempted by Martin to change in order to taste power, but it is a poison chalice and would see all they have worked for evaporate before they even took their seats in an unholy alliance.
    Sinn Fein do not need to succumb, it will only split their ranks and dilute their voter base.
    Great change has always been borne out of radical opinions and steely determination. Martin is not as clever as he thinks, perhaps it is better to remain in opposition while your opponents repeat the same sins. I for one don’t not want an alliance with Fianna Fail, it would be an insult to the true values of the original Republic. Does anyone think for one moment that Fianna Fail or Fine Gael as they stand right now would have fought for a Republic in 1916, they dishonor their traditions, will Sinn Fein do likewise, I think not!

    • Well, Is mise Eireann unfortunately Sinn Fein may not have the luxury of standing on the side lines as the country is dismantled further. That would be simply cutting off your nose despite your face no party is above the needs of the country. It is country first party second not the other way around. That is what has got us to where we are now each party pursuing their own agenda with the little back room tacticians trying to gain maximum leverage for the party and to hell with the country.

      My real hope is that a new party that represents the disenfranchised youth of the country gets its act together failing that I will be voting for Sinn Fein provided I get my guarantees from Mary Lou written in lipstick if she has to.

  3. In respect to Sinn Féin and their ‘no household/water charge’ it appears this applies only to their policy in the twenty six counties. For instance, in Lifford, their Party oppose this tax yet, 100 yards away in Strabane, Co. Tyrone, their Party, with the majority Party tag, introduce the greatest household charge hike of all the councils in the six counties. Yes, Sinn Féin increased rates by 3.77% while other councils either decreased rates or had lower increases.
    I am certain the delivery of services for hard-pressed tax payer’s in this part of West Tyrone is not improving as a result of this, and previous SF imposed household charge increases, I further believe part of Strabane Parish stretches into Lifford so Sinn Féin have different political policies within one Party and within the same Parish, is this not a little odd for an all-Ireland political party?

  4. Do not get excited about the fickle poll numbers. At best, they are fortification for your talking points; provided you have talking points. Polls are the blood pressure of the moment, nothing more.

    Look for charismatic leadership who can articulate some challenging goals with an excitement that reaches the minds of the masses. You seem to headed toward the “wedge” issues that divide the electorate and inflame the passions but fail to reach the hopes of the country.

    Issues that don’t address the economy and the stability of the government are fraudulent and counterproductive.

    From afar it appears that Enda has the two ingredients that generate confidence in the voter; that is balls and common sense. Voters seem to respect and reward those who show such ingredients and give him their confidence.

    Good luck

    • “Balls and common sense”. These are in very short supply when dealing with the Troika, remember all that talk of “burden sharing” we heard before the election? Well how much “burden sharing” have we actually had?

      Enda Kenny promised that he would put an end to nepotism and cronyism but weeks after taking over in March 2011, when boards were again being stuffed and tax payers money was being used to fund jobs for family members and party apparatchiks, he told us there was nothing he could do, he had encouraged people not to appoint family members but there was nothing he could do as he was only Taoiseach and these were “personal appointments”. Personal appointments paid for with public money.

      Ireland is an insolvent country no matter what way the government spin it and the policies Enda’s government have pursued guarantee emigration of 75,000 people annually, on top of the 350,000 that have already left the country. There have not even been crocodile tears for these emigrants. The IMF in their last report stated that Ireland had, “an appalling unemployment rate of 22%” however the state statisticians manage to portray that as falling below 14%. In the midst of state insolvency the government have “negotiated” another appalling deal the Haddington Road/ Beggars Bush deal, with unions which circumvent any real adjustment of public/private salaries. Dr. Sean Barrett economist has warned the government that, “public sector pay is out of control” according to Barrett (blatantly obvious anyway) seeking cuts of 300 million from the public sector from a total government spend of 51bn was totally inadequate.

      The only gallery that Kenny has played to, as far as I can see, is the anti Catholic church gallery and admittedly that is a rather large gallery as regards the economy, his government has passed the debt to the next generation, an example of that was converting the illegal promissory notes into government bonds the last of which will be due for redemption in 2053 when Michael Noonan is 110 years old. Great leadership indeed!

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