Irish Polling Indicator: Government parties bounce back a bit


Irish Polling Indicator (2012-now) showing estimates of party support with a 95% uncertainty interval

The first quarter of 2015 has seen a moderate bounce in the polls for the government coalition parties. Fine Gael was at a 22% low in December, now finds itself at 25%. Labour rose from 6% to 8% in the same time. This pattern emerges from the Irish Polling Indicator, which combines all national election polls to one estimate of the parties’ standing in the polls.

The independents and smaller parties find themselves loosing polling support: down from 29% to 25%. Fianna Fáil has been on a downward slope for about two years now, although its losses over the last six months (about 2%) fall within the margin of error. The party now stands at only 17%, which is about the same as the 2011 election result.

Sinn Féin has been polling very well since 2012, but did not manage to increase its share of first preferences in the poll over the last six months. It has been relatively stable at around 22%. The Green Party is also polling consistently low at about 2%.

Marriage referendum

With the same-sex marriage referendum coming up in May, the poll numbers still seem to favour the yes-side. These poll numbers have been combined in much the same way as for the party support. Excluding don’t knows, support for yes is at 77% (margin of error: 74%-79%).

Marriage referendum plot

Estimate of support for same-sex marriage (excluding undecideds). Line and shaded area represent combined estimate and 95% uncertainty margin. The dots represent separate polls.

These numbers cannot be taken as a prediction of the final result. Even though the number of people declaring themselves as undecided are relatively low (ranging from only 3% in one recent poll to 22%  in another, but with most around or below 10%), differences in turnout between groups may result in a markedly different outcome. Support for same-sex marriage seems to be strongest among younger voters, who are less likely to turn out.

The challenge for the yes campaign, then, mainly seems to be to mobilise their supporters. They do not need to convince additional voters if they can get out the support that they have.

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