Beyond a Boundary*
As Gavin pointed out yesterday, the new boundaries were signed into law by the President on Wednesday, and if a general election were to be called in the morning it would be under the new constituencies (further by-elections will continue to operate under the ones in play in #GE11). And so, I’ve re-done the spreadsheet to reflect the new boundaries.
In some cases, there is a degree of subjectivity in calculating the base, as the indirect effects of the revision will be hard to call. It may be that moving 5,000 FF voters from one Dublin area to another will simply see them behave the same as if left be, but would, for example, the presence of a strong Indo candidate such as Finian McGrath result in SF or LP voters from the old Dublin NE constituency change their colours?
Also, I’ve not been able to source national tallies for the new constituencies based on #GE11 , and so there is a degree of clunkiness involved in calculation of the 2011 base. Again, if anyone comes forward with such tallies, I’d be grateful and would credit the supplier everytime I use the spreadsheet.
Anyways, the projections….
|ULA & SP **||3.24%||4|
First thing to notice is that, compared to the same poll projected on the previous constituencies, FF is actually *up*, despite there being fewer seats up for grabs. FG and LP are both down marginally, although larger constituencies here and there outside the capital put a few more seats ‘in play’ for LP in particular. If you’re wondering why the changes see GP gain a seat, the addition of a 5th seat into the new Dublin Fingal sees a dog fight for that last seat, and one which I’d see Trevor Sargant just shading… but in the absence of a national figure for GP that’s a stab in the dark.
As regards the poll figures, they will give comfort to the coalition, in particular Labour, although I must admit to wondering if it’s an outlier. LP have taken a bit of a battering among PS voters in the last month, and unless this is a case of the damage already being ‘priced into’ their previous ratings, it would surprise me to see them on the up. There seems little reason for the drop in SF either….normally moves of 2%, despite being within the margin of error, are still quite probable, however on this occasion I wonder… we’ll see after the next poll, maybe.
The poll also asks what people think of property tax, although the results are less useful than presented. When prompted by the surveyer, the following responses were made;
“I believe that this property tax is an unfair tax.”
“I am worried that i will calculate my property tax wrongly and get fined by Revenue.”
“I am eligible but do not intend to pay the property tax.”
“I am less likely to support government parties as a result sf the property tax.
No indications of the level of “Don’t Knows” in the link, there may be in the paper.
If people were asked, on the introduction of any tax they would personally be paying, whether they thought it was unfair, it would be surprising if less than half would reply in the affirmative. Effectively, for many people, this question amounts to asking if they like paying tax. If however, they were asked whether they’d rather the tax raised by it would be, instead, raised through higher income tax, or cuts in Health or Child Benefit, the figures would be very different. Of course, we might prefer as a country we weren’t lumbered with the bank guarantee, but that remains in effect whether or not Property tax is introduced.
Even less illuminating is the “less likely to vote for the Govt” as a result of the tax question. As pointed out by one person on Twitter last night, a clear majority said yes, but in a poll that showed an increase in support for the Govt. A contradiction? No, an illustration of how polls can mislead. There are two examples in this single question that make it pointless. The first, and more obvious, is that the people being polled are the entire population, including people who would, under no circumstances, vote for the Govt. Most of these, presumably, see this as “another bad thing that shower are doing” and hence consider themselves “even less likely” to vote for them as a result. But given they weren’t going to anyway, this is a false positive.
The second point, is that it is a mild form of push polling. By framing the question in that way, the respondent is thinking of *that* issue and the Govt’s role in it- above others – in the context of a GE decision. But people rarely vote in a GE on the basis of one policy measure, over the course of 4 weeks various issues are thrown at them, and they make a decision, largely aggregating their views on these, with a subconscious weighting deciding what the key ones are. The same person who, when prompted if they will vote against FG/LP as a result of property tax may, quite honestly, reply yes, but some of those, if then asked will they vote for FF (given the bank guarantee), or SF (given links with the IRA), or ULA (given their Marxist politics), or their local Indo (given his tax/penalty point status), they may also say “no” for a variety of reasons, and finally conclude that they will vote for the “lesser evil”. Elevating one issue in the context of asking how you will vote will always skew a polling result, and that’s why the “party support” question would never be asked immediately after such a question.
Edit: I had forgotten to include the following explanation which is more articulate…
Finally…29% say they are eligible to pay the tax, but “do not intend to pay it”. Unless I’ve misread the legislation, if they don’t pay it while alive, their Estate will pay it (with taxes/penalties) on the transfer of the property after their death.
The two great inevitables… death and taxes….