Irish Polling Report

A place to discuss Irish opinion polls

Fine Gael poll in Donegal SW

with 11 comments

As mentioned by SFInbhear in, The Donegal Democrat this week have an article which makes mention of an internal poll done for Fine Gael in advance of the Donegal South-West bye-election (whenever that may be held). I had a look at the paper today to see if there were more details than s/he posted, but there wasn’t.

The poll, if accurate (and that *is* a big if), is quite amazing, and particularly bad news for FG’s ambitions. Voters were asked who, among the likely FF, FG, LP and SF candidates they were likely to support, and it had FF neck and neck with SF, LP’s Frank McBrearty in 3rd place, and FG in a disappointing (for them) fourth. Given the options didn’t include two independents who pull from the FG candidate Barry O’Neill’s area, he probably would be lower still in a real poll.

Without full figures, its hard to work out the result from this, but it suggests that McBrearty has gone from very long shot to genuine contender. If he out-polls FG, he can expect extremely high transfers from them, which may be likely to see him haul in SF’s Pearse Doherty, most of whose transfers might be expected to stay in the anti-Government pile. While a number of Donegal SF posters on have refered to him as a bit of a curmudgeon, his standing up to Garda corruption does appear to generate some admiration – sufficient, one presumes, to see him stay ahead of FF in their preferences.

To be still at the races, SF would need to be very close to 33% in first preferences to stay ahead of Labour (or FF would have to be a decent margin ahead of them, pushing the combined LP/FG vote down). If they’re not, the combined LP/FG vote would be expected to catch them. If, for example, FF are on 30%, SF on 28%, LP on 22% and FG at 20%, it would be game on. FG transfers, if they went one fifth each to FF and SF, and three fifths to LP, would see a second count of FF 34%, with both SF and LP on 32%.

A few ifs and buts there, but nothing compared to what faced McBrearty last Summer.

For FG it’s hard to see why they leaked the poll, although an un-named FG source seems to suggest to the Democrat that they may re-visit O’Neill’s candidacy, with a high profile candidate. But that’s unlikely to be a serious proposal. Whoever wins will be back on the trail a month or so later in a General Election (probably), and there’s only 1 FG seat (23% last time out, and lower now, going by this), which would most likely stay in Dinny McGinley’s mits. Even George Lee would baulk at that.

For FF, similarly, it’s not a great prospect. While the poll reportedly has them in first place, it suggests that they are ‘neck and neck’ with the Shinners in first preferences. Even SF might be expected to draw more transfers than a Govt candidate in a bye-election, but even this prospect is eclipsed by the prospect of a transfer friendly LP challenge with enough first preferences to make that count.

For SF, it would seem that they have a greater fight on their hands than I suspected. Indeed, if this trends, they may start planning ahead to the GE, when a vote in and around 25% will get them elected, without having to beg for transfers from voters who are antagonistic towards them.

And for McBrearty? Well, again, if it’s true, it’s remarkable. He came (in electoral terms) from nowhere to take a seat for LP in the locals, but this would be an achievement of altogether greater proportions. There is no shortage of political animals in Donegal, and the implications of this poll won’t be lost on them. Whatever McBrearty is, he’ll no longer be seen as a “wasted vote”, and that will be very positive for him, whether he pulls it off or not.

It also suggests that the national polling for LP isn’t just detecting a swing to them in Dublin. If this is the case here, one has to wonder how they are doing in places like Donegal North East, Roscommon, and Sligo.

Interesting times. Needless to say, if anyone out there has the full results, please let us know.

Written by Dotski

September 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

11 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. *pingback*

  2. In my experience, Fine Gael (Frank Flannery) only releases “internal polls” when it suits them. Usually they show the FG candidate in trouble. This creates a situation where all the locals are told that the FG candidate is in trouble, so to get votes from anywhere and everywhere. It also means their candidate ups his game.

    I would take this poll with a pinch of salt.


    September 11, 2010 at 2:32 pm

  3. Hi scandalcentral, yes, I’m certainly somewhat dubious of this, but FG are taking a calculated risk in releasing it. McBreaty’s biggest barrier is that he doesn’t have a chance. Giving him this sort of oxygen will see him gain, and largely from FG. Also my spreadsheet has recently been giving LP low teens in Donegal SW. Now, I’ve been somewhat dubious of that myself, but when you see a poll which apparently supports this, and it’s leaked by a party likely to lose as a result of it, well, it makes you think that he’s in with a shout….


    September 11, 2010 at 3:45 pm

  4. *pingback*

  5. […] As above for LP in Donegal. What odds Frank McBrearty as Minister for Justice? This shouldn’t surprise anyone who read this […]

  6. The poll happened. It unfortunately wasnt what fg expected at this time. barry nice guy but no knows him outside Ballyshannon in electoral terms. FG on margins again with selection as no other credable candidate within FG ranks that can garnish support throughout the contit.


    October 1, 2010 at 11:12 am

    • I think there’s possibly an element that there’s little point in coming forward and winning if they’re going to lose out in the GE a month later.

      I don’t suppose you heard the party shares at all? It sounds like FF and SF in low 30s and LP/FG in the teens, but still not been able to find anything definite…


      October 1, 2010 at 8:03 pm

  7. […] of constituency polls in Donegal SW, Cork SC, Cork NW, and Dun […]

  8. […] be hoping that figures from MRBI and Lansdowne are more accurate, given they tally better with a local FG poll Still, SF are very much the favourite here, and it would be a major surprise if they didn’t […]

  9. […] in September news about a Fine Gael poll carried out in Donegal South West. The blog post is here. The poll was originally made public in the Donegal Democrat newspaper, however, I cannot find a […]

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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 )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: