Irish Polling Report

A place to discuss Irish opinion polls

Well, that’s that argument sorted….?

with 10 comments

As I outlined here, there has been much debate as to the MRBI adjustments, and a good deal of bandwidth devoted to the effect of the new methodology. As I stated in the post linked, I’ve been of the opinion that the facts didn’t stack up to it making a significant difference, and it would appear that I was broadly correct, with the changes going in the opposite direction to that assumed.

When people were asked who they would vote for if there was a general election tomorrow, the figures for party support when the undecided voters are excluded, compared with the last Irish Times poll on June 11th last, were: Fianna Fáil, 24 per cent (up three points); Fine Gael, 24 per cent (down three points); Labour, 33 per cent (up four points); Sinn Féin, 8 per cent (down two points); Green Party, 2 per cent (down two points); and Independents/ Others, 9 per cent (no change).

I’ve just run this through the spreadsheet, and it produces the following seat totals;

LP 66
FG 45 (a good number of these the result of large LP surpluses)
FF 40
SF 7
GP 0

FG/FF on 85 seats between them … who will Shatter be cuddling on these figures….?

Compared to Lansdowne/MB that’s LP down 1, FG down 9, FF up 1, SF up 6, and OTH up 3, which would suggest that the SF vote in that poll was a blip (and the RedC similarly out in the opposite direction). FG are depending on LP transfers to come second on these figures, and so it would appear that their tactics this week have been less than successful. Certainly on this poll, it’s hard to see FG or FF come even close to LP on seats, and there’s no reason that Gilmore would choose FF over FG to be his junior partner. In fact, if this was reproduced in a GE, the only barrier to a LP/FG coalition would be the temptation Enda would have to do a ‘historic’ deal with FF, “burying civil war politics”, him taking Taoiseach and and new FF leader Brian Lenihen continuing in the role of Finance Minister (all in the national interest, of course).

In practise, he’d probably not even had this option, as a number of FG deputies would have been elected on LP surpluses (e.g. Brian Hayes), and might conceivably cross the floor rather than agree to that. So it’d be Tanaiste Kenny, or more likely the leadership would skip a generation. What price Leo the Prince?

It would be interesting though to hear Kenny asked if he’d serve under Gilmore if this was what the result was, or if he’d try to do a deal with FF… Funny old game, politics…..

The poll also shows a moderate recovery in FF’s fortunes, and while they’re not at a critical mass to take much advantage of this yet, another rise on top of this would steady their nerves. Indeed, another poll that showed them 1-2% ahead of FG might even tempt them to go to the people, as they’ve known for a while they couldn’t win the election, but if they run while Kenny is still leader, they could emerge as the official opposition, and ahead of FG. Silver linings in there, alright, and they know that Kenny won’t survive much more of this, and could soon be replaced.

For LP, it shows them on the brink of a very big breakthrough, but the suspicions linger that they’re not ready for it electorally. This is two polls in a week that show them getting more seats than the number of candidates they propose fielding. Even the 66 here excludes another 5 or so where they could pull it off with a better local strategy than I’ve assumed.

And who comes out of this the worst? Well, in my opinion, it’s not FG. It’s RedC. They are now consistently an outlyer against all the other polls (including those which have track records as least as good as them), and their defenders are running out of excuses.

Maybe they need a new leader.

Written by Dotski

September 29, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

10 Responses

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  1. Thanks for the analysis; been following your posts in for a while. The next election looks like being a lot of fun – though I still hope it’ll be closer to 2012…even more time for reality to deal with that stubborn 24% of FF hardcores.


    September 30, 2010 at 12:09 am

  2. Really good work on the polls! Fair dues.
    If things were’nt so crazy (what with you and I and all the rest of us buying banks, gazillions of appartments, and stuff) I’d be salivating at the thought of an election. I’ll be following…


    September 30, 2010 at 12:31 am

  3. Yes another good analysis.
    Any view on the equal distribution of the undecided voters by MRBI. Does it flatter FF?


    September 30, 2010 at 11:14 am

    • There’s arguments on both sides. In the past these were often anti-FF votes, hence the old adjustment that MRBI used. It’s been suggested that these are largely ex-FF now and so will disproportionately favour them.

      However, I’d have thought that many (including ex-FF) are already decidedly voting anti-FF, but not having done this before have yet to decide which flavour (hence the apparent volatility between LP and SF).

      On balance, as MRBI said before, you’d need a GE on these sort of figures before you could accurately predict how the DKs would fall, and so I think pro-rata is probably fair enough. but my gut tells me they may indeed go slightly less for FF.


      September 30, 2010 at 8:17 pm

  4. I have a question on a different aspect of the polling companies’ methodologies:

    Has anybody checked whether immigration might have a potential affect on the reliability any of the polls?

    As in: immigrants who are not Irish or UK citizens do not have a vote in Dáil elections. How many of those immigrants in a polster’s sample would distort the outcome, and how likely is that to occur?


    October 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    • I think this came up in 2009 somewhere on, where they can vote in LEs (and EEs if European) but not GEs.

      People taking the survey are asked a lot of personal information, including nationality, to ensure that they are a representative sample anyway, and also to skip questions not relevant to them (remember, only 10% of the survey is likely to be about politics, the rest will be market research for other companies) and the person asking the question is supposed to skip the questions that aren’t relevant.

      Normally that means skipping the questions which would include the “if there was a General Election tomorrow who would you vote for”, along with skipping the question about feminine hygiene products for male respondents.

      So yes they should be excluded routinely as part of their work, but that’s not to say that some wouldn’t still end up in the survey by mistake (I can’t imagine that Quantum, if they really exist, make such exclusions, for example….)

      Mind you, “should” and “are” are two different questions, maybe Irish Polling Report will send them an e-mail and see what they say….


      October 2, 2010 at 10:58 am

    • I’ve sent e-mails off to MRBI and Lansdowne asking. Red C don’t have an email address on their website(!) but a “callback” service, they do have the following on their site though which would indicate that they try to ascertain how likely someone is to vote (which should exclude ineligible people, if done properly)

      “RED C ask respondents to say how likely it is that they will go and vote in a new general election using a ten point scale where 10 means they would be absolutely certain to vote and 1 means they would be certain not to vote. “


      October 2, 2010 at 11:51 am

      • Lansdowne/Millward Browne have got back to me and confirmed that anyone not registered to vote in a GE (whether foreign or not) is excluded (see below), so that would mean they’ve got that covered.
        Hi there,

        We do not exclude foreign nationals per se in our opinion polls. Rather, we ask potential respondents if they are registered to vote in a General Election. Those who are not (be they Irish or non-Irish) are excluded from the opinion poll.

        Kind regards,

        Paul Moran
        Research Project Manager
        Millward Brown Lansdowne


        October 5, 2010 at 8:51 pm

  5. […] also stuff in there specifically on the relative merits of the polling companies, notably the RedC/ MRBI and Landsowne discrepancy, and somewhat odd aspects of Quantum Research’s […]

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