Irish Polling Report

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Archive for October 2010

Who fears to speak of ’92?

with 15 comments

As regulars will be aware, the constituency projections I posted here last week caused a somewhat hysterical reaction from some FG quarters, in particular from one Leinster House staffer whose diatribe included, inter alia, the particularly mad suggestion that LP would be hit by the “Bradley Effect”, whereby people don’t reveal they are voting against the black candidate!

Unfortunately I was away with the kids for the mid-term break in a house with no broadband and a painfully slow PC, and so I didn’t get to answer all the points made, but hopefully I’ll get the chance now.

Most of the rantings didn’t actually address the figures, maths or arguments, but claimed that even if LP are well up in the polls, this won’t/can’t translate on the day, that local factors (which are in fact, taken into account!) would uniformly count against a Labour Party unused to such dizzy heights, particularly the “rural” areas.

Well, I thought, this all seems very familiar. Very 1992. Then the LP were rising in the polls, but media commentators (and Fine Gael) said that they would be incapable of turning those polling figures into seats. Sure, they’d gain a seat here and there, it would be a good election for them, but they’d be doing very well to break 20, and high twenties was just delusional thinking.

Let’s have a look back and see what happened.

The three main polling companies at the time were MRBI/TNS who conducted surveys for the Irish Times, IMS/Millward Browne who gathered the figures for the Indo group, and Lansdowne who surveyed for the now defunct Irish Press group.

MRBI had a number of polls in the pre-Summer period, which showed LP varying between 9-11%, pretty much their rating in the previous election, and a September poll similarly showed them at 10%. However, it picked up the surge in support for LP over the course of the GE campaign (polling day was 25 November). A poll conducted over the period 9-11 November showed LP at 14%, and their last poll, conducted over the period 17-18 November showed LP at 19%. This is the best pre-election poll I could find for LP.

IMS/Millward Brown similarly showed LP at 8-11% in the April-July period, but in their poll conducted during the GE campaign in November, they detected a LP rise to 16%.

Lansdowne, who have since merged with Millward Brown, had two polls that I’ve been able to track down, one held in May/June where LP were at 9%, and the other held in November, which showed them risen to 15%.

So across all polling companies, there was remarkable unanimity regarding how LP were doing. 8-11% before the election, and rising to 15-19% during it, depending on the company you chose to believe.

Taking these figures, and using the same logic that Tommy O’Brien came out with in, LP should have been lucky to get about 13%. Local factors, local candidates, lack of LP organisation in places they couldn’t even field a candidate the last time out, the “Shy Tory Syndrome”, the “Bradley Effect” (in Clare at least!), and of course, the infamous “Tommy’s kitchen sink” syndrome would all have conspired uniquely against LP, and seen them fall short of the real polls.

History, however, records an altogether different outcome. LP got 19.5% of the vote on the day, winning 33 seats, and missing out on several others as a result of fielding too few candidates. Interestingly, IMS/MB took another poll for the Sunday Indo following the election, when the scale of the LP gains was evident, and they were at 26%, 9 points ahead of a demoralised FG.

Now, of course, no two elections are the same, and LP may well fall back from their current heights, particularly over the course of an election campaign, as has been confidently predicted by many since they hit 17% last year. But they may also continue to gain, and there are many similarities between ’92 and now. LP had a strong leader who was popular with the general public. FF were on the ropes, but were blessed to be facing a FG leader in John Bruton who was not setting the world alight, and who led a divided party. There was even talk of a LP Taoiseach, albeit of the rotating variety. However, the big difference was that there was no previous ’92 to look back at. Any suggestions that they could break the mould were dismissed as giddy talk, and the leaders debate was between FF and FG, with Spring out in the cold. We’ll never know what the outcome would have been had he been invited to that debate.

Despite this, and despite the more rural make up of Ireland then than now (which exercised Tommy to a considerable extent), LP not only did as well as the polls suggested, but did slightly better than even the best one for them. How come?

Well, there were probably a few reasons. One is that there was a momentum to LP, and the polls only picked it up as it was on its way. There was also a ‘critical mass’ effect, as people who never even considered voting LP before as they knew no-one else doing it, suddenly saw them as a party in their own right (curiously, Tommy thinks the bandwagon effect will supress the LP vote on the day, relative to the polls….) And most polls didn’t exclude Don’t Knows / Won’t Vote from party support, which means you could add 1-2% to the LP figures, making the average about 17% or so, about 2.5% short of their actual total.

But what was most interesting was that the biggest swings to LP were often in exactly the sorts of places that they would be expected to pick it up least, , and couldn’t have picked up the swing at all if you accept Tommy’s reasoning. Places like Clare, Cavan-Monaghan and Donegal NE, where LP usually couldn’t even field a candidate, were averaging nearly 10%, a slightly bigger swing than the national average and over half their national opinion polls rating. These were wastelands for the LP organisation at the time. In Clare, LP had run in the ’87 GE with Shannon Town Commissioner Tom O’Shaughnessy and received 1.27%, which saw them not even bothering in ’89. Mossy Bhamjee only agreed to put his name on the ballot paper to at least fly the flag, and was, it is said, quite shocked to hear that he had got elected (I wasn’t, by the way…). In Donegal NE, similarly LP came from a standing start, and with a candidate that was seen as an eccentric in LP circles. Sean Maloney was one of two brothers who ran a newsletter called “Labour Comment”, which was described by some as neither loony left, nor loony right, but just plain loony. Still, the man got 11.34% of the vote. In Cavan-Monaghan, a young woman called Ann Gallagher who had barely graduated from college and was practically unknown took LP from zero to 8.28%.

Remember, these are following polls showing LP on about 17%, and getting 19.5% on the day.

How did this happen? Surely, if there’s an ounce of sense in Tommy’s reasoning, they should have bombed, regardless of the polls. Well, for all the talk about “big vote getters” who would block LP’s progress, most of these are good at collecting a vote that is already there for their party. In the bigger parties, being high on the ballot paper can often be a factor (think of all the FF/FG politicians you know whose surname starts with the letters “A”, “B” or “C”), or having most of the Cumann run by “your people”. Sure, some candidates in all parties collect personal votes, but these are often overstated. The ’87 GE saw one such candidate that Tommy would be well aware of, Frankie McLoughlin, suffer a drop in the LP vote from 16% to 6% in terrible election for them, despite him being known as a prodigious constituency worker. If the tide is out, it’s out. What’s more, in the current circumstances, an anti-incumbency mood is about, to the benefit of newcomers.

But there’s other reasons that aren’t just picked up by most analysts. In places like Clare, the early polls would have been taken when there was no known LP candidate in their area. A potential LP voter being polled would have been more likely to tell a pollster they were voting LP if they were sure there was such a candidate. It’s human nature. Places like Dublin South West, they knew they were voting Mervyn Taylor, the Labour man, and would say so, but the same person in Donegal or Cavan, where they’re not even sure LP will be running a candidate – maybe they’d say LP, but maybe not. However, over the course the campaign, they see the name, they see their posters around the place, they get the flyer, and they know that it’s that Muslim Doctor, or that young woman (a solicitor, isn’t she?) or that guy with the funny look in his eyes. That makes it easier to declare, and that factor means that the swing does as well in such places as others.

But it wasn’t just there. Another FG poster, HBAP, argued that LP would fall short in Dublin as a result of lousy vote management, stopping them pulling in second seats. Now this will happen in some places (indeed, I’ve predicted it would). However, in his own constituency (Dublin SW), LP took 2 seats in ’92, despite a little known running mate for Taylor (the recently elected Cllr Eamonn Walsh), a very poor split in the vote (2/1), and a popular DL candidate in Pat Rabbite who was well placed to take advantage of slippage. Similarly, LP went from zero to two seats in Dublin North East, despite a poor split in the vote (the little known Tommy Broughan getting barely a quarter of the LP vote) and Pat McCartan being incumbent. The odds on two LP seats there tumbled during the campaign, but you could still get 8-1 against on the eve of polling.

Now, of course, there will be some local variations. But these will be variations from the norm, and that norm is what the spreadsheet it calculating. And, interestingly, recent constituency polls commissioned by FF and FG in Cork NW and Cork SC have shown results very close to those projected by the spreadsheet in the poll of polls calculations (and ahead of RedC).

FG know all this, and an unnamed FG source confirmed to the Sunday Business Post a few weeks back that on current polling, LP could take more seats than FG .

The signals of Labour’s sustained support have been there for months in newspaper polls, on the doorsteps and in private polling carried out by the parties. ‘‘If we come back with the same percentage of the vote we will lose five to seven seats,” predicted one Fine Gael source.

If we are in the region of 27 to 28 per cent in a general election we’ll be in loss-making territory.

As it is Fine Gael and Labour will be struggling to get their candidates over the line in some areas, but Labour will benefit from transfers from Sinn Fein, the Greens and the independent vote,” he said.

Whereas Fine Gael used to be the party with the greatest seat bounce at elections, next time around it will be Labour, the source predicted.

If Fine Gael dips below 30 per cent, existing seats will be lost. ‘

There is an unwillingness to believe it, but at times the numbers can be an exact science,” a Fine Gael source said.”

It is the awareness of this that led to the botched coup attempt by Bruton. But they are aware that the worst thing that could happen for them would be for this to be understood by a broader audience. In every election, there is a presidential style component to the campaign, and LP inevitably lose some votes to the larger parties as a result. An election where the choice for Taoiseach is seen as between Cowen and Kenny is perfect for FG, but where it’s evident that Cowen has no chance, and the choice is actually between Kenny and Gilmore, the reverse is likely. Some FG voters who prefer Gilmore (and polling suggests that they are numerous) would switch to LP, and some FF voters (and SF etc) would switch to LP to stop Kenny being elected. The wails of “But it was our turn!” would be heard from miles around…..

Polls have apparently shown that there is a large segment of the vote yet to finally make up their mind, particularly LP (40%) and FG (35%) showing a significant section of their support still up for grabs, but this is all parties, with 33% of voters in that category. But the last RedC poll was described in the SBP as showing very high levels of second preferences for LP. This was interesting for me, as in my simulations I assume no enormous change in their second preference support. If this is the case, LP’s seats to FPVs ratio could actually improve.

So what do I actually think will happen? Truthfully, I’m not sure. LP could of course fall from such a high vote, but they could also rise following the Budget. FF may also recover, but if they do, it’ll most likely be on the basis of making “tough decisions”, and it’s hard to see that impacting FG less than LP. The polls over the course of the campaign though will tell the story. All my projections are based on the current polls, they’re not (as I repeatedly say) a portal into the future.

But we are, as they say, where we are.

Written by Dotski

October 31, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

RedC Analysis Oct 2010

with 23 comments

Apologies for the delay in getting a more detailed analysis of Sunday’s RedC up, it’s been a busy few days for me personally.

The spreadsheet has adjustments to cope with (a) McGuiness portraying himself as an outsider, and (b) a low proportion of the Spring Tide occurring here in ’92. The double effect minimises the LP gain here to just over 20%, with FF relatively strong on 28%, FG 36%, GP 7.6% and SF 5.8%.

While a LP2 candidate is in the running if they split their vote well and get decent transfers from GP and SF, putting LP2 ahead of FG3, I suspect they’d not manage all this on these figures, and there’ll be enough GP transfers and leakage from LP/SF to ensure FF2 stays ahead of FG3.

It would be very close, however, and certainly no risk to LP1 in a 2-candidate strategy – an even split of 10% each would have them both ahead of 13-14% worth of GP/SF votes, and a lop-sided split (unlikely if a candidate from each county) would see them about 13/7 (again with that many GP/SF around). Given they poll better with other companies, and are still safe with this one, it would appear that 2 candidates would be the right choice. Similarly, while FG would be a good bit short for a 3rd seat, their second is safe no matter what they do, so they may as well go for it.


Very tight, I have LP just shading a seat here, but could as easily go to the Indo. Figures come out as 19% FF, 36% FG, 8% LP, 3% GP, 24.6% SF and 9% Oths. When I run the simulation, LP’s (Cavan-based) probable candidate Des Cullen is just ahead of the leading (Monaghan-based) Indo Paudge Connolly, and just behind SF2, who will be Cavan based. I have him staying ahead of Connolly, and getting enough transfers from him and GP to sidle ahead of SF2, and largely be elected on those Cavan-based SF transfers, after they are used to push O’Caolain over the line.

It is however the tightest gain for LP in the country, and if rumours I’m starting to hear about a 2 candidate strategy are accurate, they can kiss this one goodbye, on these figures certainly. FF on these figures would be very disappointed, having got 2/4 plus the CC here last time, with Brendan Smyth most likely their sole TD. FG will be hoping that, if they can split their vote very evenly between 3 candidates, and get good transfers from SF and the Connolly, all 3 can stay ahead of LP, but their difficulty is that they have one outgoing TD, and the other 2 candidates are likely to be significantly down the field, particularly if LP poll well in Cavan and SF do as well as projected in Monaghan. 1/2/1/1 it how I’d call it, but SF2 and IND both are very much in the running for that seat I’ve given to LP.

A good bet for an all-nighter.

A bit like the previous constituency, there is a final seat that no-one really deserves on these figures, but it has to go to someone. FF vote down to 25%(1), FG just under 42% (2) account for 3 obvious seats, but then it’s between FG3, LP on 9% and Oths (14%) for the final seat, with SF and GP both offering 5% each in transfers to act as kingmakers. While it’s anyone’s guess really, I have it going to former Ind TD James Breen, assuming that he runs.

Cork East
Slightly less complicated this, with FF on 18%, FG 32%, LP 38%, SF on 7.4% and GP on 2.3%. FF lose a seat to LP (probably the younger Mulvihill), with FG well short for that second seat they’ve had their eye on. Only possible surprise would be if SF field GAA legend Donal Og Cusack, who I’m informed is quite popular in these parts, which would be most likely to see the gain made by them instead of LP.

Cork NC
The spreadsheet is predicting a collapse in the FF vote here to 8% – needless to say, that’d be them losing representation here, with Kelleher a high profile casualty. This should bother them, as they’ll be looking to come out of this election with enough good performers to be an effective opposition, and he’d be a loss to them in that respect. Noel O’Flynn, on the other hand……

FG at 32.7% and LP at 29.2% both look to me to have balanced enough tickets to take 2 seats each, although SF at 10% and SP’s Mick Barry at around 7% are likely to challenge. Either could pull it off if they poll a few percent better and/or either FG or LP fail to split their vote well.

Cork NW
Here, the Gilmore Gale may fall short, if RedC are to believed. The spreadsheet suggests that while FF will fall to 32% and 1 seat, FG at 45% will take a second seat, in the face of a challenge from LP at 17%. This is a constituency where LP will be hoping that MRBI & Lansdowne are closer to the truth, or that local factors will assist. A local poll conducted on behalf of FF does however hold out hope for them.

Cork SC
Regular readers will be aware of the FG poll suggesting 2 LP seats here, and this is supported by this projection, which shows them obtaining pretty much the same result (27.5%) largely at the expense of FF (16%). FG are comfortable to take 2 seats at 37%, and GP (7.5%) and SF (7%) do slightly better than the FG poll, but all within the margin of error, so it would appear it was an accurate enough poll. On these figures, the last seat is won by Paula Desmond for LP.

Cork SW
Here, FF drop to 23%, and so hold one seat, along with FG (39.7%), and LP (23.9%), a net gain of 1 by LP from FG, who are losing PJ Sheehan to a driving related retirement…. The other transfers a-going are SF (6.5%) and GP (5.9%), making it unlikely that FG2 will be able to stem the Gilmore Gale here.

Donegal NE
Massive drop in the FF vote here to 29% leaving them with 1 seat where previously they held 3 (albeit on the defection of IFF’s Neal Blaney). FG seat is won with 27% of the FPV, and the last seat is SF’s on these figures, with McLoughlin on 19.7% staying ahead of LP’s Harte (13.2%). LP may take, ummmm, heart, though in that they are close enough in RedC, and ahead of SF in Lansdowne (and closer in MRBI). It could of course be thrown open if McDaid runs as an Indo, in which case all bets would be off.

Donegal SW
Similar to NE, with FF (29%), FG (26%) and SF (25.8%) taking the 3 seats, with 15% for McBrearty. This of course is a projection of the national swing in RedC, and McBrearty will 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 get the 3rd seat in current circumstances. McBrearty is likely to have a better chance n the bye-election, and so his best hope may be for this to happen first.

Dublin C
Only 1 of the 4 seats here appears certain, in the shape of Joe Costello, and the destination of at least one other will be dependant on whether or not he accepts this as being the case, and splits his vote. LP come out at 36.4%, with FG fairly well placed at 14.6% to take a seat also (if somewhat lacking in obvious transfers). FF (10.8%) would not appear to have a realistic chance, and while SF may have better prospects at 10.3%, I can see both of them fall short of INDs (23.7%), probably O’Sullivan, although I’d not rule out Perry, and LP2 (probably Clancy). All very close, mind, with at least 6 realistic contenders. If I was offered good odds on Perry, I might fancy a flutter…..

Dublin MW
FG have been convincing themselves that they are in line to go from zero seats to two here, despite Fitzgerald and Keating having less than one quota between them last time, and Keating managing his share with the help of genuine Indo voters who will now be looking for another home. Much of this optimism is based upon the (probable) departure of Mary Harney, the presumption that her vote will all go to them, and of course the general swing to FG being picked up in most polls. However, this ignores the facts that (a) the national swing to FG includes ex-PD voters, and so they are counting that parcel of votes twice, (b) Harney’s vote was very personal, and having lost her, it’ll be dispersed rather less uniformly than that, and (c) in the last locals, despite the other parties not being able to field their vote-getting TDs (a disadvantage that didn’t arise for FG) they couldn’t break the 30% barrier, and they are unlikely to get transfers from the likes of SF and PBP, nor FF who will make up most of the transfers going.

The spreadsheet based on RedC suggests that LP on 38% are well placed to take 2 seats, and FG are safe for 1 on 23%, even assuming they split the vote very evenly. However, that’s where it all gets a bit hairy. FF bomb here (that’s even assuming they start with a chunk of Harney’s vote) at 8.8% and on these figures Curran will be transfer fodder.

So who will his vote transfer to? While Fitzgerald (who I’m calling as the likely FG2) will be hopeful at about 10%, SF on 10.9% and Gogarty on 9.3% would be similarly so, and in my view with more reason. Personally, I think the biggest chunk will stay in the Govt pile, to the benefit of the GP man, putting him ahead of SF and FG2. Transfers from OTH will be largely left-ish, and may favour SF, GP and FG in that order, but not by enough to make a significant difference, leaving Fitzgerald’s transfers to (a) elect Keating, and then (b) push either Gogarty or O’Broin ahead of the other (who I have pretty neck and neck at this stage). I suspect that, when push comes to shove, those who express a preference will go for Gogarty in greater numbers than SF. But it’ll be close.

Dublin North

Close one, and possibly closer than a uniform swing would suggest. On these figures, FF would lose both seats to LP, falling to 13.6%, LP getting 29.6%, FG would increase to just over a quota, Sargant would hold on at 13.8% (being ahead of FF and picking up some of their transfers) but Clare Daly at 11.3% would fall short. FF will of course be hoping that Gilmore’s talk of pushing back Metro North will lose him votes in Swords (it’s unlikely to make much difference along the East of the constituency where the Arrow line serves commuters very well), but if it does, one suspects that Sargant, rather than Kennedy is likely to be the beneficiary. Even if it helps Kennedy, it may result in the FF vote splitting more evenly, as Kennedy is still likely to fall behind O’Brien, but the latter being based in Malahide is unlikely to get much of a boost from this.

Needless to say, having an evenly split vote is not good when you’re chasing one seat with less than a quota. Given O’Brien is still likely to be ahead (due to the split in Swords), and Kennedy would be eliminated, the extra votes he may get out of the Metro North issue are likely to transfer to Sargant, and perhaps Daly, making the main effect a closer fight over the last seat between LP2 and SP.

For LP the vital issue is to split the vote well. Senator Brendan Ryan is the front runner, and given this imperative it’s possibly no bad thing that he’s not the most dynamic of candidates, but they still need to select another candidate soon if LP2 is not to become an also-ran. Kelleher has been mentioned, but given his Swords base he’ll need to run as a “Metro-rebel” if he’s to take any advantage of that. The alternative is a female parachute with links to Swords or Balbriggan.

I’d still just about call it 2 LP, 1 GP, 1 FG on these figures, and given this is RedC, that’s probably where it’s going.

Dub NC
FF collapse to 11%, FG get 31%, LP 27%, and OTHs 17%. That’s Bruton, O’Riordan and McGrath in my book (unless the Indo vote is mopped up by Callelly!) ;). FG and LP are both comfortable enough to enjoy the luxury of running mates, if they so wish. It would appear that nothing can save Haughey at this stage, and he may start looking ahead to the Seanad campaign.

Dub NE
FF slump to 10.7%, with no chance of a seat. FG come out comfortable enough with 26.5%, and LP on 41.3% appear to be a good bet to take 2 seats, nudging out SF who at 14.4% would be their main opposition.

Dub NW
Labour should expect to do very well here. Even in RedC, which is their poorest company, they are certain of 2 seats with 47%, and would even be in the hunt for 3 if they ran a reasonably balanced ticket (but they won’t, so they don’t). The real issue is therefore where the final seat would fall. FF will be disappointed to be starting at 16% between 2 outgoing TD, but this is consistent with the swing against them being recorded in the capital. It would keep them ahead of FG, however, who even up to 13% can’t see this as a great prospect for them. If LP had a 3 candidate strategy splitting 19/14/14 “Mad Bill” Tormey could even fall behind LP3 (and on MRBI and Lansodwne figures he would), but the reality is that there’ll be just 2 candidates, and he’ll most likely help Dessie Ellis of SF stay ahead of Pat Carey for the last seat.

The Metro North issue again could see FF perform better at LP’s expense, however LP would still appear safe for the second seat even if they lost 10%, thanks to FG transfers, and the effect would more likely see Carey pull ahead of Ellis (through no fault of SF). But on these figures I’d call it 2LP, 1SF.

Dublin S
FF 14%, FG 35%, LP 35%, GP 9%, SF 4%. Fairly straightforward 1/2/2, although if Ryan takes votes from FF as the leading Govt candidate here, it’s likely to see him take the seat off them. FG and LP would both be safe running 3rd candidates, and the latter doing so could seal Ryan’s fate, as LP3 could conceivably poll ahead of him. FG’s hopes of a 3rd seat here appear doomed, but no doubt they’ll give it a lash anyway, in memory of GLee…..

Dub SC
FF collapse here to 6.7% – even with one candidate that’s toast, with both TDs losing out. I’d expect one of them to retire, leaving the other to try to pull it off. FG on 18% would see Byrne safe enough with a nice little surplus, but at 45%, LP appear likely to go from barely missing the 2nd seat (when at 10% nationally in ’07) to taking a 3rd seat comfortably.

The last seat is very hard to call but also seems certain to go left, despite the 3 LP TDs. I ran this twice (for the fun of it), once with 3 LP candidates and once with 4 (HUpton, Byrne, Moynihan & Conaghan), and the latter saw them about 4% short of pulling off the 4th seat (a split of 15/13/11/10 would have been required, which is possible with MRBI/Lansdowne figures, but not RedC). However, on these figures, PBP’s Joan Collins (no, not that one) pips SF’s O’Snodaigh for the last seat.

Dublin SE.
LP get 2 seats from 38.5%, FG hold one on 23.5%, and GP (11.5%) and FF (13.6%) fight it out for the last seat. While one can see the rationale behind Andrews Twittered overtures to FG voters, I’d just about call this one for Gormley, who may do better on OTH transfers. he is vulnerable though – ultimately his fate will depend on him arguing that yes, he signed the order for the incinerator, but that he then stymied it so that it wouldn’t get in.

Dublin SW
Two seats for LP on 39.1%, and one each for FG (24.1%) and SF (15.6%). Tallaman and the lesser-Lenihen end up with 10.4% between them on these figures, making another 2-seat drop likely.

Dublin W
For reasons you’ll all understand, I’ve given FF’s Brian Lenihen a bonus, based on what I suspect will be significant sympathy for the man, and how he is dealing with his illness. However, on these figures, it would appear that he’d still need FF to be higher than 18% nationally if he’s to hold his seat. These figures still have LP taking 2 seats (with 43% of the vote), Leo V at 17.9% looks safe enough, and Higgins also at 17.9% is likely to stay ahead of FF’s 14.6% when 5.5% of SF transfers (and 3% LP surplus) are distributed. Again, as in NW, if FF took votes from LP over the Metro North issue (while most of this constituency is closer to rail lines, a good chunk of Swords is now here), LP should still be quite safe, but in this case FF could hold off Higgins, who will need transfers to return to the next Dail, even with the extra seat.

One to watch, I think.

Dun Laoghaire
A drop of a seat here, and 3 Ministers (2 at cabinet), a colourful Indo, and the man they’ll all be talking about, this will get some coverage during the campaign. LP would on these figures be looking at 37.8%, and with GP at 5.7%, SF 2.8% and OTH (mainly PBP) coming out at 10.9%, LP2 (whoever that is) would appear pretty safe. FG’s hopes of pulling 2 seats looks unlikely at 26.9%, and FF look good for a seat, with 15.9%. Even here though it’s not certain, as they may have it split quite evenly, which would maximise leakage, however, there would not appear to be anyone close enough to take it from them, unless PBP perform better than expected.

Galway E
FF collapse here, with fewer PD votes going their way due to Cannon going FG. I have them at 12.4%, which makes them unlikely to take any seat, which would be a disaster for them. No doubt they’ll be hoping to buck the trend here, but on these figures they’ll be up against it. FG are set to poll very well here (51.9%), and Cannon being on the ticket should see them take 3 seats. Possibly more remarkable is the projection that LP would be on 18.3%, and favourites to take the seat, with either Keaveny, or, if the rumours are to believed, a former independent running mate. OTHs show up at 11.3%, and if LP don’t poll as well as projected, they may face a challenge from former IFF TD McHugh, who would be expected to do well on FF transfers if he runs.

Galway W
OK – this one has a major caveat, as the spreadsheet currently contains no adjustment for Michael D being off the LP ticket, which was confirmed last week. I would stress though that when I reduce the figure for LP here, it’ll ripple back a small increase across the rest of the country as the total LP vote nationally will stay the same, and so any changes are likely to cancel out at the national level. Currently it shows a collapse in the FF vote to 10%, FG up to 26% and taking a second seat, LP similarly taking two on 27.5%, and OTHs yielding former PD Noel Grealish. When I re-cast the spreadsheet, I suspect that we’ll see FF gain one from LP here, although as I say LP likely to gain another elsewhere as a result of the redistribution of the same national total. For the purposes of the national total, therefore, this is 0/2/2/1.

Kerry N
Safe seat here for FG’s Jimmy Mujaha-Deenihen on 36.1%, I can see them considering a running mate with those sort of figures. There’s also a collapse in the FF vote to 14.3%. SF look well placed to take the second seat, with their projection at 24.6%, with Arthur Spring favourite to take the last seat, polling 18.6%, with only a resurgence in FF (or a strong running mate for FG) putting him in danger. Or perhaps him opening his mouth again.

Kerry S
FG appear safe at 28.5%, and LP would be expected to take a seat here with 23.5% (if they can find a decent candidate). The Bull O’Donoghue would appear slight favourite to hold on here, getting just over 21% falling into the FF column, compared to 20% for Oths (mainly, one presumes Healy-Rae, the Next Generation). It would be very close though, and it’s largely O’Donoghue’s tenacity that makes me see him holding on here. I also think that the ‘local man done wrong’ card will see him do better on transfers than you’d think…..

Kildare N
LP on 38.4% here, should take 2 seats, even with a poor split, with Catherine Murphy with 13.8% to take a seat on GP/SF/oth transfers (polling 3.7 , 3.5% and 3% respectively). FG’s stated hopes of 2 seats here appear on the hopeful side, with them showing 26% in RedC, their best company. FF bombing here at 11%.

Kildare S
A different picture, with FF holding on to 30.3% and one of their two seats. FG take the other from them with 22.8%, and LP are romping home with 36.2%, most likely Wall in the mid 20s and a running mate in the low teens.

This one depends on whether LP can get their act together. FF on 40% are only sure of 2 seats (and that’s including the addition of a leaders bonus and some PD votes), and FG on 35% similarly. The spreadsheet projects LP getting 11.4% here, with some transfers likely from SF (7.9%) and OTHs (4.2%), which I see as the final seat.

Enright off the ticket makes FG harder to call, and this may inform LP’s choice of candidate. However, perhaps of more importance is making sure they are in a position to maximise their benefit from SF transfers. While they don’t appear to have a candidate of the calibre of Pat Gallagher, who memorably took a seat here when LP were far lower in the polls, it appears that a solid enough county councillor (or an articulate younger woman candidate to appeal to former Enright voters) running on the LP ticket should be able to take this seat as part of a Gilmore Gale.

Limerick City
The loss of a seat makes this a 4-seater, and the area leaving the city is apparently good FG country. The projections are that FF would be 18%, FG 32% and LP 37%, with 6% SF. On these figures, 2 LP would be safe enough, leaving both FF and FG with a dilemma. FF would have to decide if O’Dea really needs to run, as if FF are to come back in 2015/6, it’ll be Power that’ll be their future. Their fear of course may be that without O’Dea’s personal vote, they may not even pull in the single seat. For FG, it would appear that they’ll lose either Noonan or O’Donnell to the constituency review (and Gilmore gale). It’s hard to see SF make up the sort of ground they need to take this seat, regardless of Quinlivan’s high profile.

Limerick County
FF safe enough with 26.2%, FG very competitive with 46.5%, and LP coming in at 22.7%. I have LP shading it on Green transfers (they are 2.3% short on FPVs, whereas FG need 3.5% and have the risk of leakage). But very close.

For some reason, the projections from here send FG apoplectic every time…..
LP aren’t trebling their vote here like they are nationally, despite a Longford candidate this time, despite a gender balanced ticket this time, and despite her being a former TD. They are however doubling their vote to 37.2%, and with a fair share of SF (4.7%) and GP/Oth transfers are safe enough for that second seat. FF will be well down at 21.4%, but safe enough for one seat, and FG will make do with seat from 33.1%. Although this time they may be spared the embarrassment of that sole rep being James Bannon…..

Big news here if this poll is accurate. FF at 18% nationally is coming out as them at 13.6% here. Making Seamus Kirk Ceann Comhairle moves this from being a safe-ish seat for them to no chance, thereby ending Dermot Ahern’s stint in the Dail. On these figures, FG with 37.6% would take a second seat, LP on 19.4% would take one (probably Nash in Drogheda, although there’s talk they’ll run a Dundalk sweeper) and SF would hold a seat at 18.9%. Ahern’s best hope would be that rumours of Morgan’s retirement are accurate, and that a rooky SF candidate would slip just enough votes to Ahern for him to hang on.

Or the Empire of Inda. Here, they look set to get 56%, which is 3 safe seats and a shot at a fourth. FF at 21.2% are safe for one, which means Dara Calleary and the “Class Act” BCF fighting it out. And who is FG fighting it out with? Former Indo Jerry Cowley looks set to get about 10.7%, SF are 7%, and Indos (probably mainly former LP member Kilcoyle) at 5.2%, and for me that’s Cowley. 1/3/1.

Meath E
I’m hearing conflicting rumours as to whether Lp’s Hannigan will have a running mate, but the more reliable ones suggest that he’ll be flying solo. If that’s the case, he’s safe as houses with LP likely to get 32.1% and one seat, with a very large surplus to spare. The likely beneficiary would be FG who, as it happens are also on 32.1%, but will be running 2 candidates. FF are at 14.3%, and SF (5.3%), GP (2.4%) and OTH (13.9%) seem unlikely to help them catch FG2. LP2 or Brian Fitzgerald appear the only danger to the FG2 seat here, but neither are likely to run from what I’ve picked up, so I’ve called it 0/2/1.

Meath W
FF hold on here (presumably Dempsey, although one can never tell) with 21.1%, as do FG rather more comfortably with 38.1%. LP are in line to take a seat, with 19.2%, ahead of SF on 14.9%. LP are still to select their candidate, with 3 going forward shortly to convention, so I hear….

Roscommon-S Leitrim
FF hold on with 20.1%, and FG hold both seats with 44.6%. LP’s Kelly too far behind (on this poll) with 14.5%, ahead of SF on 11.5% and OTHs on 7.6% (including Ming the Mayor)

Sligo-N Leitrim
As above, FF hold on with 22% (although which of the prodigal sons would be hard to call), and FG take a 2nd seat with 45.1%. Here this poll suggests LP’s O’Keefe behind SF on FPVs (13.3% vs 14.7%) and whichever is ahead after lower candidates are eliminated is too far behind FG2 to catch him.

Tipp Nth
Indos 38.3% hold 1 seat (thereby sticking one to the urban elites in their ivory towers, no doubt…). Expect the surplus to go everywhere, but FG (20.8%) and LP (18.6%) are likeliest to be pushed over the line, compared to FF on 16.5%, particularly when SF transfers of 5% are divvied out.

Tipp S
Gilmore Gale misses out here on these figures, with Prendergast mustering 18%, compared to FF (26.3%), FG (25.3%) and Healy 19%, Healy getting it on SF transfers.

Very hard one to call, and preparations for the bye-election would add to that. LP, at 29.4%, when another 19% of the vote is left-leaning and divided, should be well placed to take 2 seats, but there’s no sign of them even selecting a bye-election candidate. This means I see them with O’Shea topping the poll with about 22% or so, but a very weak running mate on 7% falling behind both SF and Gilligan, who would be around 9% each. Whoever emerged from this group would be fighting it out with FG2 (presumably Coffey) for the last two seats as they are on 34.2%, and FF who would be on 16.3%. The FF seat I think would be quite likely, leaving the last seat between Gilligan and Coffey, and my projections show the former taking it by a very small margin. If SF had got ahead of Halligan, I’d tip FG to stay ahead of them, but as an Independent I’d see Halligan as transfer friendly for LP and SF voters.

Rumours abound that he’ll run for LP, but if they’re true it’s all taking a very long time, so I’m dubious. If he did, the 2nd LP seat would be almost certain. As it is, I’m going 1/1/1/1

FF are on course to lose a seat to LP here, dropping to 23.3% while Howlin and his running mate (tipped to be Pat Cody) would have 25.6% between them, and FG looking at 37.2% and holding 2 seats. While FG will no doubt try to split their vote three ways to catch LP2, it’s likely that a geographically balanced LP ticket will do well on SF transfers (9.7%) making it implausible for FG3 to sneak in, and indeed SF would appear to be the biggest threat to LP2.

Liz McManus has gone, but LP still look like making a net gain here. While they are barely above their national vote at 28%, that’s them well placed in a 5-seater, particularly where neither candidate is an outgoing TD who’ll get the lion’s share of the vote. It’s still not clear if her son will be on the ticket, but it’s pretty certain there’ll be a candidate from the Bray end of the County. After that, it’s not clear, as Kelly, Kavanagh and a former Indo in the West of the County have all been mooted, as has a three-candidate strategy. On these figures, they may well be best concentrating on two candidates.

FG would also be looking at 2 seats, with 32.1%, leaving the last seat between FF (on 12.3%) and Behan, one of about 14% I see going to OTH. I’d call it Behan, who will do better on SF (7.1%) and GP (6.4%) transfers. If he doesn’t run, that seat would stay with FF. So expect Dick Roche to start love bombing Joe pretty soon….

The state of the parties after that is

FG 61
LP 57
FF 27
SF 7
GP 3
OTH 11

Written by Dotski

October 26, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

RedC move back in line

with 7 comments

It’s been reported in that the latest RedC poll has hit the streets, about 3 hours + ahead of the embargo. The figures are good for LP, OK for FG and GP, and make bleak reading for FF.

Figures reported by two posters are; FF 18 -6, FG 32 +1, Labour 27 +4, SF 9 -1, Green 4 +1, Ind 10 +1.

These figures would be an absolute disaster for FF, who have done better in RedC than the other companies. Similarly, for LP this would be their joint highest ever rating with RedC.

When I run it through the spreadsheet I get the following figures;

FG 61
LP 57
FF 27
SF 7
GP 3
OTH 11

Obviously this would be a significant improvement for LP on the previous RedC poll and shows RedC moving a bit closer to the MRBI/Lansdowne consensus that LP are above 30%. it would also suggest, given this is still the worst polling figure for LP, that the race for top party is definitely between them and FG. The trend in all the polling companies is in LP’s favour, although that could of course change. Although, at this stage, one has to wonder, when?

Interestingly, a FG/FF coalition would have a working majority, with 88 TDs, without being massive.

FG of course will be aware of this, and I’d expect them to start trying to knock LP, but they’ll have to be subtle – if they do it cack-handed, they’ll be suggesting that they want to enter coalition with a party that shouldn’t be trusted. Given Alan Shatter’s clumsiness in his attempts to put some distance between them, and the public reaction, that could be dangerous.

Have to run, but will put together a breakdown in the next day or so on where these gains appear to be falling.

Written by Dotski

October 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Ah, now they’re just taking the p….

with 2 comments

Another joke poll out from Quantum Research today.

Readers will be well aware of Quantum’s record from

this, this, and this.

This one builds on the Sindo’s campaign for a national govt, claiming about 80% in favour of a ‘consensus’ on the 4-year plan.

34% is the figure they propose are calling for an election before the budget, 31% immediately afterwards (how that would work, given it takes 3 months to pass the Finance Act that gives it legislative effect isn’t explained…) and the other 35% are happy to see it run it’s full term.

Curiously, it appears that 0% are unsure…… Very decisive bunch being polled this month ….

There’s also a lot of quite amusingly made up right-wing figures of what “the people” want in the budget – welfare cuts, more tax for lower paid, and PS cuts. The latter is amusingly messed up, as they claim that 73% favour compulsory redundancies in the PS, but barely half (54%) support the less radical solution of a 3rd round of paycuts.

Maybe the memo wasn’t very clearly worded ….

Also a load of made up quotes which are a poorly disguised attempt to lend support to the views of their paymasters.

As I said on, I’d love to watch a Primetime investigation into Quantum.

Anyways, roll on the next (real) poll – as noted in the linked posts above, these tend to yield very different figures.

Written by Dotski

October 17, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

I meant to say, “Southern Comfort with Red”, please…

with 11 comments

Another Cork internal poll (this time from FF) indicating local movement similar to that predicted in this parish.

The Sindo, in addition to reporting the FG Cork SC poll reported in yesterday’s Indo (and also in Friday’s Evening Echo) are reporting on a FF poll from Cork NW

While the extrapolation of the ‘journalist’ in question is a nonsense (he sees FF vulnerable to losing their seat, despite being above a quota), it is interesting in showing FG “less than 50%” and LP over 20%, which would indicate the last seat being between FG2 and LP (as I’ve been projecting from most of the non-RedC polls). This is particularly interesting in the context of the FG Cork SC and Donegal polls – all the constituency polls are showing figures that make RedC – an outlier nationally – an outlier for constituency results also.

I would expect a few more of these in the coming weeks and months ….

Written by Dotski

October 10, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Poll of Polls

with 14 comments

I’ve done a poll of polls analysis of RedC, MRBI and Lansdowne/Millward Browne’s latest offerings and ran it though the spreadsheet. All three were taken in a reasonably short period of time (although RedC missed the FG pairings debacle) and all 3 companies have a similarly excellent record in GEs, so it’s the best such sample we’re likely to get this side of the election being called. I’ve excluded Quantum Research on the grounds that they are, to put it kindly, dodgy.

The results come out as

FF 23.3% – 41 seats
FG 28.2% – 50 seats
LP 30.2% – 62 seats
SF 7.3% – 5 seats
GP 2.3% – 0 seats
OTH 8.6% – 8 seats

LP have a similar vote-to-seats ratio as the last 2 GEs. 25-28% seems to be a vote where they pass a threshold (depending on the movements of other parties). SF on another 1-2% take a good few of these LP gains (and some FF seats), and even at this level could, depending on luckier transfers, win additional seats in 3-4 more constituencies, so a very small swing to 8% could see them nearly double their representation from this. Given the volatility in their poll rating, it would appear that getting the next GE strategy right will be of historic importance to them, they could still finish between 4 and 10 seats, which is a massive difference for a relatively small difference in FPVs.

FG by contrast appear to need to get over 30% (and/or be ahead of LP) to get into proper seat-bonus territory. FF are holding on at 23% on about 40+ seats, and it would appear that they need a decent increase in this level of support to even be in second when it comes to seats, given a high likely anti-FF transfer pattern between opposition parties. The Greens are looking even more precarious – on these figures they don’t even come close to winning a seat – their highest vote would be Trevor Sargant, with less than half a quota on 9.1%.

I’m not going to do a marathon 4-part post giving each constituency so soon after the last one, but if you’d like to know individual constituencies, let me know and I’ll oblige.

Written by Dotski

October 9, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Southern Comfort

with 11 comments

An internal FG poll (where are these all coming from?) in the Indo today

suggests the following figures in Cork SC;

FF 22%
FG 40%
LP 26%
GP 5%
SF 5%
OTH 2%

No mention of the polling company (it says “conducted by FG” but I think we can assume that FG haven’t suddenly become professional pollsters!). If you follow the link it shows Coveney topping the poll, Clune safe and Buttimer well down on 8%, so it was probably leaked by someone close to the latter, particularly as FG’s (very faint) hopes would depend on a significant amount of Coveney’s vote moving to him.

That would be reasonably close to uniform swing, with FG somewhat over-performing by 4-6% (just about at the limit of the moe). But I suppose it is their poll! 😉 5% though is probably moe though so nothing dodgy here I’d say, this is the sort of area they could expect a swing slightly above the national average, so looks OK to me.

FF at 22% is in the 20-23% range of the Lansdowne/RedC polls in the spreadsheet, and so no surprise in this, but Martin being comfortable is interesting, as there’s been a lot of whispering that he might not get the seat. This suggests that there’ll be no great surprise here.

LP at 26% are above RedC and below Lansdowne (within the moe of the average), but hot favourites to get the second seat. More interesting (to me) is that the split reported between Lynch and Desmond is very(very) good. I was suggesting on that as a woman cllr candidate from a different part of the constituency she should get at least a third of the LP vote (that’s the assumption my spreadsheet makes) but was told by another poster (locke) from there that it’d be 4:1. However, in this poll it’s even better at 14.5 / 11.5. Given 5% each for GP and SF, that’d probably be Desmond in without needing significant FF transfers or FG leakages. Interesting, as this is one of those constituencies that FG are adamant that the LP target seat is unattainable, but one of their polls makes Desmond favourite to take the seat.

GP and SF as I say are at the moe, so you can’t really learn much from that, although interestingly, both are at exactly average the uniform swing in the RedC and Lansdowne polls.

All in all, it looks genuine enough given the moe, and if true pretty much confirms that the national picture is translating more or less locally.

Written by Dotski

October 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Quantum Corrections….

with 3 comments

As I noted here Quantum ‘Research’ polls have more than an air of something made up in the office, somewhat like football transfer gossip, and when their last poll suggested support for an alternative FF leader ran at 70% Lenihen and 30% Martin (and apparently nothing for Hanafin, Ahern, Coughlan etc or DKs) I expressed subtle reservations. The Indo have, co-incidentally, been pushing for Lenihen to take over for some time now

Since then, MRBI asked a similar question and got a somewhat more credible result (39% Lenihen and 18% Martin, with Hanafin 8%, Ahern 6%, Oth 5% and DK 24%). Now, for reasons best known to themselves, QR have decided to ‘ask’ the same question.

This time the results are a bit more realistic (i.e. much closer to the MRBI finding) but still show a swing to Lenihen since the early part of last week (no doubt as a result of all that good news regarding his handling of the banks…). Now, Quantum suggests 46% Lenihen, and 13% Martin. The breakdown of the remaining 41% isn’t revealed – no doubt a rocketing number of DKs from the 0% reported last time…

Also ‘asked’ was whether Cowen should step down as Taoiseach before the next election, with 68% being the figure reported (they helpfully exclude the figures for No and DK, allowing you to fill in the blanks with your own figures!). The figure in the IT earlier this week were 61/29/10, so it would appear to be a case of take the MRBI figure and push it up a bit.

The poll also has figures on support for Enda walking (71% say yes, presumably none of them LP supporters), and they reckon 61% support RB taking over (13% Leo). Needless to say, FG will ignore this if they are a serious party with the collective judgement required to lead a Government.

So that’s Enda gone by the end of the month, I guess…..

Written by Dotski

October 3, 2010 at 8:53 am

Posted in Uncategorized