Irish Polling Report

A place to discuss Irish opinion polls

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It now appears that even half a day is a long time in politics. Only last night, this mornings Lansdowne/MB poll was recording a drop of 4% in FG’s support, and now a poll run by RedC over (roughly) the same period shows an increase of the same amount. While polls will often disagree on party levels, they really shouldn’t disagree on the trends, which leaves us to conclude that one of these may be, to come extent, a rogue poll. Either that, or FG are in the 33-34% range that both companies had them last week, and the two ratings of 30% and 37% are outliers at the limit of the margin of error (which is statistically unlikely, but not impossible). Both companies have a comparable record in predicting General Election results, and so, while many partisans will choose the company that gives a higher rating for their party (particularly on, and some pessimists may choose the lower, I’m personally inclined to think that the average of the two ratings is the most reliable of the lot.

Only time (and further polling evidence) will tell.

Anyways, the RedC/Paddy Power. Poll ratings (and seat projections) are as follows;

FF 18%-26
FG 37%-72
LP 19%-34
SF 12%-15
GP 3%-1
OTH 11%-18

Starkest movements here (only ones outside the margin of error) are FG up 4%, and OTH down 4%. It’s hard to be sure what is behind this movement, given how little has happened in the intervening period. Perhaps there was a cohort out there that was awaiting McWilliams to launch his “New Ireland” movement as a political force, and having seen him decline to do so are going to FG. But 37% is the highest in RedC for an eternity, and they have been 30-36% in their ratings since October 2008. If this isn’t an outlyer but represents a sudden trend towards FG, talk of an overall majority for FG, or at least a minority FG administration with support from FF or “independents” such as Shane Ross, can’t be discounted.

FF will also be pleased at this poll finding. Despite not enjoying any significant new leaders bounce in last week’s RedC poll (and polling an identical 16% in the L/MB polls) they appear to have started making headway since then. This would be unusual, as it would be more normal for the party to get a bigger bounce immediately upon changing leader and then fall back a bit, and it’s possible that it means that Cowen’s continued position as Taoiseach means that it is only dawning on some voters that there has in fact been a change of leadership in the party. If this is the case, they may make further gains in the coming week.

LP are down, and while it is in the margin or error, they will be concerned, as it is one of a number of such polls in RedC, with a cumulative figure that is very much outside the margin of error. They need the launch of their campaign to start moving them I the opposite direction if they are to have the sort of election that will break new ground for them. Only yesterday they were at 24% in Lansdowne, and a 5% differential will make them nervous, particularly those candidates who had expected to be competing with FG for the last seat. I understand the SBP will have weekly RedC polls form now on, and Labour will be looking to be back up to at least 20% in that if their nerves are to be steadied, as FF are now just 1% behind them. Even if they stabilise at 19%, the next poll won’t be good news for them.

SF will be satisfied, I suspect, at holding their support relatively level, and GP would no doubt be happier with the 3% recorded here than the 1% yesterday. But all those supporting candidates in the OTH category will be nervously wondering what the big drop in support for them means.

Finally, as I said, I’d be inclined to consider the average of the two polling company figures as, most likely, closest to where we’re at at the moment (certainly it’s closer to the polls that were out before these two). This, when fed into the spreadsheet comes out at;

FF 17% – 19
FG 33.5% – 63
LP 21.5% – 45
SF 12.5% – 18
GP 2% – 0
OTH 13.5% – 21

I suspect that these totals are going to move a lot over the next 3 weeks…..

Written by Dotski

February 2, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

7 Responses

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  1. I’m not inclined to take Millard Brown seriously since that ridiculous poll they did for the Meath Chronicle in 2005 for the by-election. They never held their hands up on that one nor gave an explanation of how it was so awfully wrong. So I think the poll in the Indo today is likely a rogue one.

    Daniel Sullivan

    February 2, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    • In fairness to them, they’ve a very good record in GEs. They may be as bemused as everyone else as to how they called that bye-election so wrong, but b/e’s are different to GEs. at the time (2005) the Govt was generally popular enough (they won a GE 2 yrs later despite being mired in controversy) but they lost 2 by-elections, possibly as a result of govt supporters wanting to give them a kick/not wanting them to become complacent. If that’s what happened, one would presume it could be a relatively last minute thing, and would mean that the poll was an accurate enough measure of sentiment at the time it was conducted. It would one presumes be different now, as the govt is greatly unpopular, and if anything ppl are slightly less likely to say they support it than they actually are. As I say L/MB did well on GE polls, and are more or less in line with MRBI who also have a very good record, and both of them are in line with what RedC was until the last poll, so it may just be a rogue, although the next poll will tell us if its actually a rogue, or a divergence between RedC and the other companies.


      February 4, 2011 at 10:44 pm

  2. Millward Brown was done face-to-face, while RedC was over the phone. That seems to be the main methodology difference.
    There are various reasons to prefer either or both but I think waiting for the (expected) MRBI one tomorrow evening will give a more complete answer.


    February 2, 2011 at 4:12 pm

  3. If FG were to continue to gain at the expense of the other category what would they have to get to approach single party government?


    February 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    • well, while it depends on other parties, I think a poll rating of about 41-42% will put FG in and around 83 seats, but 40% would make them so close that a single party govt would be inevitable, prob with the support of the Ross Somerville “Indos”.


      February 4, 2011 at 10:38 pm

  4. There are various reasons to prefer either or both but I think waiting for the (expected) MRBI one tomorrow evening will give a more complete answer.

    Presumably each company will have a poll this weekend as well, and if they broadly agree at that point we might have a better feel as to whether one of today’s polls is a rogue.

    Incidentally, Déaglán de Bréadún stated that the Irish Times would only be carrying out two polls this time – one at the start of the campaign and one at the end. Presumably funds are tight on Tara Street.

    Paddy M

    February 2, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    • Yes, the IT only being able to afford 2 polls is a worrying indication of how bad things are there, given the potential boost a poll gives a paper’s circulation. One hopes it’s not a sign of something to come …..


      February 4, 2011 at 10:36 pm

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