Irish Polling Report

A place to discuss Irish opinion polls

Red see blue ….

with 18 comments

RedC figures for tomorrow’s SBP are out, and they show a relative surge to FG. The figures, which were collected over the period Tuesday-Thursday, were mainly taken after the TV3 debate, and would appear to vindicate those of Enda’s handlers that advised him to stay away from the debate. While FF and LP both fall by amounts within the margin of error, it’s not the direction they want to be going. Indeed, given the rather overwhelming consensus that Martin won the debate, Labour will be relieved not to drop by a more significant margin. SF will be more concerned to be down by the full margin of error, and this may be a squeeze that typically happens to smaller parties in the course of campaign. The figures are as follows;

FF: 15% (-2)
FG: 38% (+3)
LP: 20% (-2)
SF: 10% (-3)
GP: 3% (+1)
OTH:14% (+3)

Projected to seats, and the spreadsheet says that comes out as

FG 73
LP 40
FF 17
SF 11
GP 2
OTH 23

Clearly on these figures FG are starting to edge towards single party govt, perhaps with the support of either FF or like-minded Indos. While the OTH category is the least reliable to project, 8 or 9 of these Indos could be described as centre/centre-right, which would leave them tantalisingly close to a majority, and further movement in this direction would be likely to put them in a position to do such a deal. Indeed, another 4% or so and they could possibly get an overall majority themselves. Of course, there were over two weeks to go at the time of polling, and they can’t keep Enda out of the debates forever, but it’s as good a place as they could have wished for.

LP will be relieved that a rumour on putting them behind FF in this poll didn’t materialise, and it seems that, barring a car-crash moment, they should stay ahead of FF on these figures, if they lost no ground following Tuesday’s debate. Their task now is to persuade people that there is a reason to vote for them instead of FG, and I suspect that this has been their strategy the last few days.

SF will be nervy. A drop of the full margin of error to 10% puts them where they were before the “Doherty Drive” took off, and they may, as I say, be getting squeezed. They will be hoping for a good performance in the ‘gang of 5’ debate, although it will be hard to get a word in edgeways at that, I would have thought.

GP will be pleased to edge up, and on these figures I see them scraping 2 seats. All very hard to say though – they are a party now living in the margin of error. But at least this poll will give them more, rather than less hope.

And OTH, well they’re up. But which OTH? Only time will tell.

I’ll try to get a round-up posted over the weekend.

Written by Dotski

February 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

18 Responses

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  1. That’s interesting – looks as if the debate has had no real effect, since both parties that took part have lost support despite Martin clearly coming off best, and while FG are up SF are down. FG clearly have the momentum so far – which means the pressure in any debate they do take part in will be greater, if only to avoid a case of foot in mouth. I can’t see 23 Independents though!

    Rodney Breen

    February 12, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    • Indeed, EK is now our presumtive Taoiseach, with it his to throw away, so it will be interesting how they play it.

      My own view is that I’m surprised that FF are down, and along with Sf down it may be that it wll now be seen as a FG v LP election, with LP looking to be a significant force at the cabinet table, and if they don’t manage this, it may end up being FG/INDs with EG as leader of the opposition, rather than Tanaiste.


      February 12, 2011 at 10:00 pm

  2. thanks Dotski
    your SF figure in particular is very different from Kavanagh. why so? they give a percentage breakdown by constituency


    February 12, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    • Actually, while there are differences I think the SF number is very similar (I’ve 11, Adrian has 12) – usually there’s up to +/-5 between the 2 of us for some parties because we use different methods. Adrian, as far as I understand, uses the uniform swing (U-swing) in the vote (i.e. LP doubling nationally sees them go from 5% to 10% and from 20% to 40% in various constituencies) with an adjustment in each constituency to bring them down/up to 100%.

      My method measures that swing, but also measures the swing in the vote *against* each party. So LP going from 10% to 20%, means that the non-LP vote goes from 90% to 80%, and a uniform application for that is also calculated.

      What does that mean in practise? Well, taking LP (who are having the biggest proportional swing), for areas close to the average, nothing at all. But it means that the proportional increase is higher where LP were lower in ’07, and lower where their base vote was higher (although national share still comes to the same). The results are closer to pattern in ’92, and the regional breakdowns from my constituency figures are much closer to the one Michael Marsh recently extrapolated from breakdowns of the EP regions, which would suggest that my method is closer to what is happening on the ground (IMO). For example, he had LP on about 2 quotas in Kildare South recently, and they’re only running one candidate, whereas a u-swing in Donegal SW would have see LP on about 5.4%, and they got nearly twice that in the by-election.

      For example, again taking the LP vote which was 10% nationally last time, and is 20% in this poll. Take 2 areas, one where it had 5% in ’07 and another where it had 30%.

      In the first where they had 5%, the USwing sees them go from 5% to 10%. But the US for non-LP votes reduces by a ninth (as nationally it has gone from 90% to 80%), i.e from 95% to 84.4%, leaving 15.6%. Averaged with the US vote, that comes to (10% + 15.6%)divided by 2, or 12.8%.

      Where, by contrast, the LP had 30%, that might mean that the Uswing would see LP vote, doubling, come in at 60%. However, the non-LP vote, if reducing by a ninth, would go from 70% to 62.2%, making the figure 37.8%. The average of the two would then be (60+37.8) divided by 2, or 48.9%.

      As you can see, the outcome is “flatter” than U-swing, and this is more in keeping what happens when parties gain significantly, as its not that their vote ‘swells’ so much as they gain from other parties, and they can only gain less when there are fewer votes for other parties in the first place.

      I also have local adjustments to the base which try to reflect (a) the disappearance of the PDs, whose vote in ’07 would mainly have gone to FF or FG, and not OTH, (b) constituency revisions, and (c) other changes caused by candidate changes, leadership changes etc. I’d stress I do this to the ’07 base figures, rather than the final figures, as the latter would be too open to wishful thinking…. There’s also an adjustment to the LP figures to take into account their propensity to experience the national swing (based on ’92) as that election showed that rural areas were less influenced by the national trends to LP, and so that is something that should be reflected.

      Of course, at the end of the process, the spreadsheet then calculates the national figures form the local ones, and apportions up or down each party to ensure that it meets the poll rating entered, and so most of these variances are likely to largely cancel out. But while they do, the identity of, say those 11/12 SF TDs, could vary significantly.

      Of course, we’ll not know which of us called it closer until the count. But I’d be quietly confident…. but then, I’m sure he would be too! 😉


      February 12, 2011 at 9:57 pm

      • thanks for that Dotski. i’m kinda surprised that Kavanagh’s method is as basic as that.
        apologies about the SF comparison, i read Kavanagh’s Independents 20 by mistake as their figure.

        i think your point about it being a FG v Lab election is right, but thats the reason Lab are down. they are treating it as Lab v FG, whereas they’d make more ground if they treated it as Lab v FF and hoped to pick up more votes than FG v FF.

        Attacking FG so much isn’t working for them. i’m surprised they went as hard against FG as they did, while relatively ignoring FF. i think FG were a bit surprised about it, but had their retaliatory plans well prepped for that eventuality.

        FG can get away with some negative comments against Lab, as it isn’t unrealistic to say they could govern with other parties, whereas Lab can’t get away with attacking FG as much because FF are their only option.

        Problem now is that it is difficult to change tack mid-race. Attacking Kenny isn’t the whole answer. If it was, he’d have been dead years and years ago. And hoping for a collapse by him in the debates isn’t a solve-all-solution either.

        An interesting side effect of not appearing with #vinb is that it has pushed his debate expectations lower, and as i have said before, opinion on debate performance is based on performance relative to expectation, not relative to other participants


        February 13, 2011 at 10:14 am

        • Re AK’s method, that’s how he described it on Morning Ireland, and that does tally with the individual figures, although like everyone he has to do some work to account for the PD disappearance, and I think he has an adjustment for when an Indo joins a party, but the underlying mathematical formula is I think better in mine (although I would say that, wouldn’t I?)

          On LP, I think at this stage they (no longer?) have any option but to say that there’s a significant difference between them and FG, as frankly there’s not many winnable FF votes left, and they’ll only win votes from SF/ULA if there’s distance between them and FG.

          I have to say that at this stage (barring a significant development) I think a FG govt with outside support is quite likely, and Gilmore may already be positioning for leader of the opposition, in the hope that whatever arrangement is arrived at finds it tougher going than they expected.

          But we’ll see I suppose!


          February 13, 2011 at 11:40 pm

  3. I’d read Enda Kenny’s absence from the debate differently: he was there to say anything wrong, so he didn’t loose support, and the movers from the others split between FG and OTH. It will be interesting to see how he fares after the first debate he does take part in.


    February 12, 2011 at 8:12 pm

  4. If I was advising FG, I would say No to all debates, because the debates are for losers.

    I have looked in detail in the past at the way Red C allocate the “Don’t know/Don’t say and have never been very happy with them.

    However Dotski, On these figures I can’t see Labour going anywhere close to 40 seats. Indeed it may be hard to go much higher than 30 with more votes waste than sperm in a brothel. Their vote management is awful. For example DNW where Róisín Shortall is so far ahead. Also I have heard very bad figures from DSC, where Henry the son/nephew is an awful candidate. No LP supporter in their right mind would vote for him. Also Aodhán ÓRiordáin cannot take DNC on these figures. It looks like 2 FG there on these figures. I could go on, but the interesting question may be where do the second LP candidates’ votes go? If SF can stay in the race for long enough in some areas will they benefit?

    The LP candidate strategy looks very poor with candidates like Andrew Montague & Rebecca Moynihan pushed aside.


    February 12, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    • Well, on the LP matter, usually when parties grow, their FPVote to seat ratio improves, and yet these figures would have them on the same ratio as the last two elections, despite doubling their seats. Usually LP FPVs are in onstituencies with no LP seat, and so they reduce that ratio. This time, LP will get a seat in most areas, and so the ratio cetainly should drop, and but for other factors might be expect to rise.

      I don’t think therefore that they could get this sort of vote and not be in and around 40 seats, and indeed, there were a good 4-5 seats I called against them, where the FPV shoudl have seen them in, on the assumption of poor vote management.

      Taking DSC, LP have 3 candidates, and Upton has been elected as a cllr in one ward and Mary and Pat’s base beforehand was another ward, so AFAIK practically everyone believe he’ll be elected. His running mates are also very strong in their areas, and while they will be lucky if they pull 3 seats if SF do well, 2 seats seems absolutely certain. While I’d admit to being sorry not to see Moynihan running there (she’d have been my no.2 after Byrne if I had a vote), all 3 candidates selected have a better electoral record, and the geographical (if not age/gender balance) is well-nigh perfect.

      DNW I have no personal insider info, but I am dubious as to whether a young man with with a poster sporting as attractive a photo as his will struggle to get a vote there…. and despite having a running mate who took the 4th seat of 5, he took nearly twice as many votes as Bill Tormey in the same ward in ’09 when a rookie, so I’d not write him off.

      DNC, likewise, I know no-one who hasn’t got AOR as favourite to take a seat here. I’m not sure what you mean about him not taking a seat “on these figures”, but if LP are doubling their vote in ’07, and FF are barely over a third, it’s hard to see how you’d see them falling short here, given the sources of transfers which are a-going

      But I think you’re right about Kenny having to avoid debates, it has been the right decision for them to make however I think they can only get away with that for so long, and they’ve agreed to participate in a number of them now, and so I don’t think they can really back out of them now. FWIW though I think he’d have to do very badly for it to make a difference on these figures.


      February 12, 2011 at 10:23 pm

      • Dotski,

        In relation to DNW, the LP have a long history of messing up here going back to 1969, without even going into the suicidal wars of the 1980s. I hope you are correct. It is interesting to note that the sons of two former Labour Cllrs are running, one for the Stalinist WP and the other as a PBP Trot. However FG are bringing in John Brutal next week. Any leakage will allow a right wing candidate in.

        In relation to DNC, ÓRiordáin produced the worst LP performance in the last local elections in Dublin. He will be depending on a huge vote from Artane. I must admit to having put a small wager on ÓMuirí after seeing the poll results.

        DSC is a mess for the LP, or more correctly Labour Parties. Upton is a terrible candidate and I know he was elected as a cllr., however SF have also improved with ÓSnodaigh a far more serious candidate than their local authority candidate. Also the Aunt beat FG handily in the middle class end of the constituency last time, that won’t happen this year. If FG can get the old “creative tensions” going between their candidates as existed between the Mitchell & O’Brien gangs, then their second candidate will be there at the end.

        I have depressed myself enough!


        February 13, 2011 at 1:40 pm

        • Re DNW, it’s a very hard one to call now, but FG will have to be at the top of their game to take a seat there, given the ‘creative tension’ between their two candidates, neither of whom would be described as a safe pair of hands.

          In DNC, in fairness I think AOR did well enough given he was still just moving from Dub Central. At this stage I presume he’s bedded down better, and there’s votes moving into the constituency which will be of much more use to him than FG. Of course, the FMG votes will be hard to call, as will the SF number twos, but I suspect he’ll be safe enough.

          In DSC, I’ve no doubt that Henry won’t poll as well as Mary might have, but with LP doubling their vote nationally its hard to see it below the ’07 figures. Also the proportion of votes in that end of the constituency is much less than in the 80s, and I think the 3-candidate strategy for FG should strangle what hopes they’d have had for a second seat. LP barely missed out in ’07 for a second, so I can’t see any real threat to LP2 (if Upton bombs, that’ll be Byrne and Conaghan elected). One prediction though – if they only get 2 seats, I can see Moynihan on the ticket in the following election, whether it’s in 5 years or 5 months time.

          Anyway, stop depressing yourself! 2 weeks between the last poll and polling day. It ain’t over yet….


          February 13, 2011 at 11:49 pm

  5. […] tally with the latest polls. FF will be around 25 if they're lucky. Yup, my projections (at http://irishpollingreport.wordpress…./red-see-blue/) have them at 17 , and Adrian Kavanagh has them at […]

  6. I think the big losers in this poll are the Twitterati and journos who claimed Enda had blown it by not taking part in the debate. I suspect FG’s surge is more down to Noonan who to my mind has been the star of the campaign so far. How ironic it is that 9 years ago Noonan was seen as a joke and now he’s FG’s biggest weapon!

    The Oncoming Storm

    February 12, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    • agreed.
      noonan has been the performer of the campaign so far, but as FG keep pushing, they have the strongest lineup. they have had 8 or 9 different frontbenchers comfortable to perform in debates.
      FF seem to be putting out new faces like mcgrath and byrne or old stagers like o’dea, but by and large its martin, martin, martin.
      Labour seem to only be putting out Gilmore, Gilmore, Burton and Rabbitte. Hiding Quinn is disastrous. They should be hiding Burton more! and keeping Shorthall in her constitiuency!


      February 13, 2011 at 10:19 am

      • Agree re Noonan. FF in fairness are using their best asset which is MM, going by most polls. LP I agree need to use Quinn more, am not sure that it’s a case of him being hid – he was side by side with Bruton when they launched their economic policy – but yes he should be pushed much further forward in the last fortnight – his role as Director of Elections will make that a lot easier.

        Burton seems to veer from terrible to quite good – she was streets ahead of Reilly (IMO) in the Deputy leaders debate on Radio 1, but her general demeanour doesn’t play well on TV in particular.

        I suspect though that it’s now Kenny’s to lose.


        February 13, 2011 at 11:11 pm

  7. […] Red see blue …. […]

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