Irish Polling Report

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Starters orders….

with 5 comments

The RedC presidential poll is interesting on a number of counts.  Most obviously, this is the first time we’ve seen the likely full line-up, without ‘spoilers’, assuming Dana gets the nod from 4 Councils (and the speculation is that she will).  This gives us a clearer picture of where the up for grabs vote is likely, at this stage, to gravitate. Michael D, who is now officially the front runner, knows where he is, and those looking to knock him out of that pole position know he’s the person to beat.

To recap, the first preferences are as follows;

Norris 21%

MDH 18%

McGuinness 16%

Davis 13%

Mitchell 13%

Gallagher 11%

Dana 6%

On these figures,  it will clearly go to transfers, as no-one is remotely near the territory where they can reach 50% on FPVs, and even the front runners will need substantial transfers from more than one competitor.  The dynamic that will introduce to the campaign will be interesting.  While there is evidence that some in FG are out to highlight  the links between Mary Davis and FF, and Shane Ross scored a hit today highlighting her performance on various Quangos following her appointment by Bertie & Co, I suspect that most candidates will spend the rest of the campaign tripping over one another to be positive about themselves, rather than negative about their opponents.

And the transfers …. Well, according to the poll, the 2nd preferences of the candidates are as follows;

Higgins 20%
Davis 16%
Gallagher 14%
Mitchell 14%
McGuinness 8%
Dana 7%
Norris 6%

This is no great shakes for McGuinness (although unsurprisingly so, I would have thought), but shockingly poor for Norris.  It means that, while Michael D is among the top 2 choices of 38% of voters, Norris gets only 27% of voters marking him that high (with 30% for MMG).  Assuming a similar drop off in lower preferences, and neither Norris nor the SF man will be able to make it to the Aras, and both may fail to make it to the last count.

Given this, the question is who can catch Michael D?  When the poll was leaked, I tweeted that Davis would now be second favourite, and while she will get greater scrutiny now for her closeness to FF (and perhaps her pro-life views) I would still see her as the likeliest person to challenge.  However, Twitterer DJCP Moore projected this poll as ending in 59% Michael D to 41% Davis, and that looks about right to me.  Her best hope is that FG don’t swing behind Mitchell, but I think they will feel a need to shore up his vote and avoid an embarrassing early exit for their party.  Kenny may not have chosen Mitchell, and could gain some satisfaction from the party being shown such a dramatic outcome from ignoring his advice, but at the end of the day, you enter politics to win elections.  They’ll be hoping to get up to about 20% which, while a poor result, would be a lot better than the early polls are indicating, something no doubt Kenny would claim as his impact.

The reasons for the poor FG performance are open to debate.  Certainly Mitchell is a poor candidate, as they should have known in advance of nominating him, but on it’s own that’s not enough.  When he got only 2% in a poll including 4 FG candidates, the combined FG polling, which included 4 very different candidates encompassing all the main elements of their party, was only 29%, despite the same poll having the party on 42% for party support.  That would have disappointed FG at nearly any point of their history, so to be polling at that level now should be deeply troubling, and not just for this election.

In fact Mitchell appears to be, if anything, going backwards, as he had expected to get a decent share of the ex-FF vote, and so to be at this level when they’re not even in the race means he’s tumbling badly.  One reason might be precisely the absence of FF.  People vote for parties for all sorts of reasons, but most analysts agree that FG has always got substantial votes based on being the most anti-FF party.  Take FF out of the equation, and suddenly they need to rely on other reasons to support them.  That’s not to say those reasons don’t exist, but on their own they mightn’t  reach the heights that visceral hatred of FF has always brought out to vote for them.  FF of course may come back, but if they are reaching the end of the road as Dev Og appears to think, it may be bad news for FG also.

Otherwise, Gallagher is sinking fast (below the threshold required to get his deposit back), and Dana looks like she won’t register outside a few heartlands.  Their transfers will be courted however, with McGuinness hoping that geography will see them push him into a last count showdown with Michael D.

And Michael D …. It’s probably the first time in his life he could consider himself a favourite.  Certainly as President & Director of Galway Utd he has had his taste of defeat in his life (not to mention from a lifetime of social campaigning).  But with even ideological foes like Shane Ross coming out in support for him, its looking good for him.  That’s not to say that he can’t lose it, but at this stage it’d be him losing, rather than someone else winning.  In particular, he needs a decent Mitchell transfer to stay comfortably ahead of either Norris of MMG, and that suggests that Dublin will be an important region to perform well.   If he manages that, he should get sufficient transfers to be too far ahead of Davis to lose.  His biggest threat may be that Mitchell would make significant inroads to his support in Dublin, and if that happened, he could conceivably outpoll him.  Mitchell would still lose, as he’d not do as well on McGuiness and Norris transfers, but that would be of no substantive benefit to anyone but Davis.  Even considering this scenario, it appears odds-on that Michael D will win.

Yeah yeah, famous last words ….


Written by Dotski

September 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. I think that your analysis is spot on. Norris and McGuinness in the race is a factor which is likely to help Michael D. The ‘anybody but McGuinness’ feeling being cultivated by concerted media attacks is likely to cause FG voters to transfer strongly to Michael D. I would have expected a lot of Norris voters to transfer to him at any rate. It is significent that there are more people (20%) willing to give Michael D. a 2nd preference than will give him their No 1 (18%).

    Norris’s vote is probably a bit artificially high at the moment, due to the daily saga in the media, detailing his attempt to garner the 20 signatures from Independents. Will Mattie Mc Grath sign or will he not? Will he get the 19 and if he does will Lowry stand by his promise to give him the twentieth signature, all in the interest of democracy of course. The Independents, who are largely irrelevant in the current Dail, are delighted to have a role and are not doing too bad on the publicity front as a result.

    The last four standing I beleive will be Michael D., Gay Mitchell, Mary Davis and probably Mc Guinness: not necessarily in that order. Any of those going out will lift Michael D.’s vote and keep him in the race. A lot of Mc Guinness’s vote won’t transfer, which could have the effect of having a President elected in the last count withour reaching the quota.

    One of the advantages Michael D. will have over the other candidates, is that he seems to be the only one who can converse in Gaelic: This obviously will sway a significent minority of people, who may feel that the President should be able to speak Gaelic, the supposedly 1st Official language of the state, over which the successful candidate will preside. In the Irish language media (Radio na Gaeltachta and TG4), I would imagine it to be more effective for a candidate him or herself to be participating in debates rather than having a spokesperson with Gaelic doing it for you. That said it will be used by the non Gaelic speaking candidates that Mary Mc Aleese, who had no Gaelic in the campaign became a fluent articulate speaker of the 1st official language, not an easy task to accomplish.

    At this stage it’s Michael D’s election to lose. I’m sure they are busy in FG and SF sifting through the Hot Press articles, as I pen this reply, to find the through away phrase that will put Michael D. on the defence.

    An interesting Presidential election, will help to shorten the winter.

    Don Din

    September 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    • Cheers Don, agree very much on the Norris factor, and once he’s nominated, apparently in part by Michael D supporters, there may be the loss of a martyr effect. I hasn’t thought of the Irish language debate, but yes it was widely seen as the best one in the GE, and a lot of ppl took satisfaction at all 3 leaders being sufficiently fluent for it to take place. MMG’s use of the ‘west brit’ tag might be hard to stick on someone as fluent. And yes again agree on Michael D’s old writings being scrutinized for radicalism. But there’s a cpl of things that should minimise the harm. Firstly, it could gain him as many FPVs (from SF and Norris) as he’d lose, and secondly a lot of what was radical then is pretty mainstream now. Even on central America, his positions on what the USA did then probably aren’t too far from the positions Obama held at the time. If he gets heat, I’m sure President Bartlett will row in behind him!

      But yes, still close enough that say 4% of electorate moving from him to Mitchell would see him out, so he’s still got a lot of work to do.


      September 25, 2011 at 9:02 pm

  2. Both you and Don mention debates. Can there seriously be an actual debate á la the general election for the presidential candidates? Other than talking about their individual fitness for the job …. what are they going to debate?


    September 25, 2011 at 11:04 pm

  3. Hi
    Delighted to see t’auld spreadsheet getting an outing again 🙂

    Just a thought – I wonder if Norris’ poor second preference /transfer showing is due to the fact that people want to see that he gets the nomination, but do not necessarily intend to vote for him?

    Personally, that’s how I feel – and it appears that I’m in no less august company than Sen Shane Ross, by gum!. Call it a (well-hidden) sense of fair play and support for the underdog. I wouldn’t be surprised if his % of first preferences in later polls went down considerably once he gets the nomination – assuming that he does.

    What I don’t know is where those 1st prefs will then go… Looking forward to more posts.


    September 26, 2011 at 2:43 am

    • Hi Cass, good to hear from you too. The spreadsheet will need to migrate soon as laptop is refusing to have anything to do with the internet. Yea I think Norris’s FPV is very likely inflated by ppl who think he should be on the ballot. Looking forward to next poll….


      September 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm

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