Irish Polling Report

A place to discuss Irish opinion polls

And Den there were two……

with 3 comments


Lashing this out before catching a train with one of the wains, so please excuse any typos….

I’m sure everyone who follows this blog are aware of the latest RedC Aras poll, which shows Gallagher storming into a commanding first preference lead, and the field effectively whittled down to him an Michael D Higgins.  For any who haven’t, the FPV figures are as follows;

Gallagher 39% (+18)

Michael D 27% (+2)

McGuinness 13% (-3)

Mitchell 8% (-2)

Norris 7% (-7)

Davis 4% (-5)

Dana 2% (-3)


First, the obvious.  Gallagher’s vote has almost doubled, and it’s largely at the expense of the other Independents, who losing votes hand over fist, and all of whom are dead ducks now, with no way back.  Secondly, Michael D is gaining votes, but not at the rate that he could stay ahead of that kind of surge.  SF are also leaking now, and are perilously close to the 12.5% required to hold their deposit.  Given the absence of FF, this would represent a step backwards for the party if replicated on the day, and they will be hoping that a sympathy factor, based on a media onslaught and the Primetime debate controversy, will help stem the tide that is going against their man.  And finally, Mitchell is approaching meltdown, and it will take a Herculean effort by the FG party machine for them to save their deposit.  It is still possible that they could overtake SF in there is a continued decline in the Derryman’s fortunes, but even that achievement appears less than odds on.

OK, what else?

Well, as you will also know, the poll was taken before the Primetime debate.  Most people believe that Gallagher performed poorly in that debate, handling the FF question particularly badly, and his odds lengthened at Paddy Powers following it (a trend reversed by the publication of this poll).  Personally I doubt this would be enough to wipe out a 12% lead, but one suspects it would have some impact.

Secondly, there’s the issue of transfers and likely voters.  I got the paper today hoping to get the level of detail on this that previous RedC polls have had, and was surprised to see less of this published than normal.  There are no specific figures for transfer rates or #2 votes, but Richard Colwell (RedC MD) says that Michael D beings to catch Gallagher “as Mary Davis, David Norris and Gay Mitchell all transfer strongly to him. However the question is whether this will be enough before Martin McGuinness is eliminated, as he transfers strongly to Gallagher”.  The unwillingness to say what way the poll indicates would suggest that it’s too close to call

If we were to assume from the above that Mitchell and Norris were going 60/20 MDH/SG, Davis 55/30, and Dana and MMG 30/60, the final result would be Gallagher winning by about 8-9%.  But we don’t know the transfer rates, and ones from previous polls are now useless as the Mary Davis vote of a fortnight ago isn’t the same cohort as today, given the swing since then.

Also of interest is when you look at committed voters.  RedC ask voters how likely they are to vote on a scale of 1-10, and discard 1s 2s and 3s, on the reasonable basis that they tend not to vote.  This is of particular interest in a vote like this where turnout is not expected to be high, with the last Presidential election attracting a turnout of 50% or so.  Those who are “definite” (i.e. 100% likely, according to them) in this poll, interestingly, amounts to some 51% of those polled, the gap is narrower, with Gallagher at 38% and Michael D up to 30%.

Both of these factors combined could, if stretched, be used to suggest that the lead on the final vote among those who will actually vote is around the margin of error, but personally, I think Gallagher would still have won on the final count if the vote had been held early last week, based on these figures.  The question, given the volatility of the figures, is whether he has built up an unstoppable momentum, or whether the “easy come, easy go” principle applies.

The poll is likely to be a game changer in a number of respects.  Firstly, Gallagher will get the attention other potential winners have received, and it remains to be seen how he handles this.  Certainly his views on FF, and more recent revelations about him getting funding from boards he sat on are unlikely to help him.  But is may also arouse some sympathy.  Perhaps more pertinently is whether Michael D continues to adopt the ‘play it safe’ policy, or starts being more expansive about his values, and the sort of Ireland he wants to see.

But it’s game on.  And if I had to bet the house on a result, having done the figures, it’s Gallagher’s to lose.


Written by Dotski

October 16, 2011 at 11:54 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. how likely is it that SG was at the bottom of his margin of error on the last RedC and at the top of his margin of error on this RedC?
    Clearly SG has had a major increase this week, but i find 18% very hard to credit. However, even if the unlikely scenario i described above has happened, he has still increased 12% at least.

    With a headline grabbing increase like this, he may well have done enough that his slip-up re FF in the debate can be brushed aside. We will see this week.

    MDH will obviously be disappointed, but the SG surge has overshadowed the fact that MDH is also still increasing support, and i think that may well be a decisive factor in the last few days. He does need to be a bit less conservative this week. I think we saw that happening on his This Week interview today. He did come across as a little shrill at times i thought when pressed by Jennings, (this was something MDH had kept in check in the race to date).

    MMcG is fading a bit. The past is slowly catching up with him. I think that some younger voters who were considering him may have been a little taken aback by Primetime: it would only take a little background reading to shock them further, and i’m sure a few have asked their parents questions about MMcG too. This may account for part of SGs surge. I agree with your assessment that if MMcG fails to exceed the SF general election total, this will hurt SF a bit, but its still overall a very successful month for SF “down here”

    GM: beyond farcical at this stage. basically only worth considering as a source of transfers for his coalition partner

    DN, MD, DS: once they had lost the race to be the leading independent with 3 weeks to go, they were always goners. The leading independent has and will continue to hoover up the independent voters

    Now have the irish times planned a poll for this week? i hope so!


    October 16, 2011 at 7:15 pm

  2. Interesting poll… It seems that the wimmen are warmin’ to Seán.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if candidates change position substantially again after the next poll though, as people begin to think about each candidate *being President* as opposed *campaigning to be President*.

    Any idea when the next poll is due?


    October 18, 2011 at 2:58 am

  3. What say you now Dotski?


    October 20, 2011 at 5:40 pm

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