Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ireland-Red C/Sunday Business Post poll shows FF down 6% on its General Election result

The Last Red C/Sunday Business Post poll took place in November 2007. Such polls are taken monthly-with the exception of December. This is the first poll in the series for 2008. Its results are quite similar to those of the Irish Times/ TNS mrbi poll published earlier this week.

It is a more fruitful exercise to compare Red C poll results with the ’07 General Election outcome.

According to Red C, FF support has increased by four points -since the last poll at the end of November -to 36%. Nevertheless the party is down 6% on its General Election result.

Fine Gael is up by one point to 32% on November. It is up 5% on its General Election result.

However the Labour Party is down three points on the November poll to 10%. Labour also secured 10% of the vote in ‘07 General Election.

The Green Party is down two points to 7%- but up 2% on its General Election result.

Sinn Féin stands at 9% -2% higher than its General Election result.

The PDs are unchanged at 2% but down 0.7% on the General Election result

Independents and others drop two points to 4%-down 2.6% on the General Election.

Asked if they believed Bertie Ahern's evidence to the Mahon Tribunal, a clear majority, 54% said they did not, an increase of 12% since last September.

This is a poor poll result for FF as the party secured 42% in the General Election. Much of the soft FF support has moved to Sinn Fein and the Greens. This will in all probability return in the course of any future General Election campaign. It is unlikely that FF would secure anything less than 39% in a General Election. The poll probably understates the real level of FF support. Some FF supporters for obvious reasons are unwilling to indicate their real voting intentions. In the privacy of the ballot box no such inhibitions exist.

The FG performance is impressive as it is up 5% on the ’07 General Election. The party must endeavour to hold this new support with clear-cut policy positions on a wide variety of issues. Fine Gael has been rejuvenated by the influx of ambitious new TDs. It now has a strong front bench, which is more than a match for its FF counterparts. In some polls prior to the 07 General Election FG secured 31% of the vote but fell back to 27% in the actual election. This is soft support. Nevertheless FG appears to be returning to the support levels, which it obtained, in the early 1980s.

The Labour Party is stagnant. It is under pressure from Sinn Fein on the left. It has serious organizational problems in many constituencies. It must wrest working class support from FF if it is to make progress.

Sinn Fein may take some encouragement from the 2% rise in support from the ’07 Election. In all probability it a temporary abode for unhappy FF supporters who will return to their natural party in the course of the next General Election.

Similarly the Greens would be unwise to read too much into the 2% rise in support since ’07 General Election. The Green Party is a temporary rest home for some unhappy FF supporters. The Greens having already sold out on many of their core principles may face retribution from the electorate – a la the PDs.

The PD performance is abysmal. Looks like the good ship PD is heading for the rocks.

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