Current Affairs Politics

Sinn Féin And Fianna Fáil Top The Latest Polls

While all the usual caveats apply, with high polling results for Sinn Féin rarely translating into equally high voting come election day, the latest Sunday Business Post/Red C poll places Mary Lou McDonald’s party on a level pegging with Fianna Fáil, both standing at 24%, while Fine Gael is trailing slightly behind at 21%. According to the published data of 1000 adults surveyed, with a margin-of-error of +/-3%, the state of the parties as we approach the home stretch in the general election campaign is as follows:

  • Sinn Féin 24% (+5%)
  • Fianna Fáil 24% (-2%)
  • Fine Gael 21% (-2%)
  • Green Party 7% (-1%)
  • Labour Party 5% (+1%)
  • Social Democrats 3% (NC)
  • Aontú 2% (+1%)
  • Solidarity-People Before Profit 1% (-1%)
  • Independents 12% (-2%)
  • Others 1% (+1%)

The above figures follow an online if methodically sound poll conducted for the Times newspaper by Panelbase, a UK company fresh to the Irish market, which showed the following:

  • Fianna Fáil 23%
  • Sinn Féin 21%
  • Fine Gael 19%
  • Green Party 10%
  • Labour Party 5%
  • Social Democrats 5%
  • Solidarity-People Before Profit 5%
  • Independent/Others 11%

If the trend in the polls is reflected at the ballot box, and that is a big “if”, Leo Varadkar might get his tentatively proposed “grand coalition” with Micheál Martin as the parties of the Establishment work to ensure that Sinn Féin is locked out of power (an unlikely proposition in any case given the probable numbers in the next Dáil). Alternatively, it could be a minority FF administration with various others and propped up by FG in a role reversal of the cosy little arrangement of the last few years. Which would irritate an already restless chunk of the electorate frustrated by the inability or unwillingness of the old Civil War parties and their enablers to deal with outstanding problems in health care, housing, crime, education and so on.

8 comments on “Sinn Féin And Fianna Fáil Top The Latest Polls

  1. It’s a remarkable poll rating, even if only fleeting. I feel it will fall back a little on the day. But then again, it is telling how poor FF and FG are rating as well. Could be the outcome of confidence and supply – a sense that there really is little or nothin between FF and FG. And if they did go for a grand coalition – or even a reverse confidence and supply wouldn’t the same dynamic likely persist?

    • Yeah, I have the same feeling despite some of the talk ascribing the SF rise in the polls to a “youth quake” or a “gender wave” (as in a female one) that will actually turn up at the polling stations. Plus the old issue of transfer toxicity.

      Though some in SF might be kicking themselves for playing a defensive game in terms of limiting the number of candidates standing for election. It made sense given the recent drubbings but with these poll numbers.

      My money is still on an FF-led government with the Greens, maybe Labour and some independents, if the numbers fall out that way.

      As someone said on Twitter, I’d love to see the contents of the WhatsApp group for the journalists in the Irish and Sunday Independent today!

      • Hahah, that’d be fun. A straw in the wind, a friend of mine from back in the day who would never have countenanced voting for SF – probably FGish inclined in reality, rang me this last while asking about what I thought of them because they were torn about voting for them. Now, I don’t think they will at the end of the day, but… their kids are, and if you’d told me Varadkar was thinking fo giving them a preference I’d have been less surprised. Anecdata, completely anecdata, but something might be happening in terms of SF gaining profile as a national level alternative.

        Re your point on FF-led govt, I’d say in a confidence and supply context that’s about right, with a badly damaged and diminished FG doing a reverse confidence and supply for say two years or perhaps just abstaining.

  2. What do you do if your local SF TD has proved useless? as I found in my constituency and had to use a FF to get something sorted with a government department and I never vote FF/FG / Labour. I would vote SF but just cannot support my local SF candidate and foolishly enough they are only running one person,

    • Think the bigger picture? Up to yourself but I’ve experienced good and bad SF reps and I’ll still be voting SF as my number one choice. And there is quite a bit I disagree with or find lacking in SF. But the Establishment parties would be worse.

      • I got to know a few of the TDs over the years. Mostly good, some v good, a few pretty mediocre. But agree, ASF, there’s a broader national picture.

    • This won’t solve your dilemma, but one long-term answer to that question in general: Ireland might consider going in the direction of a French-style Semi-Presidential system. There also exist Presidential systems where the “Prime Minister” is basically a cabinet member with a strong role in the Legislature. (I suspect the former might be more popular in Europe.)

      I also believe that some countries with a PM have some system where you can both vote for an individual MTL AND a party. By various formulas (some involving actual seats and others just a formula for deciding the party of the PM), you can indicate your preference for a party PM even if it doesn’t always match the part of the MTL you think is the smartest, best fit for the role, etc. I know Mexico’s lower house has a hybrid where people vote for individual members by district and then for a party that determines some seats, even though they don’t have a PM.

  3. Interesting times.

    SF in govt with FF/GP would risk being destroyed in the same manner GP and Labour have been as coalition partners. You know FF/GP operatives would make that their top priority.

    But SF’s operatives are experienced, given the decades of hard won experience in the north. I’d put my money on SF dancing rings around FF/GP.

    Curious to see how the Saturday election impacts turnout, and if that impact varies by ideology.

    Turnout in Iowa tomorrow night will be a leading indicator of Sander’s chances of winning the nomination. Personally, I think Sanders wins 50% or more of the IA delegates. If he doesn’t, it will be a long, hard slog to a contested convention.

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