Irish Election Update

I’ve not really got the energy for an long post today but I couldn’t resist a quick update on more opinion polls that must make uncomfortable reading for the incumbent Taioseach Leo Varadkar and his Fine Gael party. Last week I reported on the results with breakdown of first-preference votes for Fine Gael (FG), Fianna Fáil (FF) and Sinn Féin (SF) from two polls, to which I now add a third and a fourth:

  • Sunday Times/Behaviour & Attitude: FF 32%; FG 20%; SF 19%
  • Irish Times/IPSOS-MRBI: FF 25%; FG 21%; SF 21%
  • BusinessPost/Red C: FF 26%; FG 23%; SF 19%
  • Daily Mail/Ireland Elects: FF 27%; FG 22%; SF 22%

All are based on quite small samples (923, 1200 and 1000 for the first three respectively; I don’t know the sample size for the 4th) and consequently have quite large margins of error (around 3%) but in broad terms they seem to be telling the same story.

The remarkable thing about the Red C poll however is that Sinn Féin are up 8% on the last poll from the same outfit while Fine Gael are down 7%. I sense quite a lot of momentum for the Shinners, actually, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they end up with a share of the vote around 25%. If that is the case they’ll probably wish they had stood more candidates, which they will probably do next time if they perform strongly in the actual election.

There’s a lot of talk in Ireland about the need for change, especially in respect of housing and healthcare. Real change will not come via the two establishment parties FF and FG, and I think the best chance in practice to create a better Ireland is through voting for Sinn Féin (although in my own constituency of Kildare North they don’t seem to have much of a chance).

There is a chance that FF+FG will form a sort of grand coalition to cling on to power. That might work in the short term, but I doubt it will form a stable government for long. We live in interesting times…

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