Monday, May 4, 2009

Dublin Euro election campaign picks up pace.

There are 32 days remaining to the Euro election on June 5th. Opinion polls are beginning to reflect the sentiment of a changing mood among the electorate. There are 9 candidates in contention, the latest being Patricia McKenna the former MEP and Green Party member.

The Redc national poll on 23 April asked:

if there was a European election tomorrow, which party, or independent
candidate, would you vote for?
The result was charted against the national outcome in the 2004 Euro poll and the findings were:

2004 Euro Poll -- Voting Intentions, Apr 2009

Fianna Fáil 29%, 25%
Fine Gael 28% , 32%
Labour 11% , 17%
Sinn Féin 11%, 8%
Greens 4%, 7%
Libertas 0%, 2%
Others 17%, 10%

The Red C 2009 figures actually add to 101% - presumably allowing for statistical rounding.

If the Redc poll national trend on Euro voting intentions was to be applied to Dublin and the opinion swing nationally was to impact in a similar pattern in Dublin an interesting pattern evolves. The quota next month will be 25% of the valid poll because there are just 3 seats instead of the current 4. If the valid poll next month is similar to the valid poll in 2004 there will be about 420,000 votes and a quota of the order of 105,000, an increase of 21,000 over the last Euro election. The following pattern might emerge:

Fianna Fáil

The incumbent MEP, Eoin Ryan and his running mate, Royston Brady, polled 97,750 votes in 2004. The corresponding figure this time maybe closer to 84,000, but will the party pick up sufficient transfers to bridge the gap? Fianna Fáil voters don’t normally transfer to other parties and there might be difficulties for them in securing transfers.

Fine Gael

Gay Mitchell, the sole FG candidate and outgoing MEP, won 90,749 votes in 2004. The opinion polls would suggest that Mitchell, again the sole candidate, could make quota. This would be a formidable accomplishment given the fragmented impact of Fine Gael in Dublin and the absence of Dáil representation in three Dublin Dáil constituencies.


Labour and the parties that lean towards Labour have polled will in each of the European elections since 1979. deRossa is the sole candidate this time. His running mate, Ivana Bacik, polled 40,707 votes in 2004 eclipsing the incumbent Green MEP, Patricia McKenna. While deRossa is not a familiar figure in many parts of the Dublin constituency, especially in the south-side, the surge in Labour popularity could see him comfortably make quota and become the catalyst in deciding the 3rd seat.


The Greens are enjoying favourable polls, having won 4% in 2004 and picking up support in 2009 may lay the ground for them to win over 50,000 votes if there candidate, Déirdre de Búrca makes sufficient impact.

Sinn Féin

The 11% of the poll won in 2004 is morphing into 8% national support in the Red C poll. McDonald won 60,395 votes in 2004 which was quite a feat at that time. But the weak performance in the 2007 General Election imply a trend of waning support and current poll trends would imply that next month’s election will yield 40,000+ votes – perhaps in the mid 40’s. If the mood of the electorate becomes more favourably disposed towards The Lisbon Treaty, as Redc poll suggest, this would put McDonald on the losing side and the incumbent MEP to disappear.


If they win 2% of the vote in Dublin as the national opinion poll implies that would be equivalent to about 8,500 votes. Their candidate has no profile whatsoever and over the past 20 years the Dublin electorate has been slow to embrace strangers!


Joe Higgins polled over 23,000 votes in 2004. He and his running mates polled 11,500 votes in the 2007 General Election. He lost his Dail seat in 2007. As a TD and leader of a parliamentary party he recevied an annual allowance of €64,210 in 2006 but this was reduced to €22,408 in 2007. It is expensive to fund an election campaign and the absence of this allowance will not make it easier.


The former MEP, Patricia McKenna, has announced her intention to run as an independent candidate. Formerly a member of the Green Party, she lent her shrill and strident voice to the No campaign when The Lisbon Treaty was held last year. She was beaten in the 2004 Euro election by Mary Lou McDonald despite securing 40,000 votes after two terms in Europe and would seem intent on at least being a spoiler of McDonald's chances this time. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"! Her emergence may cajole to current Green Party candidate, deBurca, to come out of hiding and make an impression on the voters before it is too late.

Non-aligned candidates polled 6,200 votes in the 2004 election. There are no such candidates in this election. The field of 8 candidates is the smallest since direct Euro elections were inaugurated in 1979. The Progressive Democrats no longer exist. They did not field a candidate in 2004 so their legacy support base will find expression and is likely to scatter across the established parties with Fine Gael and Greens probably being the main beneficiaries.

1 comment:

  1. It conflicts with the TNS-MRBI poll yesterday that had the candidates on the ballot and sample-sizes of 500 per constituency (compared to approx 200 for Red C). The former had MLM on 14% in Dublin. Party-allegiances are inadequate for polling electoral outcomes in the euro-constituencies, as it filters out personal-votes.