The TNS/MRBI poll published in The Irish Times on 15th and 16th May indicates that Fianna Fáil, with an 16% share of the poll (Eoin Ryan 11%, Eibhlin Byrne 5%) in Dublin, is faced with a real struggle to maintain its European Parliament seat in Dublin on June 5th . The party achieved a 23% share of the valid poll in the 2004 Euro election in Dublin. An 11% share of an opinion poll now is 14 percentage points short of quota. Where will transfers come from to fill this deficit?
The satisfaction rating of the Government at 10% is at an all-time historic low, and compares to 14% last February, 18% last November and 46% last June. How will the incandesence of voters find expression on June 5th among those now without a job, or the prospect of a job, or among those who have just seen at the end of May a further chink of their income confiscated in taxation? This government has allowed the Irish economy to behave since 2003 like a high-speed vehicle that had no brakes, no anti-roll bar, an engine with no coolant and no spare wheel. This posture was to suckle the vanity and delusion of a cluster of red-neck property developers, dinasour bankers and other sundry carpetbaggers. This government presided over an economy where citizens were paying up to 15 times their annual income for a very basic home, often in a very remote location. That is the direct consequence of politicians corrupting the planning process - when ten's of thousands of pounds and euro are transmitted in brief cases and brown envelopes. The chickens are coming home to roost. The voters will deliver their brown envelope at the end of a red-hot poker on June 5th and in subsequent elections. The cronies, the brothers', the sons' and daughters', the spouses' and the lovers' have will learn if inbreeding, nepotism and stroke politics is still attracting voter support.
The average satisfaction rating for the government previously in each of the past six years highlights the depth of the collapse in public support of the Government.
Average Annual Satisfaction with Government
Fine Gael, who have a achieved a 6% gain in its share in indicative first preference support nationally in hypothetical general election have also improved their position in Dublin, no doubt partially attributable to the attraction of George Lee as their candidate in the Dublin South by-election. Gay Mitchell is achieving 26% support in a hypothetical Euro poll - 4% more than accomplished in the 2004 Euro election. Mitchell is considered to have been the most capable of the Irish MEP's
The Labour Party dropped 4 percentage points nationally and it Dublin stand at 21%, which is a 2% gain on 2004.
While Fianna Fáil is more convulsed by nepotism and inbreeding and the consequences from this, the Labour Party have a real challenge with respect to the age profile of their Dáil team. The average age of their current 20 members, today, May 15th 2009, is 57 years+ and this average will be well north of 60 years by the next scheduled date for a general election – May 2012. A colleague commented to me earlier that “all of their people are the same age as my father, or older” and younger voters will not identify with ‘daddy-clones’! Twelve of the curerent 20 deputies will be over 60 years old and the youngest will be 40. Many of the current cohort enjoy considerable personal support but this would not automatically transfer to a successor candidate as has been shown in places such as Cork South-West and Tipperary. de Rossa is 69 years old so he will be like an ancient cardinal if he were to remain an MEP until 2014.
Given the collapse of public confidence in this government, it is likely that that turnout in the European and local elections will be high as voters register their preferences directly. This will mean a quota in the region of 105,000 votes in the Dublin Euro constituency - 21,000 more than the 2004 quota.
Fine Gael support is particularly strong among those aged 50 and over but, reassuringly for FG, it has even support across the demographic spectrum. Fianna Fáil support is especially weak among the 35-49 age cohort – people with young families, but it is also weak among the 18-35 year olds. Fine Gael is strong among the AB social cohort while Fianna Fáil does worst among the ABC1 cohort.
The Green Party is attracting 6% support in Dublin and its support base is strongest among the 18-24 year olds and the ABC1 social cohort but is weakening since the 2007 general election. Their candidate, de Burca, has neither said anything, or done anything, to make a strong enough impact so far to put her into contention. It would be helpful if voters were to know what the party's stance with respect to the next referendum on The Lisbon Treaty before they cast their vote on June 5th. After all, this is an election to populate the European Parliament and the outcome of this referendum will define Ireland's relationship to the EU.
Sinn Fein is attracting 14% support. Its support is lowest among the AB social cohort but rises to 13% nationally among the C1working class category. This level of support is comparable to the share of the 2004 valid poll but is 11% short of quota. McDonald and deRossa were elected on the 6th count.
The Independent candidate, Patricia McKenna, achieved 8% in the TNS/MRBI poll while Joe Higgins, the Socialist achieved 7%. Higgins secured 23,000 votes in the 2004 election but he and his counterparts only obtained 11,500 votes in Dublin in the 2007 general election.The Libertas candidate, at 1%, does not feature on the voters' radar. This is not surprising as she has said nothing to indicate what her potential competencies as an MEP would be. Her literature makes out of context comments about what she would like the electorate to believe are the vanalities of her rivals but cloaks her own identity in an absolutely opaque shroud. A wise electorate do not throw their support behind ghost candidates or vacuous slogans.
17 May 2002
General Election Result
24 May 2007
This ought to be a fascinating set of elections because the voters will be mobilised and they are greatly distressed by turmoil so much of which is a local political creation. Yesterday, for example, the Fianna Fáil candidate in the Dublin South by-election spoke on radio about the National Management Assets Agency, Ireland’s ‘bad bank’ being “up and running”. This is the entity that is supposed to stabilise the nation’s zombie banks. Hours later, Michael Somers, the Chief Executive of the National Treasury Management Agency, spoke at the Public Accounts Committee and spoke of his concern about staffing and operational issues relating to NAMA. That is the type of stunted political thinking that inbreeding brings about – an absolute inability not just to see the wood from the trees, but to distinguish between a copse and a field of buttercups!