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Friday, November 14, 2008

FF's poll implosion

I've been banging on for quite a while now that FF have been suffering the same decline in core support as FG as the generations shifted but that in their case it was covered up by the fact that they were considerably more adept at hoovering the significantly larger floating vote. In the aftermath of the 2009 budget that is what has changed and is now being reflected in the polls.

The ice shelf of floating voters has calved from the frozen continent of FF and is now in open water. Currently it is located solidly in the territorial waters of FG and the Independents. Whether it stays there is an open question but it is very definitely drifting away from FF who seem not to understand that it is even loose.

Just a quick bit of context but both George Bush and Nixon had at their lowest ebbs higher satisfaction ratings that this government currently has. And at 18% satisfaction barely half of the government parties own supporters are satisfied with their performance to date. That is pretty damning stuff.

8 comments:

Darren J Prior said...

The FG Ard-Oifig is going to have to adopt the system FF have of telling local cumainn to have a certain number of candidates at election time. See Louth in the last GE and Mulhuddart next year.

Dan Sullivan said...

Darren, it is already the national exec which decides how many candidates are run in the locals and the general election. They are the head of the party. The permanent staff in HQ work for them.

Darren J Prior said...

Well I don't know why they agreed for three candidates in Louth last year and two candidates in Mulhuddart next year. I'm sure there are other examples (Kildare South being on of them perhaps???- I'm not 100% sure).

Dan Sullivan said...

In Louth the party ran 3 because without those candidates the overall support would not have been as high. It went from 20% to 30%, which ever one you remove from the line up of 3 that ran the support level would have been closer to 25%. That would have been insufficient to get 2 seats in a four seater. With the large concentration of population around two urban centres of Drogheda and Dundalk there had to be a candidate from both.

Darren J Prior said...

Fair enough!!! The strategy of running two candidates in Mulhuddart is very risky though. You had two the last time and didn't get one elected. OK there are now going to be five seats but I'd say on balance that there is more of a chance of FG getting no seat in the ward again then there is of the party getting one or two. Then again you have to take risks though and given that rascism is an issue in Ireland it is healthy to have a candidate from an immigrant background (Nigerian in this ward).

killian forde said...

I'm reflecting on your point about FF core vote and its erosion being hidden.. interesting theory....

Darren J Prior said...

I find it hard to believe that FG may overtake FF in Dublin and Leinster generally. I don't know enough of the rest of the country well enough politically as in on the ground so I won't bother commenting about there.

FF are a much larger party than FG. There are not many vocal core supporters of any parties nowadays. They are very quiet although you do get the exceptions. Brian Cowen is not photogenic enough to weather the storm of the recession and the way they are targeting the cuts.

Culturally there is a huge difference between FG and FF in Dublin. FG in Dublin are from my experience mostly a party of the professional class. They don't from my experience go to pubs much. Given the place pub culture has in our country and given that the vast majority of FF's members go to pubs FF will always attract more average Joes to the party. That is where some of them largely spin the line that FG are pro-Unionist. As your party members believe also Killian although I'm sure if you thought Dan was not a nationalist you would not comment on this blog. Hyprocisy???
The problem for FG with the pro-Unionist argument is that some FF'ers spin the lie and many SF'ers believe (although the latter don't spin it much because the parties are not competing for largely the same votes) and a significant number of regular non political and generally neutral people believe it. There are a couple of exceptions e.g. Dan, but a hell of a lot of the online YFG brigade let the party down and debate on good websites and blogs does have a complimentary effect/affect.

Dan Sullivan said...

Killian, it's a theory I've had for a while, since '04 that more people who had voted for FF were potentially in play than had been previously thought. That they hadn't really been seen to move undermined that idea.

I think that the older core voter who would vote for FF/FG come hell or high water has slowly been dying off and most of those of a younger generation have gone for FF or FF candidates because they were better at the campaigning end of things while being assisted by the backdrop that they were seen to be able to deliver on the economy. FG saw their erosion exposed in '02 but for FF it was masked and continued to be masked until '04 when their vote collapsed in the local. FG had to campaign hard and I mean hard to win over the floaters for '04. FF won over a large portion again of the floaters again in '07 with a last minute reminder that one should always keep a hold of nurse for fear of meeting something worse. It now appears the public see nurse for someone who has dragged us out on the park once too often in the rain to met her fancy man developer friend and we've caught our death of economic cold as a consequence.

Darren, I'm not sure I entirely follow where you coming from on the FG people don't go to the pub or not being regular joes. The people I found it most surprisingly unresponsive to anything from FG in '04 were men between 40 and 55 who were doing quite well for themselves, not quite Mondeo man but close. They were people we lost in the mid 80s over the failure to do as much as they believe we should have done on the economy. They have since voted, PD, FF, even Lab in 92, they're pure pragmatists and in '04 they didn't see us before the election as being capable of doing owt. Afterwards that become a maybe, and in '07 a portion of them supported us. After '07 they gave FF the benefit of the doubt over the economy while toying with supporting us and since the budget they've given up on FF completely. It's up to us to convince them, they're close to being hooked but there's some distance to go before they're landed.

As for Killian I reckon he would comment here whatever my views on the national question because he's an engagenista much as myself. That means he holds that you should engage those with alternative ideas to yours or even directly opposed to you because that is how you test your ideas and ultimately win the debate of public support. If you stay within your comfort zone and talk only to only to your own like minded supporters than you can't win anyone over.