Election results, available now!

There will be elections this year in both Scotland and Ireland. Both will affect me, in different ways. Right now I won’t make any predictions about how it will all go in Scotland, though as the election approaches I shall suggest some issues on which I would expect the parties to provide answers, mainly of relevance to higher education. But I’ll return to that on another occasion.

Today I am going to predict the outcome of the Irish election. I have looked at the poll evidence, and I have looked at each constituency and the strength, as I see it, of the actual or likely candidates. I am also making an assumption (which I won’t for now explain) as to how the current internal convulsions in Fianna Fail will go. Based on all that, here is what I believe will be the compoition of the next Dail:

Fianna Fail 39, Fine Gael 60, Labour 43, Greens 0, Sinn Fein 16, Independents 8.

This would give Fianna Fail a better outcome than most others predict right now, but I think some predictions under-estimate the electoral skills and attractions of some FF deputies who will score above their party’s national rating. If I am right, the following five groupings would have an overall majority: FG/Lab; FG/FF; Lab/FF/Ind; Lab/FF/SF; FG/SF/Ind. Some of those are more likely than others.

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13 Comments on “Election results, available now!”

  1. Vincent Says:

    Yes, but I think you may well be under calling the FF numbers. I believe that there are a far larger group of unaligned voters than are indicated in the polls. Call them the negative voter. The fellow that will never vote FG because his next door neighbor is a FG party activist. That kind of thing.
    This fellow might vote Labour, but his natural home is FF and when he looks about and using a process of elimination will end back with FF as with every other election in the past.
    I suspect that the Republican vote will push SF to close to 20 or even beyond and FF will hover about 55. While Labour, I believe, will be higher relative to FG. Nor will the Greens vanish entirely, this current lot will of course go. But the left wing will pullout the lefty brigade in the wealthier areas giving them about 3 seats.
    What people are forgetting is that the FF vote doesn’t have a second home. It really is FF or SF.
    And for what it’s worth the crass comment by Gilmore about SF and his inability to enter Government with them, has missed the voter temperature in a horrendous way. The reality is they have been in a coalition Government, and a very successful one at that. And the only reason for his comment could be the FG transfers.

    • I don’t think the reasons that Eamon Gilmore gave for ruling out coalition with SF were sufficiently explicit nor do I think SF were ruled out to please FG voters.

      Within the Labour Party I’ve been arguing with members who are so scared of coalition with FG that they will ignore common sense in their desire for an alternative. That is to say, there are fantasists within Labour who will not even try to think about the best way to screw leftist change out of liberal “partners” in coalition, but who will persist in seeing coalition with SF as a refuge.

      If you ignore the violence, SF is quite like FF: populist and offering constituency “service”. Without the violence, they would be as desirable a coalition partner as any other unreliable populist. However, the violence cannot be ignored for two reasons.

      Firstly, Everyone in every walk of life uses a person’s past behaviour when deciding on how to deal with them in future. No one except SF and FF seriously suggests that “we are where we are” and the past is irrelevant. If you drag this nonsense to its conclusion, we’d have a judge asking a defendnt, “Do you plead guilty, not guilty or we are where we are?”

      Let’s be quite clear about this. There are worse people in the world than liberals. Labour needs to draw a line somewhere as to what kind of behaviour puts someone beyond the pale of acceptable human behaviour. It may be necessary in some extreme circumstances – like achieving an end to violence – to deal with corrupt people or violent people or complete psychopaths but political expediency in a stable democracy is not a sufficient justification.

      Secondly, coalition with SF no matter how many seats they might have is not a viable proposition because their past continues to stalk them. The Good Friday Agreement did not wash these people clean. There are downsides, I guess, to every deal. A downside of GFA was that violent convicts were allowed out on licence. It doesn’t require that democrats or people with any level of decency are required to have any dealings with them or their supporters. From a practical point of view, a coalition with them would mean having to defend coalition partners about whom there would be a continuous seepage of damning information. A coalition with SF – if it did not break up at the first new revelation of past horrors – would require the larger coalition partner to argue that the horror was not so bad or that “we are where we are” and must not consider the past. As I said, it’s just not viable.

      • Vincent Says:

        Do you think that the FF voter will sit at home and allow the current Labour of FG vote a free run at this. Yes, there will be a drop in the FF vote overall but nothing like what you hope.
        My question above and now here is where will the disaffected FF voter go. They that put FF as the largest party by far for seventy years will not vanish.
        FG are dreaming with a pipe if they think it’s to them. Labour will pick up some, but the majority will go to SF. However most will continue to vote FF for they have no place else to go.
        And if you think that Liberal will be a term used with this FG party your analysis of which wing is in the ascendant is in error. FG is now being run by the Hang em and Flog em brigade. The wing that caused the existence of FF in the first place.

        • I think that, overall, I agree with your assessment, Vincent. What people might now be telling polling companies is about their state of mind and their feelings of anger/despair etc. What they do in the polling booths may not be quite the same. Furthermore, I can imagine regular FF voters telling pollsters they might go for FG or Lab or SF, but on the day many of them won’t do that, not least because what they told the pollsters was about Brian Cowen, while what they do at the ballot box will be about their TD.

          Over the past 10 years or so, FF picked up some liberal middle class voters, and some of these might go to FG. Some others will go to Labour or SF (though actually, I don’t think too many the latter route). Some will stay with FF regardless.

          As for FG, here is a party that has no idea what kind of party it is or what general policy perspective it holds. No idea at all. If it is really to be a longer term party of government, it will have to provide us with a better picture of what it is.

          • Colum McCaffery Says:

            Vincent and Ferdinand,
            Yes, but apart from what you might do at the bookies, what is your preferred outcome?

  2. Al Says:

    Good call, it will be interesting to see the movement from floating/FF votes.
    I am awaiting the disappointment of having the candidates calling to introduce themselves, establish their credentials through the massaging of fears or self interest that promote a factionalism that should have a decreasing influence in a national legislative.

  3. The following are based on two different approaches to analysis of the same data.

    Fianna Fail 15, Fine Gael 72, Labour 41, Sinn Fein 17, Green Party 2, Others 19

    Fianna Fail 20, Fine Gael 73, Labour 36, Sinn Fein 17, Green Party 1, Others 19


    With Lab/FG on all estimates achieving >100 seats, I seem to be alone in worrying about democracy in the face of a govt. with an overweening majority:

    • Jilly Says:

      To be fair though Colum, democracy hasn’t been doing too well lately under a government with a wafer-thin majority…

    • Al Says:

      We do live in a Republic.
      The will manifest through the democratic franchise has had a part to play in being where we are.

      • Colum McCaffery Says:

        Of course but I still prefer my govts. to be relatively weak.

        • Al Says:

          The people of South Kerry prefer that too.
          Interesting times ahead!
          History repeating or a new begining?

          • Colum McCaffery Says:

            I hope that we never have to look back to a less authoritarian time when a road, school or other “stroke” for South Kerry seemed a very small price to pay.

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