Last time that Fianna Fail was at 26 per cent
Ok, let’s throw in the large cartload of salt about opinion polls and accuracy. We’ll proceed on the basis that the latest gives a true and accurate picture of the voting intentions of the public as of now.
And also note that even during Haughey’s worst periods when the party seemed to be tearing itself apart Fianna Fail never dropped so low in public opinion.
Here are some juicy comparison. Thanks to Tom Felle, former political journalist now an academic for passing them on via Carl O’Brien.
“Fianna Fail last attained 26.1 per cent of the vote in the June 1927 election. Fine Gael (then of course Cumann na nGael) did only marginally better, with 27.5 per cent, yet took power.
That was the last time the Soldiers of Destiny saw a poll result in the 20s.
(In 1923 Dev got a similar percentage, but then of course it was Sinn Fein as Fianna Fail didn’t exist.)
To put the growth of FF in context, by 1932 their vote had increased to 44pc, and remained in the 40s at every subsequent election for 60 years. Dev’s highest ever vote was 48pc in 1957, but Jack was the only ever FF leader to actually get a majority percentage vote, with 50.6pc in the famous 1977 landslide. CJ came close in Feb 82 with 47.3pc.
Albert dropped to 39.1pc in 1992 and Bert came in at a pretty similar number in 1997, though he increased seats by 10. Bert brought it back up to 41pc in 2002 and it held steady in 2007.
So you see what all the fuss is about when a poll suggests they are down to 26pc – even if it is just one poll it’s still pretty explosive.”
That figure is indeed extraordinary. We talk about Fianna Fail’s core vote in the same way that Karl Rove talked about energisign the ‘base’ in America. That core – which votes FF no matter what – is always said to be a little over 30 percent.
It’s clear that the evidence from this poll suggests that, for once, pensioners (in their droves) were moved to switch allegiance away from FF over the medical cards issues.
It will be interesting to see if this is a once-off or if the controversy and rumpus will have a long-term effect.