Campaign Trail

 

CIAN TRAYNOR's sideways look at election 2011

FG's digital Valentine's card fails to win many admirers

FINE GAEL’S attempt at a novel Valentine’s Day social media campaign garnered plenty of attention yesterday, but for all the wrong reasons.

On the party’s official website, a digital Valentine’s card featured two animated characters presenting visitors with a choice of cringe-inducing soundbites to send to a romantic interest. The messages ranged from the staid (“If you really love me, you’ll vote Fine Gael“), the passionless (“All you need is Gov. Vote Fine Gael”), the bizarre (“It’s the economy, cupid!”) to the downright obscure (“Love is a very splendid thing!”).

However, some saw the gimmick as a lapse in data protection on Fine Gael’s website as no e-mail verification was required to avail of the service. This enabled visitors to the site to send messages under an assumed identity while subscribing the sender’s address to the Fine Gael mailing list in the process. On Twitter, however, many encouraged others to take the opportunity to share Valentine’s greetings from one politician to another, with Enda Kenny’s own e-mail address proving to be the most popular suggestion.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: ALEX WHITE

“It grows like wildfire and can be very recalcitrant. Keeping it in check is sometimes a full-time job

Labour Seanad leader and Dublin South election candidate Alex White on how his hair has been a frequent talking point in previous electoral campaigns

NICKNAMEOF THE DAY: MINGSTERS

The term by which Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, an Independent candidate in the Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency, refers to his canvassers

Positive evidence uncovered of negative campaigning

ON ELECTION2011.IE, political blogger Andrea Pappin has noticed a trend of “attack strategies” between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour. After analysing press releases from each party, she categorised each memo according to three criteria: criticising rival parties, focusing on election policy and dealing with non-election political matters.

Taking all press releases issued between each party’s opening election speech and February 6th, Pappin found a correlation between the number of statements issued and swings taken at political opponents. Fianna Fáil came out on top with 21 (68 per cent of their press releases), while Fine Gael were found to have made 12 (50 per cent) and Labour just six (33 per cent).

It should be noted, however, that Labour also issued fewer press releases (18 to Fianna Fáil’s 31 and Fine Gael’s 24) and those with an eye for declarations of interest may note that Pappin herself once worked for Labour.

ELECTION ONLINE: THE BEST BITS FROM YOUTUBE

A clip of Micheál Martin impersonating a Chinese accent at yesterday’s Dublin Web Summit has been seized upon as a gaffe, drawing comparisons to moments from sitcoms The Office and Father Ted. tinyurl.com/4m7lhyg

Meanwhile, Asian support of a different kind has been referenced by Independent candidate for the Dublin South East

constituency Mannix Flynn as he attempts to convey widespread support with a clip of endorsements from Taipei, Taiwan. tinyurl.com/4chw9rj

Almost quote of the day . . .

“We are feasting over the carcass of Fianna Fáil.”

Dublin South West Fine Gael TD Brian Hayes on why Fine Gael and Labour are at each other’s throats

ONLINE

irishtimes.com/election2011

PODCAST

The latest political analysis from the Irish Times election team

LIVE BLOG

Follow the day’s developments as they happen

NEWS AND OPINION

Breaking news, analysis and constituency profiles