Election 2016: Irish Times poll shows people want change - but more of the same

Inside Politics: There are mixed messages even among Government party supporters

What the voters really want is for politicians to find all the square pegs they can get their hands on and jam them into round holes. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

What the voters really want is for politicians to find all the square pegs they can get their hands on and jam them into round holes. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

We want change but also want more of the same

Opinion polls are extraordinary. You quickly find out that what the voters really want is for politicians to find all the square pegs they can get their hands on and jam them into round holes.

The latest story on The Irish Times Ipsos MRBI opinion poll is our lead this morning.

It shows that a majority of people (and not a slim one - 62 per cent) want a change in government.

Even among Government party supporters there are mixed messages. As Stephen Collins writes: “There was a huge variation across the party spectrum, with 84 per cent of Fine Gael supporters wanting to see the Government re-elected but only 57 per cent of Labour voters wanting it to continue.”

But when people were asked which party they thought would actually be returned to government (notwithstanding their own views), most honed in on Fine Gael, with a clear majority saying it would be in government.

A Fine Gael and Labour combination remained the most popular combination.

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Only 12 per cent thought that the most obvious alternative (and the one with the lowest odds at bookmakers) would be achieved - a coalition of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.

There is an element of having your cake and eating it to this result. Consistently in polls, people say they want more services and more investment in services. At the same time, they also want lower taxes.

The poll does show there is sentiment for a change of government. But when asked their opinion on the actual outcome, most have said it’s going to the same old same old.

Dirty hurling down in Tipperary

All politics is local goes the old saying, and we had proof of the pudding yesterday with an extraordinary three-way spat between three of the biggest political egos in the book.

The Newstalk van was in Thurles and witnessed the kind of stuff you usually find in a Martin McDonagh film with moments of personal insult and almost surreal claims.

Alan Kelly, Michael Lowry and Mattie McGrath were all involved in a spat surrounding a live election debate on Newstalk’s morning current affairs programme hosted by Chris Donohoe.

Kelly was reportedly very unhappy at Lowry getting a ‘primetime’ slot on the programme.

Later Kelly and McGrath got involved in a hilarious spat over a claim by McGrath that ‘jelly belly’ Kelly hid in McGrath’s van to get away from irate protesters.

Niall O’Connor in the Indo quoted McGrath as saying: “If Alan ‘Jelly’ Kelly wants to ever come into my van, I’ll put the refrigerator on. I’ve never seen a jelly bean like Alan Kelly.”

There was a marvellous riposte from Mr Kelly’s spokesman that put an end to that: “That only happened in the ice-cream van that plays the music in his head.

“He is making things up.”

McGrath later accepted that Kelly had not hidden in his van.