Polling numbers for FF are ominous
Sir, – Before Stephen Collins gets too pleased with the idea that the Irish people are “reassessing” their view of the established parties of the centre-right, I would advise him to look away from Fine Gael’s almost certainly unsustainably high polling numbers and examine the rest of the data to hand (Opinion & Analysis, July 10th).
While Fine Gael has indeed surged on the back of deciding to play along to sound medical advice, which is a pathetically low bar for competency during a pandemic, all things considered, the polling numbers for Fianna Fáil and for Independents have plummeted.
While Fine Gael has gained an average of 4.4 per cent in post-election polls compared to its average in all the pre-election polls from this time last year (starting with the Behaviour & Attitudes poll from July 16th), Fianna Fáil and the Independents have lost 10.1 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.
When you exclude the post-election polls prior to Fine Gael’s surge, those numbers are even more stark.
While Fine Gael averages a gain of 9.8 per cent compared to its average pre-election polls, Fianna Fáil and the Independents have lost an average of 11.3 per cent and 7.1 per cent in support in the same period.
If you compare the numbers of the main parties of the centre-left and left – Sinn Féin, Greens, Labour, Social Democrats, and Solidarity/People Before Profit – to Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Independents, the left has an average gain of 8.5 per cent from their pre-election polling, compared to a loss of 8.5 per cent for the latter overall.
Even if you decided to move the Greens or even Labour over to the FF/FG (or “centrist”) column and compare the polling, the trend falls even more on the left’s favour, as pretty much all political groupings, bar Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and the Social Democrats, have either stagnated or fallen in popularity over the period.
I think your columnist is quite naive to expect that those of us who looked at Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael-led governments and saw their inability to support housing and services, both during the recession and during the last boom, have any great expectation that these parties will capable of using this crisis to do anything more than bring us back to the unsustainable and unjust status quo that existed prior to the pandemic.
If this Government does indeed fix the economy and the supposedly “intractable” problems in health and housing by 2024 or 2025, then Stephen Collins might be on to something.
Forgive me if I have doubts on that, though. – Yours, etc,