From top: A detail from post election Red C poll; From left: Fine Gael’s Leo Varadakar, Paschal Donohoe and Simon Coveney at Trinity College Dublin for talks with Fianna Fáil yesterday
What do recent polls – B&A, for the Sunday Times last weekend and Red C, for the Sunday Business Post after the election- tell us about the formation of a new government and/or the chances of new General Election?
Shane Heneghan writes:
The grand coalition I predicted would form from the result we got has so far become little more than a not-so grand game of constitutional chicken; but what effect do opinion polls have on the ongoing developments?
Logically, a rise in a level of support for a particular party at this stage would potentially increase the will within that party to seek a second election- but given the increasing weariness of politics from the population in general and the cost of two national campaigns within six months- this is only half true at best.
However, there will be some swollen chests within Fianna Fail after the weekend’s poll from Behaviour and Attitudes had them leading Fine Gael for the first time in eight years. The ghost of PJ Mara is surely goading them to push for “showtime” once again.
Of course, if it has any effect it probably won’t lead to a second election in and off itself but it is likely to make a Fine Gael minority less likely.
By contrast however, a RedC post election poll seems to show voters’ sympathies with Fine Gael and their predicament with them gaining a few points on their election débâcle.
Old notions around post election momentum seem to hold solid for the smaller parties with the Greens firm at 3% and the SocDems on 5% according to RedC.
But momentum goes both ways and both the Labour and Renua seem to have slumped even further compounding thoughts of speedy recoveries. Maybe dead cats don’t bounce.
So what next. The two scenarios going forward (I know, shoot me) are as follows:
1. Fine Gael cobbles together a minority administration with independents and others dependant on Fianna Fail to get anything done. This is the most likely eventuality and I would be shocked if it didn’t happen. Almost as shocked as I’d be if said government lasted more than 12 months.
2. A grand coalition of Fine Gael and Fianna fail is still possible. This is by far the most popcorn worthy option but we all now it can never happen because they both disagree on… on… on…. wait don’t tell me… it’ll come to me.
There are folks that say a Fianna Fail minority is possible. They spent most of the mid naughties in a certain tent in Ballybrit.
In closing let me just remind you that a second election before the end of the year is currently 7/2 on Paddy Power. Not that you should take tips from me.
Shane Heneghan is a Brussels-based psephologist.