Published 31st January 2021
So two days after site launch, and we have our first national poll, from Red C. The headline figures aren’t particularly interesting on first glance, although positive for Independents and the Social Democrats, who have now hit 5% in three of the last four national polls. A fuss has been made about an apparent 4% jump for FF, but this is in line with their national rolling average (15.7% before this poll came out), and rather reflects a poor showing in the previous Red C poll.
I will do an analysis piece of the poll here, and will do an update on the model for February as a whole towards the end of that month.
The breakdowns are more interesting. As usual, caveats apply when it comes to single polls, provincial sample sizes, but there are a couple of interesting things I’ll discuss below, mostly relating to Sinn Féin.
Firstly, this is a concerning poll for Sinn Féin. Overall the figures aren’t too bad, but the Dublin result will not be one they want to see. This is the lowest SF have polled in the capital since the election. Overall polling has indicated that the party’s vote there was close to being maxed out in Dublin during GE 2020, and has been trending marginally down since. The additional seats that the model shows SF winning in Dublin are obtained by running more candidates and denying transfer surpluses to other left-wing candidates, not by increasing their FPV.
If this trend continues, some of the more marginal SF pick ups (such as a 3rd seat in DSC) will likely no longer be favoured by the model, but a more significant downward trend will be needed to erode the odds of second seats across much of the rest of the city.
It’s not all bad however for Sinn Féin; their impressive figures in Munster are continuing to hold up, and they stand to gain a substantial number of seats from this. Considering their GE performance in Munster was around 19%, they are continuing to put a major squeeze not just on the left and independents, but also on Fianna Fáil. While this poll makes 3 for SF in DSC as mentioned above look less likely, it makes 3 seats for them in Waterford more likely, but of course, we have a very long way to go.
Some quick notes on the rest of the parties and what this poll shows for them:
- This poll is in line with recent ones for FG, but they have consistently dropped from low 30s to high 20s nationally since November, though they continue to dominate Dublin.
- Fianna Fáil’s polling numbers are bouncing between 10% and 20%, averaging close to the middle. This poll continues that trend.
- Good poll for Independents, especially in Munster where Danny Healy-Rae and Mattie McGrath are looking vulnerable.
- Social Democrats still haven’t hit the 6% meme, but 10% of under 35s is a staggering figure. If that turns out to be a trend and not a single-poll blip, this could be the start of something very interesting.
- Bit of a nothing poll for everyone else, no major movement for the other small parties, though the Greens continue to plummet among the under 35s.