Thursday 30 March 2017

Labour won't get vote transfers from the Left

Poll suggests Joan Burton can't rely on broader Left to push candidates over the line, writes analyst Dr Adrian Kavanagh

Joan Burton and Enda Kenny
Joan Burton and Enda Kenny

Dr Adrian Kavanagh

For the first time the Sunday Independent/ Millward Brown national opinion poll has attempted to measure the "toxicity" of the main political parties and other political groupings.

Respondents were asked: "Which parties or political groupings would you not consider voting for in any upcoming election?" A number of interesting trends emerge in terms of both potential vote transfer patterns and the changing nature of the Irish political system. These figures suggest Labour will not be able to rely on transfers from the broader Left to the same degree it enjoyed in past general elections. Drawing conclusions is subject to some caveats. The relatively small number of respondents in certain categories (e.g. people who said they would vote for the smaller parties) means the margin of error increases notably when studying trends within these subcategories.

The nature of the Irish electoral system has usually determined that the larger parties get a seat bonus in general elections. This does not always transpire, especially in elections where the big parties experience significant losses in support. Labour in 1997, Fine Gael in 2002 and Fianna Fail in 2011 are cases in point.

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