Tuesday 16 January 2018

Ivan Yates: Voters crying out for a new party – but who has the guts to go for it?

Lucinda Creighton and Michael McDowell have both been linked to the formation of a new political force.
Lucinda Creighton and Michael McDowell have both been linked to the formation of a new political force.

It went almost unnoticed. Normally, opinion polls are commissioned by the print media, who hype the results over two days. But Paddy Power's Red C poll last week was released on a busy news day and disregarded. Power needs to price up the odds for the outcome of a same-sex marriage referendum. They are quoting long odds-on 1-4 for a Yes outcome – not only because of a three to one poll, but because the "don't knows" are less than 10pc. Past referendum odds were miscalculated because high levels of "don't knows" transpired to be closet No voters.

The most intriguing aspect of the poll was the standing of the parties. I don't recall a previous instance where the category of Independents/Others topped the poll. With a boost of plus 4pc, at 26pc they superseded all the other parties, with a direct switch from Fine Gael (–4pc) at 25pc.

Such a showing indicates a compelling case of public demand for a new political party. Apathy and anger amongst the electorate is being replaced by an appetite for a different type of change. The opportunity for the creation of a new political brand has never been greater. Disaffection and disillusionment with the four main existing parties of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and Labour has driven demand for a fresh start.

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