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Tomorrows Sunday Independent/Millward Brown poll will be disturbing reading for Labour supporters who would have expected the party to rebound from their miserable 8% showing. However they have remained at this level and the state of the parties shows Fine Gael on 29%, an increase of 3%, Fianna Fail down one to 28%, Sinn Fein unchanged at 18%, Labour stuck on 8%, others and independents down two to 16% and a record 37% of people undecided. The highest ever amount of undecided voters indicates that the electorate believes we do not have a political party or Government in place that is the preferred choice of the people.
There is a gap for a new party in Ireland and these figures indicate there is a significant amount of Labour supporters who believe that there is no political option out there for them. Sinn Fein has not made the impact that would have been expected and Labour voters appear not to be inclined to transfer their support to the left wing republican party. In order for Sinn Fein to become an acceptable choice for the electorate, they need to move away from their past, replace Gerry Adams as leader and promote their new TD’s such as Pearse Doherty, Peadar Toibin and Mary Lou McDonald.
Recently two political parties registered and entered the political arena, but it seems Direct Democracy Ireland and the National Independent Party have made very little impact. There is now an opening for a centre left and centre right party of substance, that have a national profile squad of heavy hitters and geographical reach. The most obvious figures that could spearhead such a movement are, Colm Keaveney, Roisin Shorthall, Tommy Broughan, Willie Penrose, Luke Flanagan and Clare Daly on the left and Declan Ganley, Lucinda Creighton, Stephen Donnelly, Marc Coleman, John McGuirk, Shane Ross on the right, throw in a few national figures like Eamon Dunphy, David McWilliams and Fintan O’Toole and things might get interesting. There is an obvious need and desire for something new and fresh and now is the time for a new coherent political party to emerge on a national scale.
Psephologist, Adrian Kavanagh of NUI Maynooth recently analysed the possible outcomes of the Local Election results next May, based on the last Sunday Independent poll and his findings made for worrying reading for some of the traditional parties, in particular The Labour Party. His constituency-level analysis of those poll figures estimated that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated at next year’s City and County Council elections, would be as follows: Fianna Fail 305, Fine Gael 275, Sinn Fein 169, Labour 45, Green Party 8, Independents and Others 147. As Fine Gael have leapfrogged Fianna Fail in the latest poll, the largest party in National Government would also be the largest party in the Local Government. A new party could seize a large proportion of the 140 odd independent and others seats that are up for grabs, they could also eat into the seats of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Labour and Sinn Fein, depending on the political ideology of a new party.