Labour static at 8% in latest political poll, is the party doomed to failure in upcoming elections?
Latest poll findings from http://www.independent.ie, show Fine Gael overtaking Fianna Fail, Labours continued poor showing and a record 37% of people undecided on who they will for.
DANIEL MCCONNELL,SUNDAY INDEPENDENT POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT – 17 AUGUST 2013
FINE Gael has overtaken Fianna Fail as the most popular party in the country, according to the latest Sunday Independent Millward Brown national opinion poll.
The larger Coalition party has seen its poll ratings jump six points from 23 since May, and is up three points to 29 since our last poll in June.
This is despite the gruelling end to the political term, which saw Taoiseach Enda Kenny lose seven of his parliamentary party over the passing of the controversial Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, including junior minister Lucinda Creighton.
However, the implosion of the Labour support has solidified with the party now polling at just eight per cent, which would see as many as 25 of their current TDs wiped out if an election was to take place now.
Amid speculation of unhappiness within Fianna Fail over Micheal Martin’s leadership, the party has seen its support slip back by one point to 28 per cent, but this is still 11 points higher than where they were at the General Election in February 2011.
Despite the deep anger at the Government, support for Sinn Fein has plateaued at 19 per cent.
On such a rating, Sinn Fein would expect to return with as many as 25 seats in the next Dail.
Independents have seen their support slip by three points to 16 per cent.
The face-to-face poll of 985 adults was conducted at 66 sampling points across Ireland between August 3 and August 12.For in depth analysis see tomorrow’s Sunday Independent.
Archive Analysis of Labours Predicaments by John O’Donovan of irishonlineradio.wordpress.com.
Two and a half years on from the General Election, little has changed or improved in the Irish economy or political landscape. Initially voters placed their faith in a new coalition of change and hope, but alas the electorate have found themselves disillusioned by the policies, poise, arrogance, aloofness and egotism of the Fine Gael/Labour coalition Government. Currently the country has returned into recession and the dependence on an export led recovery has failed to materialise, consumer confidence is still very low, stealth charges and taxes are crippling households and personal debt and the mortgage crisis is seriously impeding any possible recovery.
Although Fine Gael have not been hit as hard they have seen a drop in support in the region of an average of 12%, whilst Labours support has been wiped out to such an extent that if they do not address the decline they are facing a cataclysmic meltdown that would see them retain only five to ten TD’s at the next General Election. It is argued that polls are only a snapshot in time and a General Election is over two years away, however Labours implosion is so significant that it hard to see how they will reclaim their working and coping classes support.
In Dublin South Central where I live, there are three sitting TD’s, from the poll figures and from the clear anger amongst the local electorate it is hard to see any of them being returned come the next election, but what is of immediate concern to the Government parties is how they will perform in next years local and European elections. A wipe-out in Local Government chambers of Labour councillors is on the cards on a scale faced previously by the PD’s and The Green Party. Eamon Gilmore has faced a major backlash over the policies being adopted and implemented by his party and it is now incumbent on him to redress the desperately dwindling support his party has faced since the highs of 2011’s presidential campaign victory.
A few weeks ago Labour lost their MEP Nessa Childers and Meath councillor Jenny McHugh. Although Childers has been somewhat detached from the party for some time, McHugh has left to join Fianna Fail. Cllr. McHugh, who is a Navan-based school principal, cited the Governments educational policy as the reason for her defection and she said she was joining Fianna Fail to play an active role in addressing the hardships imposed on the educational sector and “tackling the unfairness at the heart of this Government’s agenda”. It appears many Labour politicians have been planning exit strategies in order to distance themselves from the party ahead of European, Local and General Elections.
Several TD’s have also lost the Labour party whip in the past two or so years, with Roisin Shorthall, Tommy Broughan, Patrick Nulty, Willie Penrose, Colm Keaveney and Senator James Heffernan all voting against the Government on a variety of issues. Of these members Childers, Nulty and Keaveney also resigned from the party, with Childers stating in April last that she “no longer wants to support a Government that is actually hurting people”.
So what will become of the Labour Party and can the party address the dramatic decline in support that saw them secure thirty seven seats (now 33) in the last General Election, at present their support is somewhere between nine and twelve percent according to the polls. After the by election disaster that saw them finish fifth in Meath East behind Ben Gilroy, the Direct Democracy candidate, with the Labour candidate Eoin Holmes securing a miserly 4.6% of first preference votes, the party needs serious regrouping and desperately needs to secure major concessions in Octobers budget. If there is another austerity budget the backlash will be realised in massive losses in January in the Local and European elections, particularly in working class constituencies where Labour thrived in the General Election.
Labour has said it intends to run candidates in all of the European election constituencies, in 2009 the party had a 3.4% swing, which saw it return three MEP’s, this time around if the recent opinion poll results bear fruitition it is unlikely the party will retain any European seats. In the local elections of the same year Labour returned with 132 councillors and was dominant in most of the Dublin councils, this time around it is very likely that number will be decimated. It is to be seen who will pick up the shortfall with Sinn Fein not making the expected gains at Labours expense, it may well be that Independents. Fianna Fail and new emerging parties such as Direct Democracy will fill the void.
The Labour Party has lost sight of the parties ideals and principles in order to govern and hold power, they argue that the policies they are implementing will rebuild the country but all their grassroots supporters can see is a party that has by and large ignored its election pledges that returned them to power and forced greater austerity and hardship on the Irish people. If they don’t address this perception and reality of the impact of their policies on the struggling classes the party will find itself poisoned by the same cursed chalice of the minority Government partner that destroyed the Progressive Democrats and The Green Party.
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