Firstly, that is for you Labour supporters: your lying, Democratic Leftover leader lied and campaigned in an extremely populist style in the last election and you have broken every single promise in your irresponsible "Every Little Hurts" ad. Your elderly leaders desperately wanted one last hurrah in Government (and gold plated pensions, European sinecures) and don't care a tinker's curse about you and your party. By contrast, F.G. made few promises and its supporters aren't as disappointed: its vote has held up.
I don't quite believe that Labour will be annihilated Green Party or Progressive Democrat style, but your T.D. numbers will be halved at least. F.F. and S.F. will be the big winners, rather than independents. Serves you right!
Fine Gael has seen a slide in its support: polls consistently place its support <30%. In fact a few reckon F.F. is neck and neck. Extraordinary. See here:
The trends are undeniable.
Still, one point I would make is that many of these polls are in fact worthless because of the high number of undecided/independents. Take the Millward Brown Sunday Ind. Poll 16.2.13: 27% 'undecided'.
Excellent blog here (redcresearch) concerning the desire of a new party:
RedC » Blog Archive » Do Undecided Voters = Desire For New party? - Research & Marketing Ltd
Evidently between 26-32% (increasing with the passage of time) "don't know"/"wouldn't vote" vote out there, based upon Red C polls. Certainly many are un-engaged/uninterested or fickle voters but I reckon there is certainly a large vote there to be tapped into.
On election day, how would they vote? I suspect many are disillusioned left wing voters that might reluctantly back Labour over S.F., fringe left but I reckon an even greater proportion are right-leaning. Numerous pools show people are angry about the Croke Park Agreement and probably abortion too. Perhaps if F.G., rather than cave to Labour demands for a renegotiation of the Programme for Government put it up to them and dared them to jump. What would happen then?
Parties' support is more fragmented than any other time in Irish history, the PR-STV system rewards the larger party. Considering as I do that F.G.'s likely support is likely to exceed 30% and perhaps the gap between themselves and F.F. greater, I would think that they wouldn't lose as many seats as you would imagine. They would attract more transfers too. On the basis of the recent Sunday Business Post-Red C poll, 24th March 2013, the seats are predicted accordingly:
Fianna Fail’s long march forward halted…for now? Sunday Business Post-Red C poll, 24th March 2013 | politicalreform.ie
I think the figure for Others 22 is too high (Ming Flanagan? Mick Wallace? Clare Daly? Would any of these be elected?), and F.G. too low. I'd say mid-sixties is more reasonable.Fine Gael 28% (NC), Fianna Fail 24% (down 2%), Sinn Fein 14% (down 2%), Labour 13% (down 1%), Green Party, Independents and Others 21% (up 3%).
Fine Gael 58, Fianna Fail 43, Sinn Fein 19, Labour 16, Green Party, Independents and Others 22.
What if a new Right-ish party campaigned and attained 10-15 seats? This party could form a coalition with F.G. and could implement mutually agreeable policies? Would Direct Democracy Ireland be such a party, put the proposed Croke Park 2 Agreement up for a national plebiscite (surely to fail)? Or would LIBERTAS/Declan Ganley organize and mobilize in the next few months, as has been rumoured?
For F.G. to consider a snap election, it must:
- Hammer F.F. (replay "Crisis: Inside the Cowen Government" several times on RTÉ)
- Not acquiesce to Labour demands: marginalize them and dare them to jump (they won't)
- Veer right
- Encourage to formation of a minor party to sweep disaffected right wing votes, with which it could form a Government
With F.F., S.F. on about 20% apiece, Labour <10% and support for ULA/Independents low and static, Fine Gael could capitalize. Remember when F.F. was supposed to lose seats in the 2007 election, but in fact gained? Enda Kenny may in fact turn out to be their greatest assest.