Saturday, February 12, 2011

Campaign Diary Day 11 - Single Party Government

As usual the results of the Sunday Business Post poll have been leaked a few hours early. Today's figures, which were collected Tuesday-Thursday, show FG on a monstrous 38% with Labour leading the rest on 20% followed by FF 15%, SF 10%, Green 3% and Independents on 14%. The other main figure to note is that undecideds have dropped from 20% to 17% so the public are making their minds up.

The result that these polls indicate is Fine Gael forming a single party government, either through a small overall majority or else with the support of some of the right leaning independents such as Ross, Lowry and Lord Healy-Rae II. Back in 1982 FG won 39% of the vote and got 42% of the seats. But that was with the backdrop of FF winning 45% of the vote. With the nearest competition almost 20 points behind, FG will get a huge seat bonus with most of the last seats falling to them.

So where do the other parties go from here? Attacking Enda for being weak has failed, ignoring Enda has failed, attacking each other has failed. It seems to me that FG have taken a long hard look at the New Labour strategy from 1997 and it is working for them. Just stick to the message and ignore everything else going on around you. The big problem for FF, Lab and SF is the sharp focus of their campaigns on their respective leaders. FG have been smart in letting Bruton, Varadkar, Reilly and others take the lead showing it as a team effort.

There are still two weeks to go and in Irish politics, where there are 43 local elections happening around the country, anything could happen. But at present it is looking good for FG but they may be wondering have they peaked to soon or are they still building momentum.

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