Recent Polling And The Children’s Rights Referendum

Been quiet here for political commentary for the last while, but here’s a quick round-up of some stuff that’s been catching my eye.

The latest Red C poll has two things of note for me. The first is the Fianna Fail numbers which show them to be the second largest party in the state, just a short while after an IPSOS/MRBI one said the same. I have a pretty dim view of polls as long time readers will remember,  but I do have greater faith in them when it comes to expressing general trends over time. I dismissed the first poll as a possible happenstance, but two in a row is not so easily cast aside.

Fianna Fail are strengthening  though I wold argue it has little to do with anything they’ve actually be doing (which is what, saying “That’s bad” in the Dail?). Perhaps Fianna Fail’s rise is more to do with being the least worst alternative for many people. They may dislike the government and not be left-leaning enough to contemplate Sinn Fein or the ULA. So, who else is there? Not that Fianna Fail will be complaining. Success is success.

The other thing of note is the Labour-specific stuff, where supporters were asked to rate their current stance on the party. A shocking 86% of those polled who identified as “Labour supporters” claimed to either be “disillusioned” or have “lost faith” in the party. Those are huge numbers, Fianna Fail in 2011 numbers, and its a disaster in the making for Labour. The locals will be very rough under those kind of conditions, and baring an unlikely economic recovery, the general election in 2016 even worse. I’ve said before that Labour should have stayed out of government, for this very reason.

Anyway, what about the Children’s Rights Referendum? I will have something more concrete about the upcoming vote in the next two weeks, before polling day, discussing my own opinion and voting preferences as I’ve done for previous referendums (here and here). On the actual campaign, it’s been rather dull. The huge amount of support the amendment has from established political parties – all of them – has stunted any debate, as the “Yes” posters flood the streets and RTE struggles to keep its balanced coverage commitment  The make-up of the “No” group has severely limited the opportunity to hear the case for a negative response in a public forum. This is what happens when you wind up with the Christian Solidarity Party as one of your main arms. What little polling has been done shows “Yes” with a commanding lead, followed well back  by “Don’t Know” with “No” trailing in the rear with single-digit support.

The “No” campaigns only shot, and it is a long one, is to grab hold of that “Don’t Know” crowd with both arms and drag them towards the polls in their favour. The high amount of people who aren’t fully aware of what the referendum is about is a double- edged sword. Such people do routinely vote “No” out of sheer confusion but they also stay home in large numbers.

This is not a vote I can see the Dail (for it is a Dail-wide amendment after all) losing.

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