7/02/2006

The more things change, the more they stay the same?

Another month, another opinion poll but it seems the jumps in support aren't exactly earth shattering. A difficult month for Fianna Fáil has resulted in a loss of support of 1% with Ahern's party now on 34%, ahead of Fine Gael who remain unchanged on 28%. The major losers are Labour who drop 2%, their lost support seems to have gone to the other parties of the left in the Dáil as both Sinn Féin and the Greens have gone up a percentage point, SF with 9% while the Greens have 7%. The PDs, leadership crisis or not, continue to attract minimal support with only 3%.

The interesting issue is that the fact that Fine Gael and Labour are to table a motion looking for an early election. Given that this is unlikely to win support in the Dáil, its hard to know how serious the opposition actually are. Fine Gael and Labour may be getting increasingly desperate. This month couldn't have been much worse for the government with the statutory rape crisis, backbench dissent and the clash of the egos between Harney and McDowell yet FG and Labour still hold only a narrow lead of 1% over the government parties. Considering the fact that FF may well recover in the next few months, it seems that all may not be rosy in the garden for the "alternative coalition". It should be noted however that if they were able to forge an alliance with the Greens, their position would be greatly strengthened. In such a situation Fianna Fáil may well feel that their only option is to shed the dead weight which the PDs have become.

On another topic, the opinion polls also revealed interesting statistics of what the Irish people thought of Charlie Haughey following his death last month. Despite the fact that many seem to believe that history will judge him harshly, in fact more Irish people have a positive opinion of Charlie's legacy than expressed a negative view. It seems the Irish people recognise that, despite his flaws, the country is better for having been led by C.J.

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