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Irish General Election Endgame - who wins?

by Frank Schnittger Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 05:40:22 AM EST

Now also available in Orange and on Booman. All recs welcome.

Voting in the Irish General Election takes place on Friday (25th. Feb.) and the votes will be tallied and counted on Saturday.  Some close counts may result in recounts which will probably take place on Sunday. By Monday we should know the overall strengths of all the parties and independents and these numbers will, in large part, determine the shape of the next Government.

At the moment it looks like there are only two realistic options being presented to the Irish electorate: A Fine Gael Labour coalition, or a minority Fine Gael Government with the support of right leaning Independents.  The latter only really becomes an option if Fine Gael achieve a historic high of at least 75 seats, which, combined with c. 9 right leaning Independents would yield a total of 84 seats - sufficient for a bare majority in a 166 member Dail.

Whether Fine Gael would wish to form a Government with such a bare majority dependent on some possibly quite flaky Independents is open to question. A coalition with Labour would offer a huge majority which might last for more than one term.  However Fine Gael might not wish to make the compromises on policy and the share out of Cabinet positions such a coalition would entail.

Labour strategists taking a longer view might also prefer to see Fine Gael bear the full brunt of unpopularity arising out of their austerity plans and settle for leading the Opposition and preventing Fianna Fail from exploiting the divisions in the Labour base that implementing such plans would undoubtedly create.  However all such speculation is somewhat moot at this point until we see whether Fine Gael manages to achieve 75 seats.

So how have the party campaigns been going and what predictions can we make based on the opinion poll evidence?

bumped - Nomad



Opinion poll results for party support from four different polling companies

Fine Gael has been on an upward trend in the polls rising from c. 33 to 40% since the election was called, whilst Labour declined from c. 24% to 18%. There have been various interpretations of these trends, but perhaps the most credible is that Labour has been squeezed between Left and Right.  On the left by Sinn Fein and the United Left Alliance (contained within the Independents numbers) who advocate defaulting on banking debt, and on the right by Fine Gael who have taken up the renegotiation of the IMF/ECB deal refrain and have leveraged their alleged good relations with their EPP colleagues in the EU to make such a renegotiation look more feasible.  There really isn't much of a middle ground you can take up between these two positions.

Fianna Fail has flat-lined in the 12-18% range and hasn't really achieved any "bounce" on the election of their new leader.  This is despite the fact that Michael Martin has performed impressively in the campaign and is now the most popular party leader. Trying to campaign on the basis of the performance of the current Government really is flogging a dead horse which no admission of "some mistakes" can overcome.  The worrying thing is that, even against such an unpromising background, Martin has managed to make the Fine Gael Leader, Enda Kenny, look decidedly stupid. We really could be about to elect an even worse Government.  IS THIS POSSIBLE?

Sinn Fein has been flat-lining in the 10-13% range which will yield them a record number of seats. Their lack of credible spokespersons and Gerry Adam's lack of grasp of economics have hampered their prospects of further progress. The Greens have flat-lined at 1-2%, and their only chance of winning one or more seats is if one or more of their candidates manage to buck the national trends due to extraordinary personal and local popularity.

Independents have maintained an historically high level of support in the 11-16% range despite the fact that the focus of the campaign has been very much on national economic policy issues - an area where independents have generally had very little influence.  They are split roughly 50:50 between left leaning and right leaning candidate - a mix of hard left, conservative, local populist, managerial and political reform candidates, but it is also possible that those numbers hide quite a few "shy Fianna Failers" who cannot bring themselves to declare support for the Fianna Fail party as such, but who will nevertheless end up voting for Fianna Fail candidates with strong local brands and personal support.

So what is the likely outcome if these polling numbers accurately reflect voter behaviour on Friday? The table below compares the actual outcome of the 2007 general election with my predictions at the start of the campaign and my current view of the likely outcome.

My predictions in the table are based on a number of factors:

  1. Opinion poll trends as calculated using Kalman Filtering and Backwards Smoothing by Kevin O'Sullivan

  2. A 2% uplift for the Fianna Fail vote based on a "shy FF voter" effect (balanced by a 2% reduction in Independents vote)

  3. A 1% uplift for Fine Gael balanced by a 1% reduction in Sinn Fein vote due to differential voter turnout.  (Predominantly middle class Fine Gael voters have historically had higher turnouts than working class Sinn Fein voters).

  4. Fine Gael and Labour to get 7 and 4% seat bonuses respectively (slightly higher % of total seats compared to total votes) due to the bonus that larger parties tend to get under the Single Transferable Vote system and the fact that polls show Labour and Fine Gael being much more "transfer friendly" than other parties - i.e. getting a higher proportion of lower preference votes from voters giving their first preference votes to other candidates.

  5. Conversely, Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and Independents will gain a  disproportionately smaller share of seats (compared to % vote) due to being smaller, more diverse, and less transfer friendly for lower preference votes. Fianna Fail will also suffer more seat losses due to running too many (incumbant) candidates and thus failing to manage their vote effectively. This is the phenomenon whereby candidates of the same party typically only transfer perhaps 75% of their vote between each other on elimination. The other 25% being either non-transferable (no further voter preference indicated) or transferred to another party resulting in the headline first preference total overstating the final effective vote for the party.

  6. The Greens are odds against winning a seat in any constituency based on these numbers, but I have allocated them one seat based on the possibility that one of their candidates will do extraordinarily well on a largely personal basis - possibly ex-Leader, Trevor Sargent - in Dublin North.

Perceptive readers will notice that I have rounded the seats predicted for each party to multiples of 5 because trying to predict exact seat numbers based on the vagaries of the single transferable vote system in 43 separate constituencies would be an exercise in spurious accuracy. Even as things stand I could be wildly out in my prediction if there is even a slight swing in the last few days of this campaign.

The significance of a result per my prediction is that it places Fine Gael right on the cusp of where a minority Fine Gael government might just be possible - 75 seats plus c. 8 right leaning independents resulting in 83 seats - exactly half the 166 seat chamber.  In practice I think Fine Gael would regard that result too precarious to form a stable Government and would therefore seek a coalition arrangement with Labour.  However every additional seat Fine Gael or sympathetic right leaning Independents get would make the prospect of a Fine Gael minority Government more feasible and likely.

Boards.ie has run an interesting simulation of the actual election based on the votes of 20,000 on line voters on their site - each registering for a specific constituency and voting for each candidate in order of preference - as in the real election.  This allows them to factor in the transfer patterns based on lower preference votes and currently yields the following results:

Fine Gael 31% vote (64 seats)
Labour 22% vote (46 seats)
Fianna Fail 8% vote (3 seats)
Sinn Fein 12% vote (24 seats)
Greens 5% vote (4 seats)
Independents/others 22% vote (25 seats)

Obviously this result is not based on a random sample and tells us more about the particular views of Boards.ie users than it does about the general population. However 20,000 votes is a not insignificant sample and probably does give a good indication of the Irish blogosphere as a whole - heavily biased against Fianna Fail which has a much older age profile than other parties.  The site does not appear to control for IP address so there is nothing to prevent Eurotrib readers logging in and voting in a constituency of their choice (and several times in several constituencies if they are so minded!). For those interested in experiencing at first hand how the Single Transferable Vote system works, filling out a simulated on line ballot paper there gives you an interesting introduction into the subject.

Paddy Power also gives betting odds for each candidate in each constituency.  As Paddy Power has commissioned several constituency level polls and also has the experience of where punters are putting their money, those odds probably give as good an indication as any of how individual candidates will fare in each constituency.

I will try and do a bit of live blogging either here or on an open thread as the results come in on Saturday.  The whole process of predicting, tallying and counting votes is one of the key ceremonies of Irish politics and is a fascinating exercise in popular democracy for nerds like me.  An attempt to computerise the process proved to be a disastrous failure for the outgoing Government.  It cost c. €100M and never produced a satisfactory audit trail to prove that no tampering had taken place.  So the whole system has been thrown out - and all the voting machines are still in expensive storage somewhere in the south of Ireland.  

Given the US experience of suspected vote tampering by Diebold I am glad the Irish attempt to computerise the process failed.  Democracy is above all a community process which should be overseen at each stage by the whole community. The intricacies of local transfer patterns provide endless fascination for the local nerds and cognoscenti and is a vital part of the experience of democracy.

Display:
Another new poll by Paddy Power/Red C just out has the following figures: Fianna Fail 15%, Fine Gael 40%, Labour 18%, Green Party 3%, Sinn Fein 10%, Others 14% - all within the MOE of previous polls, although it is the first to put Fine Gael at 40% and could thus be indicative of a slight further surge in their vote making a minority Fine Gael government outcome slightly more likely.

I will update the graphic in the Diary above, but not the commentary.  Interestingly it is the first I have seen which explicitly factors in "shy Fianna Fail voters" by adding 2% to the Fianna Fail total bringing it to 17%.  It uses a sample of 1,500 voters - the largest of any poll.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 05:52:54 AM EST
I have made some minor amendments to the diary to include the latest poll and to clarify the Kalman Filtering and Backwards Smoothing statistical basis of the polling trend I have used as the basis for my predictions.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 06:52:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did I say that I'm hoping now for a short-lived Fine Gael majority government with Labour leading a left-wing opposition? That's best case for me now.  Labour in coalition will be a disaster.

I may contemplate voting for the second string Fine Gael candidate here in order to help it along. But I won't since, Joe Higgins is running here and we need a real frothing leftie in the Dail to make the centre-left look reasonable.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 06:23:56 AM EST
That's the argument I articulated in Merkel and Barroso promote compliant Irish Government. It's a high risk strategy though because the election is really on a knife-edge and a couple of % point swing could install a fairly stable Fine Gael minority Government with independent support.

What IS clear, is that if Labour are to have any chance of supplanting Fianna Fail as Ireland's second (or even largest!) party, they have to stay out of (or be excluded from) Government at this stage.  Otherwise we are back to Fine Gael led Governments with a 10% Labour appendage alternating with Fianna Fail plus a 10% Labour party appendage or others.

I thought Eamon Gilmore did quite well in the debate last night, but was quite obviously cosying up to Enda.  What was your take?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 06:44:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't watch the debates.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 06:48:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now also available in Orange and on Booman. All recs welcome.

PS what do people think of the DKOS makeover?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 07:30:54 AM EST
Frank Schnittger:
PS what do people think of the DKOS makeover?

First time I had a look at it.

Looks great actually, like the "More by X"-link which I know I kept looking for when I first blundered into DailyKos. Like the prominent feature of tags.

Now, I am by no means a user of DailyKos (never made an account), more an occansional reader, so if there are annoying bugs from a user perspective, I would not know.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 07:43:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm a very occasional user as well.  Some of my diaries there evoke a good response - the last one made the rec list - but generally I find the content too USA centric and more particularly Obama centric.

Anyone know whether DKOS is still Scoop based or a complete rewrite?  Any ideas usable for ET 2.0?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 07:49:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scoop is still under there somewhere. It's not a complete rewrite.

I like the redesign. Visually it makes the site look more "serious", without losing accessibility.

But for a refresh here, WordPress/Joomla (or some other CMS) would be a better choice.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 08:03:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe it is a complete rewrite.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 08:17:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Supposedly it's been "rebuilt from the ground up", but there are still Scoop-ish error messages which wouldn't appear in a completely custom platform.

I'd guess at least some of the foundations remain, but it may not be much of the codebase now.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 08:52:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would expect it to be database-compatible, at least.

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 08:58:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 09:04:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Otherwise you'd either lose the archive or have to translate the database to the new format.

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 09:12:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The fact that you can now see comments dating back to forever is a major plus, so however it's been done, compatibility was an obvious goal.

I suppose it's possible the database was translated, but that wouldn't be worth doing unless there was a need for a significant performance boost.

And it would interesting trading off the cost of a format translation against the cost of faster servers.

Re: funding - considering the tens of millions that DK raises for Act Blue, I wouldn't be surprised if the upgrade was part-sponsored.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 09:41:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No chance Marcos would franchise the codebase to sites like Eurotrib for free or a minimal fee - and save us a lot of redevelopment? We could offer to help create a "world confederation of progressive bloggers".

Presumably the user interface/graphic design would be quite configurable to retain a distinct Eurotrib identity?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 09:02:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not for a minimal fee. What do you think the development cost of the new code has been? At least tens of thousands of dollars of programmer time, most likely.

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 09:13:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yep - possibly hundreds of thousands after all testing and bugs are sorted.  But that is small beer compared to what DKOS must now be worth, and what it could be worth if it could claim to be the leading part of a global bloggers confederation.

The difficulty for us would be to ensure there is no way the IP of ET could be compromised and sold off...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 09:18:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think this would be a good question to ask formally.

I'm sure Kos has thought about it, but his attitude to outsiders seems to be ambivalent at best, so I think he's more likely to keep the code for his own projects than he is to share it - even for profit.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 09:46:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 09:54:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It then becomes an interesting question if it is based on Scoop or not.

1.2 The Scoop License

1.2 The Scoop License

Scoop is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License, which you'll find in the LICENSE file located in the main Scoop directory. You may also read the license online at http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html. If you intend to use free software, then it's a good idea to read the GPL at least once.



A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Feb 24th, 2011 at 05:56:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as he doesn't sell it, he's fine.

He can also sell it for an outrageous price as long as he gives you the source code.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 03:30:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He could, but it would make little sense in regards to the overall business model.

What would make sense is to hand it away and place a link to DailyKos in a discreet, yet visible place, ie treating other groupblogs as subcontractors in delivering traffic. Can be coded away, but most would probably not.  Or not release it at all and treat other groupblogs as competitors.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 01:38:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i wasn't crazy about it in beta, but now i like it, better than dk3, anyway.
i liked dk2 a lot, rather prosaic, but well done. it was better imo than dk3.
 dk4 is a bit OTT flashy, but the brown text works better than before, it's easier on the eyes, before in dk3 the orange hue was overpowering.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 01:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This diary was included in the Community Spotlight yesterday. Congratulations, Frank!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 24th, 2011 at 01:10:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Missed that! Thanks.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 24th, 2011 at 05:10:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FG asks 'decent FF people' for votes - The Irish Times - Wed, Feb 23, 2011
Fine Gael is not offering its supporters any advice on transfers to other parties and has made a direct appeal to "decent Fianna Fáil people" to lend their votes to the party.

I'm glad to see FG is prepared to accept votes even from decent FFers but that it will not stoop so low as to seek support from the indecent variety.  It's like old money people inviting new money people to the party provided they behave themselves and show proper respect.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 09:26:34 AM EST
Understood the analysis, from afar we don't get that, thanks for this!

As an aside, I will be in Offaly in late June (2àth anniversary of priesthood of close cousin) and in Wexford in late July (wedding of another one)....are you close to either? Maybe a meet-up?

by redstar on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 12:02:49 PM EST
Absolutely - Blessington is 1-2 hours from either.  Likely to be away late July but late June looks possible. Bed/board available if required.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 12:12:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent! Covered for room and board on both counts, advantage to being a wild goose.

Let you know travel details as soon as they firm up for late June...a little amazed that, though I could have conceivably been a citizen (both my sisters are) I've never actually been over there...

by redstar on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 12:41:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the natives are friendly...even if the French like to beat us at rugby and cheat us at soccer...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 12:55:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hand of god, man, hand of god!
by redstar on Thu Feb 24th, 2011 at 10:42:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are times in a nations history when politics as usual breaks down. The moment does not last long, before the concrete of the new normal sets.

We saw this process at work in the UK last year. Fundamental change seemed possible for a few months, but I fear that possibility soon passed.

It seems that Ireland is now in the middle of its opportunity for change. If the election result is a Fine Gael-Labour coalition, with Fianna Fail the official opposition, it may well be that the new normal will end up being not much different from the old.

A Fine Gael government with Labour as the official opposition might be the pathway to a more long term change in the configuration of Irish politics.

by Gary J on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 12:16:59 PM EST
Agreed, except that Labour is still desperately touting for a small place at the table, and thus, like the Lib Dems, may well miss its chance.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 12:22:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 24th, 2011 at 09:10:02 AM EST
Early media reports indicate quite a high turnout for this stage in the day.  However most Irish people don't vote until after work (or evening meal) so it is too early to predict turnout.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 08:05:55 AM EST
Turnout in my local village was described as brisk by the returning officer - certainly higher than the Lisbon referenda - although turnout in a General Election is traditionally higher - 71.6% in Wicklow in the last general election.

The big issue in Wicklow is whether Dick Roche (Fianna Fail) Minister for European Affairs will survive the anti-FF wave. His seat could go to independent Stephen Donnelly or to Labour or Fine Gael.  If Fine Gael get the third seat they are likely heading for a total in the high 70's and single party (minority) Government with the support of independents like Stephen Donnelly.

Ex-FF Independent and sitting TD Joe Behan could also lose his seat to one of the above.

There are 24 people on the ballot paper - a record - including a large number of independents.  I voted for a no-hoper independent on a personal basis.  My second pref went to the Green who is also a no-hoper.  After that I went 3rd. to 7th. preference for the people I thought really had a chance - in order of preference.  I could find no reason to continue my preferences beyond 7th.

I usually give my early preferences to people I want to encourage and continue on to those want to elect  knowing my vote will ultimately be transferred to the latter.  That way my vote is counted several times before finally helping to elect the least objectionable candidate.  The joys of democracy...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 10:50:27 AM EST
The Irish do the preferential-voting thing exceedingly well. It requires a certain intellectual sophistication. It is utterly wasted on Australians.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 10:59:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... sophistication has been applied in Oz over the decades to ensure that the preferential system does not get too far out of hand with too much democracy breaking out as a result.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 08:04:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't voted yet, but I was talking to Joan Burton (labour finance spokesperson) this morning at the train station and she didn't seem like a woman who expected to be minister next week.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 11:10:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It never pays to look too confident in an Irish election.  The moment people assume you are "safe" they switch their vote to someone else they want to elect.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 11:18:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When are exit polls / first results expected? Is there anywhere one can follow the numbers online?

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 11:31:00 AM EST
I am not aware of anyone doing an exit poll today - although that doesn't mean it isn't happening.

The ballot boxes will be opened at 9.00 am in the morning and the ballots will be sorted into piles based on the number one preference indicated on the ballot.

Tallymen (unofficial party supporters and election nerds) will keep a rough count of the numbers in each pile and sneak a preview of how the lower preferences are going.  From that data the number crunchers will predict likely outcomes - but as the last seat is often determined by less than a 100 votes - often including 10th. preferences! - these can never be absolutely accurate.

By lunchtime national trends will become evident and the first count totals will start coming in in smaller constituencies.  The whole process will be exhaustively covered on radio - I suggest you listen to Radio 1 at http://www.rte.ie/radio/ online. The RTE website will probably also give the most comprehensive and up to date account of results as they come in.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 12:00:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
RTE are publishing an exit poll at 8.00 am

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 06:12:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Media reports a very high turnout in the 30%+ range for this stage of the day.  Most voters vote after c. 6.00pm

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 12:06:36 PM EST
this is the best discussion of the difficulty of converting party vote % into seats that I have seen and provides a methodology for overcoming that difficulty:

Predicting Transfers « politicalreform.ie

Tested against the last three elections the model was incredibly accurate, coming within two seats for every party grouping.  Given no changes to the system and assuming accuracy in the most recent poll of polls, the outcome would be:  FF (25+1), FG (76), LAB (30), SF (12), G (1), I (21).

However, and not to give excuses, but this election really is like no other. Recent polls of second preferences tell us that Fianna Fail and possibly the Greens are now transfer toxic. Labour have also become a transfer-attractive. So after the parameters relating to party toxicity have been modified manually (see below) and not so intelligently - the mathematical model spits out:

FF (20+1) FG (75) LAB (37) SF (12) G (1) I (20).

The model predicts a 9% chance of Fine Gael getting an overall majority based on the last poll of polls - but as the author admits, he has had to make an arbitrary assumption to estimate differences in transfer toxicity between the parties.  My prediction for Labour (40 seats) is far higher than most analysts (consensus 30-35) and is based on the assumption that Labour is probably the most transfer friendly party at the present time.


Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 05:03:32 PM EST
I fear a Fine Gael majority or a coalition with a very weak Labour Party.

But a question on Sinn Fein: Doesn't it hurt SF that their leader or mascot is essentially a foreigner with only weak grasp of life in the South?

I think with a native at the top SF would have fared better.  

by IM on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 05:06:58 PM EST
I think it hurts Sinn Fein that Gerry Adams is weak on economics - the key issue in the campaign - and is not generally close to life in the south.  However southerners can hardly regard him as a foreigner in that most regard N.I. as part of Ireland - even if it is quite different in many respects.

Sinn Fein's main weakness is that they only won 4 seats at the 2007 election and all of those parliamentarians were v. wooden - Pierse Doherty - recent victor in the Donegal by-election is like a breath of fresh air - he is intelligent, can talk, and has a grasp of policy issues.

However Gerry Adams is a figure of some stature as a key player in the peace process and people have not forgotten that contribution.  If he can build a team of articulate people around him by winning a few more seats this election, Sinn Fein can kick on from here.  If Gerry wins a seat in Louth then he will also be more fully accepted as "!one of us".

Thus this election is an important stepping stone for Sinn Fein even if they only win 10 seats (per my prediction) provided some of those 10 people show expertise in a few different policy areas.  I don't think the other parties will again be able to refuse to do business with them once they get that sort of endorsement.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 05:34:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes but. Isn't this: "However southerners can hardly regard him as a foreigner in that most regard N.I. as part of Ireland - even if it is quite different in many respects." just ideology, state doctrine etc? Is the north really a a part of the country in everyday life. And importing your leader from the north is an admission of weakness.
 Obviously ten seats instead of four is big but I think they had a bigger opportunity. Squandered because they used an outsider and figure of the past.  
by IM on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 05:47:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think that the feeling that Ireland North and south should be one state (even if Federal in some way) is just ideology or state doctrine.  It is part of the very raison d'etre of Sinn Fein - and significant numbers of Fianna Fail supporters - as well as being a more diffuse feeling amongst Irish people generally.

Remember, the Good Friday Agreeing conceded only that Unionists could not be forced into a United Ireland against their will but underlined the fact that those who believed in a United Ireland (esp. Nationalists in the North) should have parity of esteem with those who did not share that aspiration.

If anything, having a prominent northerner lead an all Ireland party and stand in a southern constituency underlines thta aspiration and is a positive.  Remember President McAleese is from Belfast...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 06:25:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I didn't knew that. But nationalists in the north don't vote and unity is hardly the theme of the election. Or is SF arguing with their economic stewardship in the North?

My argument is somewhat like that SF had a chance to transcend their usual circle of nationalistic voters and appeal to more normal voters who care about the economy. And that means among other things shunted Adams aside for a homegrown leadership product.
   

by IM on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 06:53:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They didn't have anyone who could have done that until Pearse Doherty won the by election a couple of months ago.  Gerry Adams may now withdraw into an elder statesman role if there are sufficient articulate young turks to take over - and as I have argued in response to Chris Cook above - Sinn Fein economic policy - as articulated by Pearse Doherty will become more of a positive as the economy lurches towards default.

Sinn Fein are building a strong base in working class areas in urban areas and will become more like a standard left party in due course - cf Die Linke in Germany.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 07:07:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
I think it hurts Sinn Fein that Gerry Adams is weak on economics - the key issue in the campaign

Since from what I've seen Fine Gael are unlikely to do anything other than pursue the current Voodoo, this weakness may in time actually become a strength.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 05:54:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Ireland is eventually forced to default (having devastated the economy first) then those few independents and Sinn Fein who advocated a default sooner rather than later will seem like economic geniuses.  Either way, I can't but see Sinn Fein gaining as austerity bites ever harder.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 25th, 2011 at 06:15:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fine Gael on course to lead next government - RTÉ News

Results were accurate to within half a percentage point in the last election.

This time, the poll predicts that Fine Gael will get 36.1% - the party's best result since November 1982, but some way short of what it would need for an overall majority.

Labour is in second place on 20.5%, which would be its best ever share of the vote. The party is ahead of Fine Gael in Dublin.

Fianna Fáil support is put at just 15.1%, by far its worst ever General Election result, and signalling an electoral wipeout.

Sinn Féin support is put at 10.1%, again a record, while the Greens are on 2.7%, which could see the party save some seats.

Independents and Others get the support of 15.5% - a very high figure, though it may be spread quite thinly given the number of candidates, and where those votes transfer could be crucial to the final outcome.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 03:06:08 AM EST
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 03:18:16 AM EST
So Labour did better than expected in votes, but of course we'll have to wait to see how the seat allocation pans out.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 03:29:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On those numbers FF will be closer to 20 seats and Independents and Sinn Fein could pick up the slack.  FG are unlikely to make 75.  The realignment of Irish Politics on Left right lines will have taken place - until Labour join a coalition with FG.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 03:37:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Labour joins FG to implement a sensible economic agenda sanctioned by the Brussels Consensus, they're not left so the realignment on Left/Right lines will not have taken place.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 03:41:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely, and that is exactly my fear...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 04:48:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
with the FF implosion confirmed - they may not get ANY seats in Dublin -  which means Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan could lose - along with Deputy leader Mary Hanafin.

Looks like voters weren't shy about booting FF out after all...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 03:25:59 AM EST
http://twitter.com/#!/RTE_Elections looks like the best account to follow...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 05:38:24 AM EST


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 05:49:06 AM EST
He can't cut the mustard...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 06:43:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He could rope some people in to help him...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 07:15:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
not his style...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 07:31:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Imperiled Irish infrastructure, brought to you by Syracuse, NY. ;)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 06:19:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Troopstorm (troopstorm) on Twitter
  1. Dick Roche in trouble. oh wow.. this day is getting better and better.. #ge11 less than a minute ago via TweetDeck
    • Gormley in BIG trouble in dublin south east. 6.5% in tally #ge11


    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 07:08:41 AM EST
    Yep the voting boxes opened so far have been predominantly in the south and west of the County which would not be a stronghold for Roche who is from Bray in the North East.  Nevertheless, he does look to be in trouble.

    Index of Frank's Diaries
    by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 07:10:56 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Wasn't Gormley supposed to be the one green survivor?
    by IM on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 07:19:16 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Nope - I had Trevor Sargent (former leader) as the only one with a chance - and its going to be a close run thing in Dublin North - but I suspect he won't make it

    Index of Frank's Diaries
    by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 07:30:28 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    RTE Election (RTE_Elections) on Twitter
    1. Fine Gael did so well on first preferences that it only gets 16 per cent of second preferences in the #exitpoll #ge11 2 minutes ago via TweetDeck
      • The exit poll predicts 22% of second preferences will go to Independents with 21% going to Labour #ge11 3 minutes ago via TweetDeck
        • Independents, smaller parties and Labour are set to do best out of transfers, according to the RTÉ Exit Poll #ge11


        Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
        by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 07:58:40 AM EST
        What does smaller parties mean? SF and Greens? The ULA?

        The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
        by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 09:07:49 AM EST
        [ Parent ]
        I presume so

        Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
        by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 09:12:04 AM EST
        [ Parent ]
        yep - the ere are lots of other smaller parties but they are unlikely to win a seat

        Index of Frank's Diaries
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 09:34:27 AM EST
        [ Parent ]
        Live - Election Count - RTÉ News
        1453 The quota in Dublin West was 8,495 out of a total valid vote of 42,472. Labour Party Finance Spokesperson Joan Burton was elected with 9,627 of first preference votes.


        Index of Frank's Diaries
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 10:00:00 AM EST
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 10:06:34 AM EST
        Were Labor to refuse a coalition with FG might it not have to wait so long for another election?

        As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
        by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 10:21:54 AM EST
        [ Parent ]
        Logically it should be an FG/FF coalition but FF are determined not to allow this result be consolidated and Labour are over eager to get into Government.  My only 1% hope is that Labour FG negotiations break down.  Yes  - a Minority FG Government would have limited lifespan

        Index of Frank's Diaries
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 10:30:25 AM EST
        [ Parent ]
        Labour are over eager to get into Government.

        Rats scrambling to get ON a sinking ship!

        As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
        by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 01:56:51 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        So much of this is self-image of the parties as natural parties of government or as natural second tier parties.

        A Labour party that viewed itself as a natural party of government would in this circumstance drive a very hard bargain and force the plurality party to form a minority government if it could not get its way. After all, since FF cannot, strategically, go into coalition with FG without surrendering its self image as a natural arty of government and accepting a status as a second tier party.

        But a "natural" second tier party that has more TD's than it ever has had and is ever likely to have ever again would cash in, form coalition which is almost certain to see them through two terms of office ~ since the FG vote will be smaller in four to five year's time and those Labour party members that survive the coming backlash would be even more critical to a governing majority ~ and leave a decade from now to be worked out when the time comes.

        Indeed, from the outside looking in, it looks very much like starting from a larger base than the Green Party did previously, but treading the same path toward a future rebuke at the polls.

        Which means the left side of politics needs to start working from next week on building toward a mid-decade upset, as there is no difference at this point between building for a mid-decade upset and building toward a 2020's victory.

        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 04:04:05 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 10:27:03 AM EST
        With 3805 Fianna Fail votes to be distributed in Dublin North after the 4th count, and the GP candidate over 1,200 outside the four seat frame, it seems highly unlikely that the GP will win that seat.

        On the United Left side in that constituency, the Socialist Party candidate only needs 774 to reach the quota, so there's grounds for hope that when the GP candidate is excluded, there are transfers somewhere in his 4,000+ original votes to put the SP candidate over the top.

        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 02:56:46 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        The socialist, Claire Daly is safe.  The final seat is between FF and FG.  Unfortunately it looks like no Greens will survive, although Eamon Ryan still has a small chance in Dublin South.

        Index of Frank's Diaries
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 03:13:31 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        Will Labout heed the lesson from the Greens' brief run as a junior government partner?

        So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
        by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 03:22:25 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        A 'junior partner' in a political coalition is an oxymoron.

        Heads the senior partner wins and ditches the junior: Tails they both lose.

        "The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

        by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 03:30:21 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        No, if there is an electoral constituency that the senior partner cannot attract directly, but the senior partner can sell to its own electorate the necessary concessions to the junior partner as the cost of getting higher priority things, and the junior partner can sell to its members that the concessions obtained are the higher priority to them.

        So it requires on the one hand fundamental differences on the issues and on the other hand a distinctive different ranking of priorities. Something happens to reshuffle the priorities to bring the fundamental dispute to the top, and it falls apart.

        Peaking in from the outside, the flaw in the Greens joining a center-right senior partner is that they can only do it by giving up on what ought to be their highest priorities (if they actually are Greens) as unattainable, and settle on secondary priorities. Leaving them in a position where they are completely unable to capitalize on conditions that could have been a break-out election, if they had been in opposition throughout Fianna Fail government.


        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 05:37:59 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        their gagging for it - they have been in that position several times before and always paid a huge price for it.  They want to be "responsible".  The only chance it won't happen if FG think they can go without them.

        Index of Frank's Diaries
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 03:58:23 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        They want to be "responsible".

        Sometimes the responsible thing is to force the other guy to form a minority government and keep them in check from parliament.

        So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

        by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 03:59:36 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        That is the smart move.

        But if you've been in the wilderness for all of your political career the prospect of office (if not power) is just too alluring, even though you secretly know that it will fuck your party one way or another.

        Ego wins every time.

        "The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

        by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 04:06:55 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        They want office...

        Index of Frank's Diaries
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 04:07:15 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        At the 6th count, the GP seemed to get 1/4 of the transfers from the lower position LP candidate which did not stay in the party. The same amount on redistribution of the surplus would leave the Green, Eamon Ryan, on the bubble, and hoping that it gives a quota to a FG member, with enough surplus to give another quota to a FG member, to edge over the transfer-toxic FF member. Then the last seat would be decided on the transfer rate from the FF vote between FG and the GP.

        Problem was that the transfers of the LP surplus was too evenly distributed across the three FG candidates, so none of the three hit a quota, and as per above the GP candidate was on the bubble and so excluded. If the GP had been 2% behind the FF candidate instead of 2.6%, with the lack of transfers to FF, it would have been the FF candidate on the bubble at that stage.

        And of course, if the FF does not collect a net 1370 more from the distribution of the 7330 GP votes than the last placed FG candidate, FG is going to harvest 3 out of 5 seats from 36.3% of the primary vote. So if I understand the TV internet machine correctly, this Alan Shatter bloke ought to be Alan "Weathervane" Shatter.

        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 06:00:41 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        Alan Shatter is the most experienced and prominent of the three Fine Gael candidate (Probably will be in cabinet) and may have agree to share "his" vote by allowing his colleagues exclusive rights to canvass larger parts of the constituency as they needed to keep the three roughly equal if all three were to be elected.

        Alternatively Alan Shatter's Zionist views may have lost him some votes (he is the most prominent member of the Irish Jewish community) and leading apologist for Likud.

        Interestingly Peter Matthews is a new candidate and is an ex-banker who argues the inevitability of default - v. unusually for Fine Gael, but the same argument as Shane Ross the successfully Independent who is a prominent stockbroker and financial/political journalist.

        Index of Frank's Diaries

        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 07:17:34 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        In terms of keeping distributions fairly even, which is the second half of getting the starting vote fairly even, having three distinctive candidates could well have helped with that.

        But it was very effective vote management, as the same total primary vote with bigger gaps could well have left an opening, especially given three distinctive candidates who might have been fairly leaky on transfers of surplus votes.

        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 07:30:13 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 07:46:35 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        I noted that RTE had Alan Shatter on to compliment FG on their vote management. They also had a Labor pollie on to harangue her about Labor not being hardline neoliberal enough.

        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 02:24:22 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 12:38:23 PM EST
        for the last seat without reaching the quota...

        Index of Frank's Diaries
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 02:01:28 PM EST
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 05:46:20 PM EST
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 08:01:23 PM EST
        ... in quite a number of constituencies, many with Sinn Fein as last in ... last guess before going off air at RTE was 18 Fianna Fail, 16 Sinn Fein.

        With 2 SP TD's elected, at least one New Vision, that suggests that if Sinn Fein could reach an accord with some of the other left TD's in opposition, they might claim that their leader is the legitimate leader of the opposition.

        What are the rules for being leader of the opposition ~ both formal and informal ~ in the Dail?

        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 10:14:30 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        ... 2xLP, Fine Gael, People before Profits, and then Sinn Fein short of a quota, because Fianna Fail could only get transfers from FG voters, and only about 1/4 of them.

        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 02:10:20 AM EST
        [ Parent ]
        I'm not quite sure how they're getting FF at 18 - by current estimate is 21 - and SF as high as 16 - I'm at 13 - but if you combine FF with the 5+ hard left ULA members you are in the ballpark of claiming the leader of oppo role.

        The leader of Oppo role has no constitutional basis - except perhaps in Dail Standing orders (and parliamentary allowances) and is AFAIAA a largely informal title given to the leader of the largest opposition party.  I don't know if a "technical alliance" comprising SF and others would count, and I doubt others lefties would be prepared to join forces with Sinn Fein - although it would really put the wind up Labour if they did.

        Fianna Fail are being absolutely humiliated in this election - I had under-estimated the "Anybody but Fianna Fail" factor right down the ballot which meant that even SF lost it's transfer toxicity when the alternative was FF.  It also hugely damaged its chance by running too many candidates and its usually tight transfer discipline between candidates.

        IF FF lose even the informal "leader of the oppo" title you would wonder can they survive.  However don't forget their are also FF "gene3 pool" Independents in their who might rally to FF if the alternative was an SF opposition.  

        What we must remember is that FF became a flag of convenience for all sorts of opportunists who wanted political influence/career progression and many of these - and the funding they provided - will all now go elsewhere.  FF could even go back to its radical roots and compete against SF for the "leftie/nationalist" vote - as Labour gets sucked ever more into the establishment identified with EU  austerity policies.

        IT ill probably completely re-invent itself...

        Index of Frank's Diaries

        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 04:27:59 AM EST
        [ Parent ]
        SF is at 13 right now and a glance at the standings in the unfinished constituencies show that (mathematically and based on how the election went so far, with no knowledge of local idiosyncracies obviously) they seem to have a good chance of electing one in Laois/Offaly and Wicklow and small and dimisishing one as we speak in Carlow-Kilkenny. So it seems like SF will reach 15 seats, and the ULA will have another 5.

        It might be important to know which way the independents lean. I saw that there's a new MP in the north of the country who used to be SF, but how do the rest weigh in politically?

        The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

        by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 05:41:43 AM EST
        [ Parent ]
        A possible answer (?):

        People Before Profit's Richard Boyd Barrett last night insisted a technical group of left-wing Independents is possible.

        Among those who might feature in such a group are Finian McGrath, Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, Maureen O'Sullivan, Joe Higgins, Clare Daly, Joan Collins, Mick Wallace, Thomas Pringle, Seamus Healy and Catherine Murphy.



        The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
        by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 04:03:22 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        They are a very disparate group, but a technical group only needs 7 TDs and that shouldn't be a problem.  If they have any sense they will form a formal party, because Labour are about to vacate a huge space on the left... and many are still reluctant to vote Sinn Fein.

        Index of Frank's Diaries
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 04:16:45 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        ... Sinn Fein is already 13 and inside the frame for two more still counting, and it does not look like the recounts in Galway will change things except possibly the name of one of the FG TD's.

        I don't see Fianna Fail at 21, they need to be inside the frame to get elected, and well inside the frame to be safe ~ they just haven't been getting enough love from transfers. I computed one ex-party transfer of Fine Gael at only +14% for Fianna Fail versus Sinn Fein (and basically a wash for LP vs FF), and of course the ex-party transfers for LP voters and transfers for lots of independents have been favoring Sinn Fein very heavily over Fianna Fail.

        This net transfer advantage of SF over FF could be a one-off, as well as the situation of FF running too many candidates in many constituencies, but if SF ends up 15, ULC with 5, and FF with 19, an "Accord" to claim the mantle of leader of the opposition is something worth considering. I'd think that the FF leaning independents can't do the same with FF, their independent status is what they rode in on.

        How many left independents have been elected? Left independents might be better positioned to join the Accord on the ULC side ~ say by two or three forming another grouping and joining the ULC ~ so there might be opportunities to take an "Accord" above 20.

        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 12:17:42 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        ... the big swing in lower preferences is FF and SF.

        Prediction:
        FG: 74
        LP: 37
        FF: 25
        SF: 11
        GP: 0
        Other/NP: 19

        Result (barring possible -1 FG, +1 Indy on recount in #gyw):
        FG: 76
        LP: 37
        FF: 20
        SF: 14
        GP: 0
        Other/NP: 19

        So the major party shift{+} from model to result is entirely FF's loss on lower preference to FG's (+2) and SF's (+3) benefit ~ which is perhaps not surprising for a "republican populist, making social welfare noises and economically neoliberal by default" party facing collapse and with republican neoliberal and republican progressive populist parties on offer.

        I was interested to read two Guardian reactions to the Irish election:

        After Fianna Fáil: a new Ireland takes shape, which despite talking down to the ULA offers the not-terribly-original-because-true observation that Fianna Fail faces a problem as a party of no principle other than the pursuit of political power, when it is not obvious that it is still in a position to grasp political power.

        and Nick Clegg provides a model and a warning for Ireland, which is a load of codswallop, as if the Irish political party with the most experience of getting into bed with the enemy in pursuit of political office needs to be schooled by from such naive newcomers to the process as the Lib-Dems.

        {+ Note: There may of course be a small shift inside the Other/NoParty column.}

        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 01:01:58 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        FF got curb-stomped.

        Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
        by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 08:58:05 PM EST
        They seem to have done worse than their worst ever first preference showing, since very few of the people who voted for someone else on first preference seem to have included FF on their ballot paper.

        Or as the slogan had it, lots of voters decided to kick Fianna Fail in the ballots.

        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 10:15:46 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        ... if the current count in Laois-Offaly stands. If the FF is relegated instead, that could elect one FF with very little surplus, and if the FG candidate gets any transfers from that, they might end up ahead of the independent and leave the FF stranded when the independent is excluded.

        That's a large regional constituency so it depends on the home base of the various candidates, but I expect that the FG candidate and/or his campaign managers was well aware of what the regional layout is when they decided they'd rather the FF be excluded at this round and asked for a recount.

        FG gets two elected either way, the question is whether 2 FF get elected or only one.

        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 02:09:44 PM EST
        I find it very hard to call as to whether the final seat goes to FF, SF, or Labour. What has really surprised me in this election is not the first preference totals, but the degree to which FF has overtaken SF as the most transfer toxic party in the state.  Time and again FF have lost winnable seats because they got so few transfers and even failed to transfer well between their own (too many) candidates.

        Index of Frank's Diaries
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 06:21:36 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        ... country areas seems to be a vote for the individual candidate in spite of the fact that they stood for FF, with transfers going to someone else from that part of the constituency rather than to a FF candidate from elsewhere in the constituency.

        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 06:45:43 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        So much of Irish politics is still quite personal - you vote for the candidate you or your candidate actually know - and can approach if you have a problem in n the expectation of some personalised attention.  Party labels are almost secondary to this primary function of politics.  Many criticise the "clientalism" they believe the irish STV system fosters and propose the adoption of a German style list system.  My problem with that is that you would lose the very personal connection many people feel they have with the political system if we made that change - and it is this personal connection which has enabled us to avoid riots in the streets at a very stressed time.  I am currently writing a Diary "In Praise of Politics" which tries to expound on that and others aspects of the Irish system.

        Index of Frank's Diaries
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 06:53:39 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        ... system in place in elections to the Australian Senate, where voting below the line is allowed but voting above the line is made much, MUCH easier, and I do not view the party list as superior to the vote for the individual candidate.

        Certainly a party list system allows for a second preference or full preference PR that is much easier to count ~ indeed, once the initial tally is done, the allocation of an exact quota to the next candidate on the list eliminates the step of distributing the surplus for all except independents ~ but that is a simplicity due to constraining the freedom of choice of individual voters.

        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 10:03:41 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        I think party lists can be good if you have good democracy within the parties, otherwise you just move the clientalism to within the party structure, in effect concentrating it.

        A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
        by A swedish kind of death on Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 10:59:14 AM EST
        [ Parent ]
        Very good point...

        Index of Frank's Diaries
        by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 12:02:47 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        and destroy the whole point of preferential voting. You give your first preference to a party, and delegate the preferential aspect to them. The result is completely twisted.

        It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
        by eurogreen on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 07:27:32 AM EST
        [ Parent ]
        ... Fianna Fail seemed to me to still be more transfer attractive than Sinn Fein to ex-party Fine Gael transfers, but between the larger number of FF candidates for the transfers to go to and the larger number of FG candidates elected and success in keeping transfers in party, there were not all that many ex-party transfers coming out of the Fine Gael vote.


        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 06:49:51 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        And so it proved, with Fianna Fail at 20, Sinn Fein at 14, SF's Brady lost in the woods in Wicklow ~160 votes short of a Harvard School of Government grad running as an independent.

        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 10:38:33 PM EST
        [ Parent ]
        ... what's the use of the Irish Green party if they remain wed to neoliberal economic fantasies for the sake of the "respectability"? Look how much that "respectability" has gained them in the end, and they are still telling self-rationalising lies to themselves that the vote for the budget was the right thing to do, even if electoral suicide.

        No, it was both electoral suicide and the wrong thing to do, for people who are genuinely committed to the establishment of a sustainable economic system.

        Sinn Fein has the opportunity to build a combination of urban working class and agrarian populist base to pull the centrist progressive electorate from the Fianna Fail and Fine Gael vote and actually achieve the restructuring of the Irish political terrain that seemed to be briefly on offer in this election season (of course, with ample reason to expect that they might not be effective in seizing the opportunity).

        The other side of the restructure, if it exists, must be built somewhere in the welter of small parties in the ULC, where there needs to be established a Progressive Green faction to either fill the void that the neoliberalism of the Irish Greens leaves, and challenge the Greens to abandon their neoliberalism for a real world view of the economy required to achieve an ecologically sustainable economy.

        The Greens can either slowly and painfully rebuild their five to ten seat position on the center-side fringes of Fine Gael / Fianna Fail, or else position themselves to an environmentally committed position in the middle of the Labour base and be positioned to reap a big windfall on the back of the coming Labour collapse.

        Of course, just a sneak peek into a foreign political landscape, so toss in a half cup of qualifiers and stir in thoroughly before baking.

        I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

        by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 06:26:15 PM EST


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