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One of the most extraordinary features of this election is that quite a few of the successful Sinn Fein candidates who polled 10k-20K votes actually lost their Council seats in the local elections last June polling only a few hundred votes in similar electoral areas.

Nobody can quite account for the sudden upturn in Sinn Fein's fortunes - least of all Sinn Fein who would have fielded far more candidates had they expected it. Opinion polls had tracked the upturn in the last few weeks and a generalised yearning for change among the electorate.

Several factors can be postulated:

  1. Brexit is now regarded as a done deal and only 1% of voters listed it as a key factor in their decision making.
  2. Eaten Bread is soon forgotten. Elections are won on future promises rather than past performance. Thus, while there is general agreement that FG did a good job on Brexit and managing the economic turnaround since 2010 v. few voted on that basis.
  3. While the macro economy is generally agreed to be performing well, many voters aren't feeling the benefits of that in their back pockets despite unemployment declining from 16% to 4.8% and rising pay rates.
  4. Fine Gael's emphasis on market solutions to the housing crisis was emphatically rejected. Rising insurance premiums are also a big issue for drivers, home owners, and small businesses and service providers. (There is effectively no Single Market for insurance which means a very few companies control the Irish market).
  5. Right wing "wedge issues" like crime, immigration, abortion got virtually no traction.
  6. Sinn Fein pivoted from focusing on a united Ireland to emphasising the need to resolve the public healthcare, childcare, transport and housing issues.
  7. Most voters in all parties want more public expenditure rather than reduced taxation. Fine Gael had sought to send dog-whistles to those who wanted reduced taxation.
  8. Northern Ireland/re-unification hardly featured in the campaign.
  9. Left wing parties like the Greens and the social democrats have also made significant seat gains

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 10th, 2020 at 01:49:43 PM EST

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