herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Terry Prone: Dublin's mind is made up, it's all over for Fianna Fail

Today's opinion poll in Dublin is arguably more important than a national poll.

Well, a Herald writer would say that, wouldn't she? No, actually, she wouldn't. The facts speak for themselves.

This is the first poll to question a full sample of 1,000 adults inside the capital. It represents the attitudes of Dubs in recent days.

And it hammers long coffin nails into to Fianna Fail's chances in a city once dominated by Bertie Ahern and his lads.

Today, they have 10pc of the electorate in and around the city. You got that? Only one in ten. That spells disaster for existing ministers within the Dublin constituencies. It spells disappointment for the brave newcomers.

It will be experienced like a kick in the stomach by leader Micheal Martin.

It establishes that if he won every debate between now and polling day, it wouldn't have the smallest impact. In fact, the respondents told the questioners that while they might watch the big debates, they weren't going to be influenced by them.

Dublin's mind is made up. Full stop. No negotiation. My city might as well have painted graffiti on the walls of every unfinished estate: "Fianna Fail out."

The poll is good for Labour at a time when it needed a boost.

The Labour campaign, which started with such optimism, not to say arrogance, has been losing steam.

The Herald poll shows them with twice as many people promising to vote for them as supported them in 2007. That's just a couple of points ahead of Fine Gael, but those are an important couple of points, psychologically, for Labour. Labour will make as much as they can of today's poll, which shows neither stall nor slippage in the cockpit constituencies of the capital.

They still have to look out for Sinn Fein, which has now outstripped Fianna Fail in the capital, but they will take heart from the fact that Sinn Fein are not further up the ladder. The strategists within Labour will be pleased that almost half of the Dubs approve of Eamon Gilmore's leadership - streets ahead of Enda Kenny's ratings - but they know the realities on the ground are that this isn't an American presidential election.

What matters is overall numbers, not leader numbers.

For Sinn Fein, the headline may be that they've beaten Fianna Fail, but it's within the margin of error

Just as important, Dublin has less than no time for Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. Just 28pc of those polled said they were satisfied with his leadership.

For John Gormley, the tragedy of this poll is that the Green Party might as well not exist.

When national polls don't give the Greens much of a show, they can point out that they don't have many TDs or Senators, nationally. But Dublin has been their stronghold, and this poll suggests they're on their way to becoming a footnote in history.

Which brings me to the most important trend revealed by this poll. That's the shift of the "alternative" or "non-traditional" vote away from the Greens to Independents, who are on 16pc and are now a larger group than Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein or the Greens. They may double the vote they achieved in Dublin in 2007.

All change, lads. The cockpit of Ireland's going to look very different after this election.

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