// October 4th, 2011 // No Comments » // GE11
To hell with opinion polls, let’s try picking some actual numbers based on the reading of entrails and the deductive reasoning of a biased pundit. I mean I couldn’t be much worse that this guy.
So here goes, as it stands right now this is how i think the respective candidates are really set to do on election day.
Higgins, Michael 27 %
Mitchell, Gay 18%
McGuinness, Martin 14%
Norris,David 12 %
Gallagher, Séan 8%
Scallon, Dana Rosemary 6%
All things being equal candidates could be viewed as starting out with the same level of support. with 7 candidates that is 14.3%. Of course that is rubbish the public aren’t randomly drawing names out of a hat. They have biases and favour interests and dislikes of particular people and their points of view. They have their own life stories and experiences to influence how they make their choices. And the choice they make also influences their transfers. Those who vote for Dana won’t be transferring as heavily to David Norris as they do to other candidates, (that doesn’t mean no one will vote Dana No.1 and Norris No. 2 but many more more will transfer to Mitchell.
So let’s start at the bottom, Dana’s pitched worked well in 1997 but the world is a very different now. Dana has actually made the case against her being President as a bulwark against abortion when she said that no such legislation would be coming before her while she was President as the Attorney General had said so. So why vote for her them? It’s like a noted Shark hunter looking for a job with the coastguard while citing acres of evidence that there is no risk of a shark attack. Go hire someone with expertise in narcotics smuggling instead. I believe her support base will be under half what it was in 1997. So 6%
I think Dana and Gallgher are really confined to fight over an equal share of the vote, Gallagher is saying interesting things and if the campaign wasn’t about a series of denials of one’s involvement in controversies then the press might have found time to let him talk about them. Sadly it isn’t and they won’t. A lack of posters compared to others also tends to make people believe you are not serious and also are a lost cause (or so people told me once). So he will get more than Dana but not much, hence 8%.
Now it gets interesting, Sen. Norris’ support base is too much in the hands of those who don’t vote and too much of his support is driven by people who can’t think of a reason to not vote for him nor a reason to vote for anyone else. Once they are provided with a reason to support one of the 6 others they will drift away, or less they simply won’t remember to turn up. Couple that with the various scandals or pseudo scandals and suddenly the cuddly, slight crazy angle doesn’t have the same appeal. Now 12% might not seem like much to some folks but it’s a credible performance from an independent. So I’m saying 12% at the moment, that could trend upwards depending on the campaign or it could collapse entirely if there are more letters in the writing desk.
The notion that SF and more over the republican movement are so shielded from their past that Martin McGuinness can be talked of as a serious contender in a PR-STV one seat election shows how little the various political pundits know about elections. SF get 10% just about 6 months ago in a national election and certainly McGuinness will increase on that but the idea that he would double in a lower turn out election when much of his base is amongst those less inclined to turn out while those with the most knowledge of his involvement in the north over the past 40 years will be very inclined not to support him. The only way he increases from this level is to tap into some of those on the harder left who are inclined to support Michael D. Higgins in despite of his Labour involvement rather than because of it. And that may well be what FG are about with their targeting of McGuinness. Boost him at Higgins expense.
Davis, the candidate who wasn’t and isn’t there. She comes across as terribly nice which is great in a way but this is the Presidency and for all that it is seen by most people as the state’s official greeter and our overseas tourist No.1, most people are aware on a certain level that the job also involves serious political judgement and knowledge of the constitution and the political realities of the country. The amazing thing about the previous Marys is not that they did all the touchy feely, dancing at the moonlight crossroad bridge but that they did that while wearing their education and knowledge of the less press friendly demands of the post so lightly. That they did the front of house tasks well was a bonus but that they could do the dull spade work had to be a given. It’s not with Davis and that is why she’s not going to challenge for the position when the race gets tighter.
So how in God’s name do I have Gay Mitchell in 2nd place? Because while he might on 14/15% amongst the population at large his appeal will work much more so to the demographics that will turn up on polling day. And he has (for all that most elements of the blogorati will despise him for doing so) seen off the sound spoken challenge of Dana for the more conservative element of the population and even those that vote for her will come, in part, back to him and he has going after a forgotten vote, middle aged men who think that the President should be more assertive on behalf of Ireland and not just the greeter No.1. I call it the two and half men strategy for rather obvious reasons, go after a large support base that others, in particular the media, turn their noses up at and you’re laughing.
Higgins is well out in front at this point and is best placed to gain more transfers from each of the other candidates than anyone else. I think he will get 20% minimum but that 27% could be picked away at if an improbable but not impossible combinations of factors were to kick in. Dana undermines him slightly in the West, Norris in the urban vote, McGuinness in working class areas and on the more ideologically inclined left, Davis in the “shure he’s terrible nice” stakes. Were that to happen the race could fall into Mitchell’s lap. But that’s not likely and unlikely things never happen in Irish Presidential elections right?