Polls Apart

I don’t like opinion polls…I don’t like “bad ones” and I don’t like “good ones”.

From five thousand miles Norn Iron is very distant. Especially when it is 7pm and temperatures soared to 81 degrees.

But I hear there is an opinion poll out which is showing a majority of North Korean proportions rejecting a United Ireland. I hate to rain on Sluggers parade…but it seems to me that nobody is actually offering a united Ireland in the short term.

So it’s a fairly irrelevant poll. It may however be pointed out that the vast numbers of Catholics claimed to be against a united Ireland are not actually voting for unionist parties…or indeed the “agnostic” (I know ….I’m laughing myself) Alliance Party. Or put in another way, the Alliance Party are under-performing.

All of this must be extremely uncomfortable for Alliance Party apologists in the media and on some websites.

They can’t really take much comforts in the opinion poll on the fantasy state of the parties. Meaningless figures. But enough there to surely s change the narrative even of the most dedicated Alliance apologist.

I don’t give a tinkers curse for the numbers. But from a purely SDLP members perspective…..nothing has changed. Despite the fantasy 18.6% being a significant fantasy improvement. Certainly since the debacle of Assembly 2011, the ship has been steadied…and certainly since summer 2012, SDLP will be satisfied at an improvement.

I have been dismissive of reports of SDLPs terminal decline. So it’s not for me to feel validated by the poll. Rather it is for those who believed earlier polls to accept this one. All I claim is that SDLP are “in the game”….no more, no less than I have previously claimed.

And that’s bad news for Alliance…who can with DUP nibble at UUP votes . But those voters are unionist and Alliance need to be gaining votes from BOTH UUP and SDLP to be credible as a middle ground pàrty. All they are doing is gaining more liberal unionist votes and becoming increasingly dependant on that electorate makes the Alliance Party even more toxic to nationalists.

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17 Responses to Polls Apart

  1. I have to say the BBCNI/MORI poll left me unconvinced. Some 23% of Sinn Féin voters would actively vote against a reunited Ireland? Over 56% of SDLP voters would actively vote against a reunited Ireland? Sorry, I don’t buy it. If a referendum was held tomorrow, with a joint SF and SDLP “Yes” campaign (and perhaps limited support from down south and internationally, Irish-America, some on the European Left, etc.), at a minimum one could reasonably expect a 30% Yes vote, even with the present economic crisis north and south. Certainly not the 17% given in the poll.

    I can’t see David Cameron or Ed Miliband enthusiastically campaigning up and down the Shankill Road for several weeks in order to save the so-called Union. But I could see the likes of Éamon Ó Cúiv and several other TDs, not to mention the odd US Congressman or Left European MEP, campaigning on the Falls for a reunited Ireland.

    Unionists may wrap this comfort blanket around them like all the other ones of recent times but in the end if they are not careful they are just going to end up being smothered by them.

    • SF and SDLP would lose all credibility if they didn’t actively campaign,
      And I’d certainly see 35% as a likely outcome. The fact is that people can happily vote Yes on the basis that it won’t happen….yet. But a significant vote YES would destabalise the unionists….
      If a significant minority don’t want to be part of a country then not only is it de-stabilising but it forces concessions which would lead to joint sovereignty.
      Indeed if SDLP-SF campaigned on Joint Sovreignty…it would maximise the nationalist vote.

      • I absolutely agree. I argued on Bangordub’s blog that a 2019 reunification referendum held in hopefully favourable economic and political conditions would be a win-win situation for Nationalists regardless of the actual outcome. Any “Yes” vote in the 40-49% range would be fatally destabilising to British rule, partition and the present semi-internal dispensation. And of course anything over 50% would game over.

        Unionism and both governments simply couldn’t carry on regardless if 45% of the population registered their official opposition at the polls to the very “state” they lived in. At the very least something like joint-sovereignty would have to be conceded.

        If both SF and the SDLP hit an electoral highpoint in the next election of c.45% then they would be mad not to combine their voices in a demand for increased (or rather genuine) north-south structures that would equate with joint-sovereignty. A new St. Andrews Agreement (Comhaontú Chill Rímhinn!) but this time in the Nationalists’ favour.

  2. hoboroad says:

    That BBC opinion poll party strengths:
    DUP 25.1%
    SF 21.7%
    SDLP 18.6%
    UUP 13.2%
    APNI 10.4%

  3. hoboroad says:

    I think it was the late Horseman who pointed out that the Alliance Party vote took a dip every five years. Something to do with the European Parliament elections.

  4. factual says:

    SDLP would disappear in a UI. Turkeys. Christmas. Anyone? Only SF can be trusted on the national question, as a 32 county party.

    • Still not talking sense. Sorry to seem tetchy but we have temps of over 70 degrees….and my capacity to listen to nonsense is very limited.

    • There seems to be an assumption there that a reunited Ireland would be a single unitary state along the lines of the present Irish state when logic and reason dictates that it will probably involve a form of limited regional autonomy for the north-east of the country, quite possibly as a permanent constitutional arrangement, within a reunited nation. I would agree that in a reunited Ireland as popularly envisioned the SDLP would find it difficult to survive as a completely separate political party. But no one of any political nous believes that such a state is likely.

      Even some committed northern Republicans favour a form of regional self-governance in preference to undiluted governance from Dublin and the dreadful system of local Irish government. With a regional assembly and executive as a more or less permanent fixture of Irish politics the SDLP would probably continue as a regional party, perhaps as a local wing of the Irish Labour Party or else completely separate.

      This is commonplace across Europe. Look at Germany. National parties and regional parties, some linked, some not.

      A singe 32-County unitary state with one national legislature and one national government subdivided at a local level into town and county-councils is never going to happen. The north-east will have to have some form of regional representation.

      • factual says:

        Unaffordable. The economic case for a UI is the economies of scale. There is no need for two administrations in a small island. We in Dublin cannot afford the costly way in which the six counties have been run with duplicated everything. The SDLP will split three ways – FF, FG, and Labour.

      • factual says:

        It will be important to build up the economy north of the border before a UI, and to progress CSI. The “two tribes” model of the society up there costs $1bn per year; that cannot be tolerated in a UI. There will have to be integrated education and removal of peace walls. It should happen before a UI.

  5. Factual, I’m sorry but I believe you are ignoring two hundred years of Irish history. The “north” has had a strong sense of regional identity since the early 1800s at least (and one could argue further back than that). That is inevitable given the thorough nature of British colonisation in that part of the country.

    During the Revolution the northern constituencies stayed Unionist or IPP while the rest of the country went SF. The IRA spent as much time fighting the Hibs as the RIC/RUC during 1916-1923. That difference is simply there, in Nationalists and Unionists, and cannot be escaped.

    In the 1920s, ’30s, ’40s and 1950s the British Unionist minority were consistently offered a unitary state on the basis of a separate regional autonomy for the north-east (de Valera and An Dáil explicitly guaranteed it in talks with Unionists in 1920/21).

    I do not support federation/confederation for a reunited Ireland. Indeed I believe it would be inherently destabilising. But limited regional autonomy is the only way to guarantee long term peace and prosperity. Even if the price to pay is higher.

    Do you really think Unionists or Nationalists would give up control over their own self-government to a far away Dublin national parliament and national government? Why would they? I wouldn’t.

    A regional Nine County, Six County or Two County province or “super-county” is a concept in circulation since the 19th century and Republicans must seize it and make it heir own.

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