Pollwatch: Sunday Business Post/RED C May 14th

Yesterday’s Sunday Business Post had a poll on Party Support and the upcoming treaty referendum. For the referendum the Yes side has much to be comforted by. The results are:

  • Yes: 53% (+6)
  • No: 31% (-4)
  • Don’t Know: 16% (-2)

When you exclude the Don’t Know yes side lead 63% to 37%. This shows the strength of the Yes side before the entry of Declan Ganley to the debate so it will be interesting to see if his contribution makes any difference.

In terms of party support the only major statistical movement is drop below 30%. The party support is as follows:

  • Fine Gael 29% (-3)
  • Labour 13% (-1)
  • Sinn Fein 21% (+1)
  • Fianna Fail 19% (+2)
  • Others 18% (nc)

Fianna Fail, who have been in the news a lot lately thanks to Eamonn O Cuiv, seems to have gotten a bit of a bounce from that. Sinn Fein remains the second most popular party in Ireland, but I still believe transfers will still be hard to come by for them.

The Government Parties have seen a drop in support which is probably due to the treaty campaign as much criticism has been laid at how the country is being run.

But over all, the movement is all within the margin of error, but trends are starting to set in.

Irish MEP Candidates and Some Predictions

Here is a round up of the Candidates for the 4 European consitituencies in Ireland with a few predictions.

Ireland – Dublin

Dublin is the big battlegorund this year with the number of seats being reduced from 4 seats to 3. The Greens, with Senator Deirdre De Burca, are also hoping to gain a seat in Dublin. It will be a tough campaign.

  • Eibhlin Byrne (Fianna Fail) Website
  • Deirdre de Burca (Greens) Website
  • Proinsias de Rossa MEP (Labour) Website
  • Joe Higgins (Socialist) Website
  • Mary Lou McDonald MEP (Sinn Fein) Website
  • Gay Mitchell MEP (Fine Gael) Website
  • Eoin Ryan MEP (Fianna Fail) Website
  • Caroline Simons (Libertas) Website

Prediction: Ryan, De Rossa and Mitchell to hold their seats with McDonald loosing out. Of the others I think the Greens will poll best.

Ireland East

East is going to be an interesting campaign with Fine Gael out to hold on to its two seats it won in the 2004 elections. This time round, Avril Doyle MEP is standing down and Sen. John Paul Phelan has taken up the reigns to hang on to the seat. Fianna Fail will also be hoping to hang on to its seat. They have yet to announce their second candidate in the constituency. Sinn Fein are also running two candidates here. Greens have no candidate announced  here at the moment.

  • Liam Aylward MEP (Fianna Fail) Website
  • Nessa Childers (Labour) Website
  • Kathleen Funchion (Sinn Fein) Website
  • Mairead McGuinness MEP (Fine Gael) Website
  • Ray O’Malley (Libertas) No Link Found
  • John Paul Phelan (Fine Gael) Website
  • Tomás Sharkey (Sinn Fein) Website

Prediction: Unless Fianna Fail can get another candidate in the ticket soon, the seat could be in danger, but to who is the question? Sinn Fein if it can manage its vote could be the threat to Fianna Fail. Fine Gael will hang to its two seats.

Ireland North West

This will be an interesting constituency. This is the constituency that Libertas founde Declan Ganley will be running in. Will people back him and his party? Fianna Fail are in a spot of bother here as Sean O’Neachtain won’t be running this year and they have no one to replace him. Sinn Fein came second on first perferences here in 2004, but will they be as strong this time out? Fine Gael are running two candidates and could do the job and win two, but at whos expense? Will it be Fianna Fail or Independent (ALDE) MEP Marian Harkin?

  • Declan Ganley (Libertas) Website
  • Marian Harkin MEP (Independent/ALDE) Website
  • Jim Higgins MEP (Fine Gael) Website
  • Padraig Mac Lochlainn (Sinn Fein) Website
  • Paschal Mooney (Fianna Fail) Website
  • Susan O’Keefe (Labour) Website
  • Fiachra O Luain (Independent) Website
  • Joe O’Reilly (Fine Gael) Website

Prediction: Harkin to keep the seat. That is going against what everyone else is saying, but im going out on a limb here! If Fianna Fail can get a well known figure, either TD or outsider then they may keep the seat, but I know they will be slow to run a TD due to possible by-election defeat. Fine Gael will win at least one seat and depending on second Fianna Fail candidate could win two.

Ireland South

In Ireland South Fine Gaels Colm Burke is fighting for the seat he inherited from Simon Coveney in 2007. Fine Gael are also challenging for a second seat. Kathy Sinnott (Independent/Democracy) is also fighting to keep her seat. Fianna Fail is running two candidates here, with sitting MEP Brian Crowley being joined on the ticket by Ned O’Keefe TD. Libertas aren’t running in Ireland South so that they don’t threaten Sinnotts anti-EU vote.

  • Colm Burke MEP (Fine Gael) Website
  • Brian Crowley (Fianna Fail) Website
  • Dan Boyle (Green) Website
  • Toireasa Ferris (Sinn Fein) Website
  • Alan Kelly (Labour) Website
  • Sean Kelly (Fine Gael) Website
  • Ned O’Keeffe (Fianna Fail) No Link Found
  • Kathy Sinnott (Independent/Democracy) Website
  • Alexander Stafford (Independent) No Link Found

Prediction: Crowley and Burke will hold seats and it will go to the last count between Sinnott and Sean Kelly. I think Kelly will win it though.

The night of the count will be very interesting in each of the constituencies! I’m looking forward to it.

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7th Think Post: Finding Your Candidates Online

Below is my 7th Thinkaboutit.eu post. I have posted it in full so dont forget to rate it on the competition website!

A problem for me during the last European Elections in 2004 was finding out about candidates running for  election. Although I couldn’t vote and was sitting my Leaving Certificate I was interested in who was running and finding out more about the candidates in my constituency. In my constituency, Ireland South, there were ten candidates running for three seats. Of the ten, four were independents and not all of them campaigned in Cork so it was hard to find out much about them.

This year elections will be different thanks to two websites based and set up in Ireland. The first is Eurvote, which is just aimed at Irish voters. Eurvote have pages on all the candidates in the Irish Constituencies. Of course they are a bit behind as they already are missing Sean Kelly from the list for Ireland South, but they do have Declan Ganley on the list for Ireland North-West. Eurvote has a page on each candidate (here’s Marian Harkin’s (Ireland North-West) page as an example) with a link to their website which is handy. They also plan on doing events and are looking for constituents to write analysis in each constituency. Unfortunately I don’t know who runs EurVote.org, as their about page is blank!

The second website is miCandidate.eu, which hasn’t launched yet, but will in the next month. This is based on the MyCandidate.ie website which ran during the 2007 General Election here in Ireland, that website now redirects to miCandidate. MyCandidate.ie was described as “an exciting and crucial addition to democracy by putting useful information at the fingertips of citizens young and old.” by Joe Zefran a News Editor with RTE.ie (received via email), so they are hoping that their European venture will have a big impact. MiCandidate.eu are currently putting together their database on candidates in all 27 member states, but not all seams to be right with them. According to Suzy of Mamanpoulet miCandidate.eu are putting pressure on candidates to sign up and pay up to have their information on this website. This is an example of an email sent to candidates.

We are very concerned that you are one of only a few remaining candidates who has not completed the information form that we sent you. Your profile will appear across dozens of Ireland’s busiest websites from RTE to the Irish Times. Failing to return this form to us in the next 48 hours may result in your profile being entirely empty. Given that candidates profiles were viewed nearly 4 million times in 2007 on RTE and the Irish Times you are giving your competitors in your constituency a huge advantage over you.

This is a free service, but we cannot stress the urgency that we need you to fill out your details. Seats are won and lost by a handful of votes, your competitors profiles will be viewed tens of thousands of times. Your profile will be empty.

Will the web have this type of impact on the European Elections? I don’t think so. So should miCandidate be the top of your priority, probably not. Of course there is a paid version, which the Irish Green Party have signed up to for their candidates. Will it be worth the mone only time will tell and I hope that Fine Gael candidates wont spend money which could be spent on leaflets, which as Suzy points out can have the url to your blog/twitter/whatever and get people that can actually vote for you to engage with you. miCandidate are hyping up the net a bit too much in my opinion.

So there you have two websites one free and one free for us the voter, but possible not for the candidate, trying to inform us about the elections. Will they succeed? Will they actually inform people and get them to vote in the European Elections? Will they have an big impact or will they just be link farms to candidates websites, blogs, facebook/bebo pages and twitter accounts? Only time will tell.

Dont forget to rate it!

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