Diary of a Canvasser: Its all over

Generic FG Poster

So that last week of the flew by and before I knew it I was voting an tallying the results! I had a very long weekend awaiting results, but for a change in a national election, the results had me and others shocked. We knew Fine Gael were going to do well, but we didnt think we were going to do *this* well.

It was amazing to see Fine Gael Candidates who I had met over the years topping the poll and others coming in closely with their team to show that Fine Gael really can manage the vote.

In Cork South Central I was delighted that Simon Coveney and Jerry Buttimer were elected to the 31st Dáil. I was disappointed that Deirdre Clune lost her seat, but we also knew that Michael McGrath of Fianna Fail was going to be a hard candidate to beat.

We have no time to rest on our laurels. Fianna Fail are going to be fighting back and we need to be ready for them for when the local elections come around in 2014.

I wonder who I will be canvassing for then!

 

Diary of a Canvasser: Enda Comes to Town

I did not expect to be adding to my diary today, but last night I got a text to say that Enda Kenny would be campaigning in Cork today. So I got up early to head into town to meet up the leaders tour.

The rain was terrible, and the tour and run over time in the Simon Community and St Johns College so when Enda arrived we went to the English Market, that favourite of campaign stops when on a tour of Cork. There was a large crowd of supporters from both Cork City constiuencies and a number of candidates were also in attendance in cluding Pat Burtion, Jerry Buttimer and Simon Coveney.

It was an interesting morning as you had the usual Cork characters out in force ranting and raving about the SAS to the price of wine. Yes, I am serious I was lucky enough to be standing in front of this particular person.

There was also a protest by those against blood sports, what is missing from that report is that when Enda drove off the protestor shouted

“You are against blood sports don’t vote for the Green Party”

That of course led to cheers from us and a look of complete embarrassment on his face!

An interesting morning was had.

Diary of a Canvasser: Dawn to Dusk (and beyond!)

Election Poster

I have finished another week on the door steps and this week saw me canvassing for Jerry Buttimer and Deridre Clune.

On Monday we were out canvassing in Ballinlough for Jerry Buttimer and we got a good response. I got my first local issue on the door that night. Someone was giving out about City Council and the pothole outside their house. This was no ordinary pothole though! It was huge! So she had to complain! Thankfully Enda had decided to turn up to the debate on Monday so there was no questioning like the last time.

On Tuesday I was out in Ballinlough, again out canvassing for Jerry. This was the day that the Irish Language Policy really became an issue on the doors. I only got it the once, and I managed to canvass that vote as Gaeilge! I was very proud of myself! Enda’s debate performance was raised and it certainly impressed people.

Yesterday was my longest day of canvassing yet. It started with being collected at 7:45am by Jerry to canvass early morning traffic! This is a hard canvass as it can be difficult to interact with people, but people were receptive and will to take the literature.

After a coffee break we were down in Mahon at lunch time. It was a hit and miss area as a lot of homes were empty with the time of day and all that. But people were quite open to being engaged with. After another coffee break in Mahon Community Centre we headed out to Douglas to do a few estates. At this point I was drenched to the bone and my knee was acting up. I did canvass a number of houses, and got a good response, (limping always brings out the sympathy!) by the end of the canvass I was told to stay in the car cause I was in too much pain!

After going home and drying and dosing myself I headed out again (glutton for punishment I am!) This time to Donnybrook with Deirdre Clune. We got an amazing response and quite a number of people wanted to engage with us. Which is good. There was questions on one-party government, jobs, public sector, tax, education and student nurses. A really interesting canvass. I finally finished canvassing at 9pm! Thats makes it at about 13 hours of canvassing! Not to be done in rain I will advise! I have at least 2 more full days planned next week! Its going to be a long week!

Tomorrow is the last week of canvassing and it will be a case of canvassing up until the last moment. So dont be surprised if there is no update until election day! and remember be nice to canvassers!

Irish Examiner\Red C – Cork South Central Poll

Election Poster

The 2nd constituency in Cork to polled this week after Cork North Central’s poll on Monday for the Irish Times.

The Irish Examiner commissioned a phone survey of 500 voters in Cork South Central. The results are as follows:

  • Simon Coveney (FG) 19%;
  • Micheál Martin (FF) 18%;
  • Ciarán Lynch (Lab) 14%;
  • Michael McGrath (FF) 9%;
  • Jerry Buttimer (FG) 9%;
  • Deirdre Clune (FG) 8%;
  • Chris O’Leary (SF) 8%;
  • Paula Desmond (Lab) 5%;
  • Michael Finn (Ind) 5%;
  • Dan Boyle (GP) 3%;
  • David McCarthy (Ind) on 2%

A transfer analysis was also done and it shows that the following would be elected:

  • Simon Coveny (FG)
  • Micheal Martin (FF)
  • Ciaran Lynch (Lab)
  • Deridre Clune (FG)
  • Jerry Buttimer (FG)

Its an interesting result, but I wonder will it pan out that way on friday week?

If Fine Gael are to have a hope of one party government they will need three seats here in Cork South Central. But the last seat will go down to fight, it will be neck and neck between Buttimer or Clune and McGrath, perhaps with the last two candidates being elected without reaching the quota? I have a feeling we will be in for a long count in Cork South Central.

UPDATE: The full report is here

Diary of a Canvasser: Where’s Enda?

Enda Kenny
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So we come to the end of the second week of the Election campaign and its been a funny old week on the doors. I was out of the country until Monday so I was only out two nights this week.

On Tuesday I was out canvassing with Simon Coveney in Mount Oval. This was the night of the TV3 debate in which Enda Kenny had decided not to take part in. This was one of the recurring themes on the door that night. Some of it was light-hearted ribbing, others were more serious. Some were brought around, others remained to be convinced.

On Wednesday I was out with Jerry Buttimer in Carrigaline. After encountering a Fianna Fail canvassing team in the estate we had to make a hasty retreat to another estate. The rules of engagement are clear on this, if another team are there before you, you pull out.

Again the issue of Enda came up on the doors, but no one passed comment on the performance of the other leaders. Maybe Monday’s debate on RTÉ will change that.

Apart from Enda the same issues are still coming up on the doors. Health, jobs, public service and political reform.

No Canvassing took place in Cork yesterday following the tragedy at Cork Airport.

Diary of a Canvasser: 3 Nights, 3 Candidates

Cork South Central (Dáil Éireann constituency)
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This week I have been sharing my time with the three Fine Gael candidates in Cork South Central. I find that is the best and easiest thing to do. It also broadens your canvassing experience!

Monday

So on Monday I was out with Deirdre Clune. We were canvassing in Donnybrook in Douglas. I was paired with Fiona and it seemed that we got every nice person in the estate! We had lovely chats with people who wanted to talk about disability, social welfare and of course the leadership of Fine Gael, which is a bit of a recurring issue!

There was one house with a bunch of lads and we ended up talking to a few of them and one of the was a Fine Gaeler from Wexford! So all in all a good canvass with a good response and again, people seemed more interested in national issues. That as I have said previously is a good thing in my book.

Tuesday

On Tuesday, after we finally found out when the election would actually be held, I went canvassing with Jerry Buttimer in Turners Cross. Here I was invited into a house for the first time! (yes, it was someone I knew but still!) The reaction was very positive towards change.. I would hate to have been a Fianna Failer knocking on any of those doors. Again the issues that came up were national issues. Higher Education funding and Social Welfare policy was brought up on doors and people were genuinely interested in the policies that Fine Gael had. I must say I am enjoying this campaign!

Wednesday

On Wednesday I went out with Simon Coveney in Ballyphehane. This is an area I knew well as it is where I went to school and have plenty of friends living in the area. It was also a fairly well established area. Again I noticed it was mainly national issues with the Economy being the major issue. Another thing I noticed was the number of people who did not know who they were going to vote for. This was extremely true of elderly people who said they would have normally voted for Fianna Fáil and now don’t know who to vote for. Its going to be interesting to see if they will change their votes on election day.

So all in all 3 nights which were very interesting and I didnt mix up candidate names too often! I am off to Paris now for the weekend so I won’t be on the canvass  trail until next Tuesday.

Diary of A Canvasser: Day Out, Day In

An image of the Cork College of Commerce, a Fu...
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Well with election coming up, canvass teams have swung into full operation down here in Cork. Last week for the first time I both ended and started my day with a canvass!

This would be something that would seem to be a recurring theme for the election. There goes my lie-ins!

Last Monday (24th January) we canvassed an area of Douglas with Jerry Buttimer. We had a very good response and covered great ground. The issues on the doorstep where very detailed which sent us scurrying for policy documents and the candidate when we weren’t sure of exact details.

This is something I have noticed this time around. People are showing huge interest in the actual policies of the parties! FairCare, newERA and Re-inventing Government all came up on the doors. People seem to moving away from personality politics and hopefully, they will vote for the policies that they wish to be implemented.

The next morning saw me up early, at 7am! To be ready to be collected at 8am for canvassing again with Jerry Buttimer at Union Quay Bridge outside my college. This was the first time I had done an early morning canvass during an general election, I did a few during Lisbon, but that was a different kettle of fish.

The people that morning were a mix of students and professionals and it was a mixed response. Well some people just aren’t morning people. It was fun to canvass one of my teachers who was Dan Boyle’s campaign manager during the European Elections!

All in all in was a good morning and evening. Thank god I am off this weekend to cathc up on my beauty sleep!

Senators Defend the Seanad

A lunchtime protest by dislocated workers was ...
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Although they made sound like turkeys voting against Christmas, two Senators have made good arguments in favour of keeping Seanad Eireann.

Yesterday speaking to the Irish Times, Independent Senator Joe O’Toole had the following to say,

Speaking this afternoon, Sen. O’Toole acknowledged the existing arrangement was “undemocratic, unfair” and “unrepresentative” and described voting arrangements for the Upper House, where it does not have a universal mandate, as “indefensible”.

However, the independent senator said the abolition of the Seanad would suit the interests of the political parties.

“No political party, whatever they are saying, is going to be enthusiastic about a second chamber where they have to listen to the voices of different groups of people whether it be from the Gaeltachts, Northern Ireland, business, farmers, unions, unemployed, voluntary groups, arts community etc,” Sen. O’Toole said.

Then in today’s Irish Independent, Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer also defended the Seanad saying

“I think the Seanad has a valuable role to play. Some people have latched on to the idea that abolishing it would save the country but I personally think it would be the wrong road to take,” he said.

“The amount of money saved from closing it would be miniscule. Reforming the Seanad would be better than abolishing it.”

These are the opinions of the people in that house. Surely they know how its works and are best placed to tell us that it needs reform which has been blocked by certain Senators.

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Diary of a Canvasser: Winter Election Campaign

Cork South Central (Dáil Éireann constituency)
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During the Local and European Elections back in 2009 I tried to keep a bit of Canvass Diary to chart the mood and feelings and experiences on the Canvass Trial. For the upcoming General Election I plan to try and post about what is happening on the ground, where ever I end up canvassing!

So my General Election campaign started today with a canvass for Senator Jerry Buttimer in Cork South Central. We started in an estate in Grange which is the Carrigaline Electoral District.

The first thing I noticed tonight, is that the following is required by anyone going to canvass in this weather;

  • heavy jacket
  • hat
  • gloves (preferable fingerless, for seperating leaflets, taken notes and knocking on doors)
  • scarf
  • thermal underwear

Then you may stay warm! That or you end up doing jumping jacks as you wait for the candidate to catch up.

So how was the canvass? Well I was surprised we didn’t get a lot of “your starting earlier” comments. A lot of people were glad we weren’t Fianna Fail, others didn’t want to deal with any politicians.

The mood in general was fairly pro-change. Whether that will translate to Fine Gael votes or votes for other parties is the part that is hard to tell.

Personally, I was heartened by the response on the doors. People are annoyed and upset over the government and the bailout, but they are optimistic. They can see us getting out of this, and I hope that they are right.

Lets see how this pans out during the rest of the campaign. In the meantime I am off to defrost my fingers and warm up in general! I am not looking forward to canvassing in the snow if it gets that bad!!

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Cork South Central

Cork South Central (Dáil Éireann constituency)
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Over the years this blog has payed a great deal of attention to the constituency of Cork South Central. This mainly due to the fact that I am from that particular constituency and for most of my life, I have lived, studied and worked in the Constituency. The Evening Echo had an internal Fine Gael poll at the end of last week. The results made some interesting reading, the figures in brackets are the results from 2007.
Simon Coveney (FG) 15% (9.93%)
Ciaran Lynch (Lab) 14.5% (9.25%)
Micheal Martin (FF) 14% (19.01)
Deirdre Clune (FG) 12% (9.72%)
Paula Desmond (Lab) 11.5% (did not contest)
Jerry Buttimer (FG) 8% (8.77%)
Michael McGrath (FF) 8% (16.7%)
Des Cahill (FG) 4% (did not contest)
Green Party (Dan Boyle) 4% (8.37%)
Sinn Fein (Henry Cremin) 4% (5.11%)
The poll was taken before Cllr Laura McGonigle announced her candidacy.
While it is interesting to see Coveney topping the poll, it is not very surprising. After narrowly beating John Dennehy for the last seat in 2007, Simon has put in a lot of effort and it seems it has paid off. Clune to is polling well. Ciaran Lynch has proven himself an able performer and and will do well and may also get elected on the first count along with Simon Coveney. Paula Desmonds votes though are phenomenal. It will be interesting to see if she can carry it off. She will of course be helped over the line with transfers from Lynch and possible from Sinn Fein and Green transfers.
FF’s Micheal McGrath is in serious trouble under this poll as his vote is down nearly 50%. Martin will no longer have a huge number of transfers to bring a running mate over the line. Not that McGrath needed that in 2007. So he is in an uphill struggle.
The green party’s vote is also down by 50% so they have no hope of regaining the seat lost by Dan Boyle in 2007.
I do not understand why Des Chaill was included as he may have taken votes from Clune, Coveney and Buttimer in the poll. I wonder are FG looking at running four candidates. Personnally I hope not. As if Coveney gets in on the 1st count his transfers could bring Clune over the line (if she dosen’t manage it herself) and maybe put Buttimer in contention for the last seat with Desmond.
Fianna Fail have certainly lost a seat in Cork South Central. McGrath will put in a strong fight, but brand FF have suffered and it will be McGarth who will suffer the consequences in the election. Fine Gael will certainly win two seats with a possibility of a third fighting it out with Labour for that last seat.
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