Friday 13 February 2009

Labour overtakes Fianna Fáil in polls

Wow. This is big news - it's never happened before. Unlike most European countries, where the centre left party is one of the big two, in Ireland Labour is the third party. This is a bit like saying that the LibDems have overtaken Labour in the UK polls!

And Eamon Gilmore is now the most popular party leader by quite a margin. I knew Labour was making an inroads, but this is quite impressive.

So is Ireland shifting to the Left? It's a strange thought for a country whose two big parties have been centre-right and centre-ish since independence. In the '90s Labour support/electoral success increased too, known as the "Spring tide" after the leader of Labour at the time, Dick Spring. However it was short lived, and Labour was still in third place at the time. But now that Labour's overtaken Fianna Fáil in the polls...

Is is sustainable? This says that Labour's support is based more in the older demographic, perhaps because older people will find it harder to recover than younger people. But if it establishes itself as the second party, then it could possibly end up with a more durable support base that comes from being a possible senior government party. It will be interesting to see how Labour does at the European elections.

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