A survey conducted by Ipsos/MRBI for the Galway Advertiser in County Galway, including Galway city, shows the Labour party struggling to recover from its disappointing showing in the 2016 General Election. The survey was conducted in late March and early April 2017.
Along with the normal caveats that apply to all political surveys, an additional one here is that this survey was conducted among a sample of 300 people living in Galway city and county, and was not targeted at any specific constituency.
In answer to the question: If a general election were held today, to which party or independent candidate, would you give your first preference vote? The results were as follows: Fianna Fáil (20 per cent ), Fine Gael (15 ), Independents (13 ), Sinn Féin (eight ), Labour (two ), smaller parties (one ), don't know/undecided (27 ), would not vote (13 ), refused (one ).
Excluding the 41 per cent who were undecided, would not vote, or did not disclose their intentions, and allocating these pro rata to core party support, the result is as follows: FF (33 per cent ), FG (25 ), Independent (22 ), SF (13 ), Labour (three ), and smaller parties (two ).
Labour will be very disappointed with its showing, with the only consolation for the party the large number of undecided voters, showing there is still a large segment of the electorate it can target. Fianna Fáil will be very pleased with the survey result, showing the party well on course to win a second seat in Galway West constituency, if the figures were to be reflected in a general election.
The Fine Gael vote has decreased slightly, which would put the party's second seat in Galway West in jeopardy. Strong vote management will be required if the party is to see off the Fianna Fáil challenge for this second seat. On these figures, Sinn Féin will also certainly be in the mix for a seat in Galway West. If the election takes place in the coming months, it looks like a seven candidate race for the five Galway West seats. The two leading Fine Gael candidates, the two leading Fianna Fáil candidates, the two independent TDs, and Sinn Féin will all be challenging for a seat, and another nail biting count would seem to be on the cards.
Based on the survey figures, Galway East looks set to return a deputy for Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, and an Independent. Based on the closeness of the result in 2016, and the uncertain intentions of some possible candidates, it is more difficult to predict the personnel who will represent Galway East in the next Dail, but a 1:1:1 representation for the two main parties and independents looks the most likely outcome at this stage.