MINSTER for Finance Michael Noonan has said that in the run up to the European and local elections, there is still volatility amongst the electorate as many voters change their minds even in the final few days before casting their votes this Friday.
Speaking in Limerick during election week, Minister Noonan outlined his party confidence and his own assessment of what the polls are indicating.
“There are an awful lot of polls now over the last ten days or so and a lot of them are showing different results so it’s either that the samples are small and they are bouncing about a bit or the electorate are still quite volatile and are actually changing their minds even into the last week of the campaign.
“I think the polls are very accurate in picking the first two in each constituency and after that it seems to me that the candidates are very close together. For second last seats and last seats I don’t think the polls are accurate predictors yet but they may be if they keep polling into midweek.”
Asked if he would you be in agreement with his party colleague and European election candidate Sean Kelly, that it was a mistake to run three Fine Gael candidates in Ireland south, the Minister said he was not involved in the decision making process.
“Well I never knew Sean had that view, but Sean and I know that being good soldiers that neither of us will have a say and that management in Dublin will decide these issues at the National Executive and you run with the ticket that’s put around you,” he explained.
Asked about the threat posed by Sinn Fein with indications the party could take seats in three constituencies, the Minister said that polls had indicated that for the last year.
“Why should anybody be surprised because for 12 months now the national polls are showing Sinn Fein in the high teens and once you get into the high teens you are a contender. Now I don’t know what will happen on the day because these are elections where we haven’t seen these kind of trends before so it may be a different result on Friday – maybe the volatility in the electorate will continue to actually marking the ballot paper or maybe there will be a differential turnout. Maybe what is being polled as support won’t actually turn up and poll on the day, but it is certainly going to be a very interesting election and it will be a small industry analysing the results.”
Also speaking in Limerick this week, Sean Kelly said that he has been working very hard on the campaigns and has been “very encouraged by what the Minister had to say that he thinks those who have worked hard are being well received.
Speaking on the national party strategy, Mr Kelly echoed the comments of the Minister saying that “strategy is not for us. People would have said that maybe two candidates would have been easier for canvassers but that’s the strategy and we want to get two seats and you jump the fences in front of you and get on with it.”