Campaing Gist: The Poll and afterwards
Day 6 of the Campaign and there was no way I wasn't going to do one on that poll.
It takes a special sort of genius to launch your election campaign by telling the public that they're juvenile for not supporting your Black and Tans commeroration before canceling it with bad grace.
Then follow that up by banging on about Brexit, which literally not one person gives a hoot about as an election issue, while the rest of the news is full of deaths and maimings.
You might as well run for election, demanding credit for not extinguishing the sun.
"We have left the vast radioactive hydrogen sphere burning throughout our time in office. Do you really want to to take the risk that the opposition might not do the same?"
Of course it will. This is the floor you're pointing to.
So it is that the vauge sense that maybe Fine Gael's relationship with the voters wasn't as mutually admiring as may have been presumed received an actual data point in the shape of the Sunday Times' B&A poll showing them one point ahead of Sinn Fein and 12 points behind Fianna Fáil.
This is the start of an actual campaign to test the parties. They've all been blocking their movements out on stage, with no sign of the audience to give a sense of how the play is going down. Now we'll see how they react to information. Traditionally, Fianna Fáil will tell voters what they think they want to hear to keep a lead. Fine Gael will tell the voters they are wrong. Labour will... I don't know what Labour will do any more. They're like Michael J. Fox's siblings in Back to the Future, fading gradually from image and memory.
But really the question now is what Sinn Féin might do. Between Councillor Podcast's thoughts on statutory rape and the focus on the big two by the media otherwise, they haven't had much of a chance to demonstrate what they could do.
The Greens and the Social Democrates will have mixed feelings about the poll. Both are still localised parties, with support in patches around particular candidates. Like the PDs of old, this can result in a significant seat bonus when things go right and a trip home in a taxi for the whole party when it doesn't.