Third of voters say €3.1bn budget target should be retained
Irish Times poll reveals 50% in favour of lower retrenchment
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: a majority of Fine Gael voters would maintain or increase the €3.1 billion target
More than one-third of voters accept the need for sharp fiscal cuts, saying the Government should stick with or increase the €3.1 billion target in Budget 2014, according to opinion poll findings for The Irish Times and Ipsos MRBI.
With the budget due on Tuesday week, 50 per cent of respondents said the Coalition should retrench by less than €3.1 billion.
In spite of a number of austere budgets, 32 per cent said this target for 2014 should be maintained, and 4 per cent said the Government should go higher than €3.1 billion. Some 14 per cent did not know.
The survey was carried last Friday and Saturday among a representative sample of 1,000 adults at 100 points in all constituencies.
The poll suggests a majority of Fine Gael voters would maintain or increase the €3.1 billion target. Some 46 per cent believe the Government should meet this objective and another 4 per cent would increase it.
Some 41 per cent want a lower adjustment. Among Labour and Fianna Fáil voters, there was but a small majority for less retrenchment; 45 per cent of Labour voters want the Government to go below €3.1 billion, but 35 per cent said the target should be delivered. Some 7 per cent would increase it. While 50 per cent of Fianna Fáil voters would reduce the €3.1 billion, 37 per cent would meet the target, and 5 per cent would increase it.
Only Sinn Féin voters were overwhelmingly in favour of lower retrenchment; 67 per cent seeking an adjustment below €3.1 billion.
On further cost savings by Government, respondents were asked to identify the top three spending areas in which they would make savings if in government.
They were shown a list of 18 spending areas, 17 of them earmarked for cuts in the 2011 spending review. Public sector pensions were also included as they were identified as a significant area of expenditure.
University staff pay was cited by 18 per cent for savings, 17 per cent cited public sector pensions, and 9 per cent cited medical card payments to GPs and pharmacists.