FF enjoys remarkable turnaround in fortunes
ANALYSIS: The rise in support for FF has coincided with a marginally bigger drop for FG
Fianna Fáil has confounded the critics who wrote the party’s obituary after its election disaster two years ago, with today’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll putting it back on top of the political world for the first time in almost five years.
The five-point gain means Fianna Fáil has almost doubled its support since April last year. It is a remarkable turnaround in the party’s fortunes and the question now is whether it can maintain the momentum going into the local and European elections next year.
The rise in Fianna Fáil support has coincided with a marginally bigger drop in support for Fine Gael. The combined support for the two parties has remained remarkably consistent at about 50 per cent since the general election of February 2011. When one party goes up the other goes down.
Fianna Fáil has managed to claw back support in its old heartlands that had drained away over the past few years.
It is now comfortably in the lead in the poorest DE social category and among farmers, and it also leads all other parties in the C1 lower middle-class category.
In terms of age groups, the party now leads among the over-65s, the most significant demographic when it comes to turnout at elections.
Across the regions it is the leading party by a significant margin in Connacht-Ulster and Munster, and is running neck and neck with Fine Gael in the rest of Leinster (ie not including Dublin).
Fianna Fáil’s Achilles’ heel is Dublin, where it currently does not have a single TD. Despite its recovery in the rest of the State ,The Irish Times poll puts the party trailing on 11 per cent – well back in fourth place in the capital behind Sinn Féin, Fine Gael and Labour, which are all bunched together.
The poll has warning signals for both Government parties, whose combined vote has dropped eight points to 35 per cent.
Fine Gael is down six points to 25 per cent, the fourth poll in a row to show a decline. It has suffered a fall in support in every region of the State and across most age groups.
The party is still ahead of Fianna Fáil among the younger age groups and is well ahead of all other parties among the better-off AB voters and among the skilled working-class C2 voters. In regional terms it is strongest in the rest of Leinster and Connacht-Ulster.