Fianna Fáil just ahead in latest poll
Fianna Fáil has recovered ground to become the best supported party in the State for the first time since the economic crisis struck almost five years ago, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.
The survey was taken on Monday and Tuesday of this week before the deal on the promissory notes which the Coalition parties are hoping will improve their standing.
Fianna Fáil gained five points since the last Irish Times poll in October while Fine Gael dropped six and Labour dropped two points.
Satisfaction with the Government is down three points while satisfaction with Taoiseach Enda Kenny has slipped four and he is now level with Fianna Fái leader Micheál Martin.
The scale of Fianna Fáil’s recovery is highlighted by the fact that support for the party has almost doubled since last April.
When people were asked who they would vote for if an election were held tomorrow, party support – when undecided voters are excluded – compared with the last Irish Times poll was: Fine Gael, 25 per cent (down six points); Labour, 10 per cent (down two points); Fianna Fáil, 26 per cent (up five points); Sinn Féin, 18 per cent (down two points); Green Party, 1 per cent (down one point); and Independents/Others, 20 per cent (up six points).
The survey was undertaken among a representative sample of 1,000 voters aged 18 and over, in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all constituencies.
The margin of error is plus or minus 3 per cent.
The core vote for the parties compared with the last poll was: Fine Gael, 16 per cent (down four points); Labour, 6 per cent (down two points); Fianna Fáil, 17 per cent (up three points); Sinn Féin, 12 per cent (down two points); Green Party, 1 per cent (no change); Independents/Others, 14 per cent (up four points); and undecided voters, 34 per cent (up one point).
The undecided at more than one-third of the electorate is very high and indicates that big swings in support are likely to continue in response to events.
Lower middle-class and working-class voters are returning to the party while it is in first place among farmers and is the most popular party among the over-65s. Connacht-Ulster is its strongest region while Dublin remains its weakest area.
The Coalition parties have suffered in the poll and that, combined with the drop in the Government’s satisfaction rating, indicates the impact of the budget is beginning to be felt.
Fine Gael is down six points, the first significant drop it has taken in an Irish Times poll since taking office almost two years ago. The party is strongest among the best-off AB voters and weakest among the poorest DE category.
Mr Kenny’s rating has continued to slide and is at its lowest since he became Taoiseach.
The drop back in Labour Party support to 10 per cent could fuel discontent.
A notable feature of this poll is the surge in support for Independents and smaller parties who have surpassed Sinn Féin.
Fianna Fáil has confounded the critics who wrote the party’s obituary after its election disaster two years ago, with today’s poll putting it back on top of the political world.