Indications FF may re-emerge as viable political force
ANALYSIS:FF’s dire reputation may be wearing off, as its support in Dublin recovers to 15 per cent
FIANNA FÁIL’s image as the toxic party of Irish politics may be beginning to fade, going by the findings of today’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.
The level of support for the party has jumped by 50 per cent since the first Irish Times poll of the year back in April, and it appears that voters are now coming around to considering it as an alternative to the two Government parties.
Fianna Fáil is still far off from the dominant role it held in Irish politics for almost 80 years but the poll indicates that it is capable of recovering to become a serious political force in the years ahead.
What will be particularly encouraging for the party is that its vote in Dublin has recovered to 15 per cent, even though it does not have a single TD in the city or county.
At this level of support, it is tied with Sinn Féin in Dublin and only four points behind the Labour Party. To capitalise on this support, however, will require a major rebuilding project in advance of the next local elections in 2014.
The party has seen a significant recovery in its support among the poorest DE social category and among working-class C2 voters.
In age terms, Fianna Fáil is strongest among the over-65s but it has also seen a significant recovery in the 50-64 age bracket.
Across the regions, the party is strongest in Connacht Ulster where it is now neck and neck with Fine Gael. It still trails well behind its old rival in all of the other regions.
Sinn Féin has dropped back four points since the last poll but it is still on a highly respectable 20 per cent of the national vote.
The slide has been biggest in Dublin where it has dropped eight points and is now behind Labour and tied with Fianna Fáil.
The bedrock of the party’s support is still the poorest DE social category where it is on 31 per cent but Fianna Fáil is now making inroads among this group.
The party’s highest level of support is found in the rest of Leinster outside Dublin but it is relatively even across the rest of the country. In age terms, it does best among the 18-34 age groups and worst among the over-65s.
Sinn Féin is significantly more attractive to men than women but the trend is not as pronounced as it has been for the past decade and more which indicates a potential to make future gains.
The combined vote for the two main Opposition parties comes out at 41 per cent, exactly the same as the last poll at the end of May.
Remarkably, the level of support for the two parties that form the Government almost exactly mirrors the last poll with an increase of just 1 per cent to 43 per cent for the combined Coalition parties.
Fine Gael can take some heart from the fact that the slippage in support has been relatively slight despite the travails of government.