Poll analysis: support for Government parties rallies despite budget
Fianna Fáil will see poll rating as a little disappointing as it is exactly the same as in the last poll
The demographic base of Fine Gael’s support indicates it could win well in excess of 30 per cent if an election had been held this week
The revival in support for both Government parties since the autumn is the main feature of today’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.
Almost three years into its term of office, the Coalition can now aspire to winning a second term at the next general election. Fine Gael will be very happy it has now moved back into the 30 per cent range, if only just. For the past year the party has been polling in the 24-26 per cent range so the recovery to 30 per cent is important, particularly with the local and European elections coming in May.
In regional terms, the party’s support is strongest in Connacht-Ulster, where it is on 39 per cent, followed by Munster and the rest of Leinster, where it is about 30 per cent. Dublin, where it gets 25 per cent, is the party’s weakest region but it is still ahead of all other parties in the capital. Considering Fine Gael was almost wiped out in Dublin in 2002, its recovery there has been critical to its new status as the biggest party in the country.
In class terms, Fine Gael is away out in front among the better-off AB voters, where it is on 46 per cent. It is also the biggest party among middle-class C1 voters, where it gets 33 per cent, and among farmers, where it gets 51 per cent support. Among working-class C2 and DE voters Fine Gael gets just over 20 per cent.
In age terms, it does best among over-50s, while it does worst among 18-24 year olds.
Overall, the demographic base of the party’s support indicates it could win well in excess of 30 per cent if an election had been held this week. Its strength among middle-class voters, farmers and the over-50s, who normally turn out to vote in big numbers, gives it a very solid base.
The increase in satisfaction with Taoiseach Enda Kenny is another plus for the party, while the sharp rise in the Government’s satisfaction rating, from an admittedly low base, is further evidence that Fine Gael can aspire to holding its supporters over the next two years.
There is also good news for Labour in the poll, although its standing in the last poll was remarkably low at 6 per cent.
The increase to 9 per cent is a significant comeback by the party, although it still has a long way to go to get near the support it had in the last election. Labour’s strongest regions are Dublin and the rest of Leinster, where it is on 11 per cent, followed by Munster on 8 per cent, and Connacht-Ulster at 5 per cent. The party will need to do significantly better in all of those regions if it is to have any chance of winning a seat in the European Parliament elections next May.