Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll: 44% in favour of general election

Fine Gael maintains lead over its rivals despite a dip in satisfaction with Varadkar

 

Fine Gael maintains a strong lead over its rivals, while support for Sinn Féin almost matches that for Fianna Fáil, according to the latest Irish Times/ Ipsos MRBI opinion poll.

Satisfaction with the Government and the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has slipped since the last poll in April, but Mr Varadkar’s party remains in a strong position as talk of an early election continues.

Voters are split on whether they want to see an extension of the confidence and supply agreement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, or a general election: 46 per cent want an extension; 44 per cent prefer an election.

Most voters feel last week’s budget will make little difference to them, while voters show a marginal preference for more tax cuts rather than the significant increases in public spending announced last week.

The state of the parties, when undecided voters are excluded, is: Fine Gael 33 per cent (up two points compared with the last poll in December); Fianna Fáil 25 per cent (down one); Sinn Féin 24 per cent (up two); Labour 4 per cent (down one); Independents/others 14 per cent (down two).

The poll was conducted on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week among a representative sample of 1,200 voters aged 18 and over in face-to-face interviews at 120 sampling points in all constituencies. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 per cent.

The “core” vote for the parties – that is, before undecideds were excluded – compared with the last Irish Times poll in April, was: Fine Gael 26 per cent (up two); Fianna Fáil 20 per cent (down one); Labour 3 per cent (down one); Sinn Féin 19 per cent (up one); Independents/others 11 per cent (down one). Undecided voters were at 21 per cent, unchanged since the last poll.

The approval ratings for the major party leaders with Taoisceach and leader of Fine Gael Leo Varadkar leading; followed by Fianna Fáil's Michael Martin, Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald and Labour's Brendan Howlin
The approval ratings for the major party leaders with Taoisceach and leader of Fine Gael Leo Varadkar leading; followed by Fianna Fáil's Michael Martin, Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald and Labour's Brendan Howlin

Among the smaller parties and independents, the Green Party is at 2 per cent (down 1) among voters declaring a preference, Solidarity-People Before Profit are at 3 per cent (up 1), the Social Democrats are at 1 per cent (no change), Independents for Change are at 2 per cent (up 1), the Independent Alliance is at 1 per cent (no change), non-party Independents are on 4 per cent (down 2) and other groups and parties are on 2 per cent (no change).

Fianna Fáil supporters are evenly split – 46 per cent each – on whether the confidence and supply agreement should go on; while 70 per cent of those declaring a preference for Fine Gael favour its continuation.

Budget

Nearly a fifth (19 per cent) say the budget will leave them better off, while 14 per cent say they will be worse off. A large majority, however, say it will make no difference.

Asked if the Government was right to favour public spending increases over tax cuts, 42 per cent say the Government was right, while 47 per cent would have preferred more tax cuts.

Government satisfaction declines by five points to 39 per cent since April, while Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s approval rating slips by four points to 51 per cent.

Nationally, Fianna Fáil is a few points ahead of where it was before the 2016 election, though its support in Dublin still lags, at 19 per cent. Party leader Micheál Martin’s satisfaction rating has risen to 39 per cent.