Election 2016: Majority want change of government, poll shows

Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll reveals only 30% of voters want Coalition re-elected

The scale of the electoral challenge facing the Coalition is revealed by the finding in the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll that 63 per cent of voters want to see a change of government.

Asked if they would like to see the Government re-elected or have a change in government, 63 per cent opted for a change, with 30 per cent saying they would like to see the Coalition re-elected.

There was a huge variation across the party spectrum, with 84 per cent of Fine Gael supporters wanting to see the Government re-elected but only 57 per cent of Labour voters wanting it to continue.

Supporters of Opposition parties and Independents wanted to see a change.


There was a significant difference in class terms, with a majority of those in the AB category wanting the Government to be re-elected.

Across all other social categories there was a preference for change, and that mood was particularly strong among the poorest DE voters.

In spite of the desire for change, only 12 per cent of people thought an alternative coalition of Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin was a likely outcome of the election.

Just 12 per cent of Fianna Fáil voters thought this was likely, though 39 per cent of Sinn Fein voters saw it as a likely outcome.

Despite the desire for a change of government, some 64 per cent of people expressed the view that Fine Gael would actually be in power again in some combination or other after the election.

From the variety of options offered, 42 per cent of voters said it was likely Fine Gael and Labour would be in government either on their own or with the support of others.

Another 22 per cent said it was likely Fine Gael would be involved in some other coalition combination, with 9 per cent believing this would involve Fianna Fáil.


The survey was conducted on Monday and Tuesday of this week among a representative sample of 1,200 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 2.8 per cent.

The poll comes as party leaders and candidates engaged in spirited exchanges on the first full day of campaigning.

Speaking at the launch of the Fine Gael long-term economic plan, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said his party was the only one with a clear long-term strategy.

He attacked Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin, saying their high tax policies would bring the recovery to a “shuddering halt”.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, on a visit to Waterford hospital, accused the Government of failing abysmally to deliver on what it promised five years ago, instead creating chaos and instability in the health service.

Tánaiste Joan Burton said Labour’s jobs plan would ensure a job for everybody who wants one by 2018, while Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said if people really wanted change they should vote for his party.

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins is a columnist with and former political editor of The Irish Times