Four point recovery for Government parties in latest opinion poll
Independent candidates and smaller partiessee support fall, while Sinn Féin plateaues
Labour Party leader Joan Burton and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny (centre) have seen support for th Coalition parties grow, while support for Gerry Adams’s Sinn Féin is flat.
The two Coalition parties show signs of recovering some of the support they have lost in the past year, according to the latest opinion poll.
Fine Gael is now at 26 per cent and Labour has climbed to 9 per cent. The figures represent the best showing for both parties in this series of opinion polls since January 2014.
Labour will also take comfort from a discernible increase in its support in Dublin and in Munster where its support levels are now 12 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.
The poll shows a pattern of incremental recovery for the Government parties since the local and European elections in May.
If this trend continues, Labour may be in a position to limit its losses - in some opinion polls towards the end of last year, commentators were predicting the party might lost almost all of its seats.
The slight upsurge comes at the expense of independents and smaller parties whose support has fallen marginally - down three points from 28 per cent to 25 per cent.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the figures for Sinn Féin which showed its support has plateaued for several months at 21 per cent.
The party may have expected a boost from its successful Árd Fheis in Derry at the weekend. However, that may have been affected by the two controversies that beset the party in quick succession.
The first was the row over social welfare and public sector cuts in the North where Sinn Féin is in a power-sharing government.
The second related to the allegations of sexual abuse by an IRA man made by Co Louth man Paudie McGahon on the BBC Spotlight programme.
However, some of the sampling of the 1,004 respondents took place before the programme was broadcast on Tuesday night.
The results present a problem for Fianna Fáil. Its support levels have fallen by one point to 17 per cent.
The party’s support has hardly budged in successive Red C polls since it recorded 21 per cent in January last year. The party’s mediocre poll showing is also reflected in unspectacular performance assessments for leader Micheál Martin among those polled.
On the same-sex marriage referendum, a substantial majority of respondents said they would vote Yes, 78 per cent excluding undecided voters, compared to 22 per cent who said No.
However, there is a pattern which shows more of the small share which had previously said ‘don’t no’ were moving onto the No side.