Housing and health the most important issues, exit poll shows

Significant differences across the age groups evident on issues

Dubliners talk about the issues and parties that matter to them as voters prepare to go to the polls.


Voters rated housing and health as by far the most important issues in deciding how they voted in the election, according to the Ipsos MRBI exit poll.

For younger voters aged up to 35 housing was by far the most important issue, while for older voters it was health, the results of the poll for The Irish Times, RTÉ, TG4 and UCD show.

Among 18-24-year-olds housing was cited by 33 per cent as the most important issue, while that rose to 38 per cent among the 25-34-year-olds who are most affected by the housing shortage. By contrast 16 per cent of the over 65s thought it was the most important issue.

When it came to health, the trend was the exact opposite with 12 per cent of

18 -24-year-olds rating it as the top issue by comparison with 43 per cent of the over 65s.

This trend of significant differences across the age groups was evident on other issues as well.

While just 6 per cent of all voters said climate change was the most important issue, that figure jumped to 13 per cent among the 18- 24-year-olds, while just 3 per cent of the over 65s though it was most important.

There was a similar response on jobs with 14 per cent of the youngest age cohort citing it as most important, while it was an issue for just 2 per cent of the over 65s.

Pension age

The pension age did not rate as an issue at all for the youngest voters but it was the third most important issue for people aged over 50. At the other end of the scale, crime and Brexit only counted as important with 3 and 1 per cent of the electorate respectively and there were only marginal differences between the age groups.

Asked if they though Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil were right to wrong to rule out going into government with Sinn Féin, 51 per cent of voters said they were wrong, but a majority of people who voted for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil believed their parties were right on the issue.

People were almost equally divided on whether candidate or party was more important in deciding how they voted. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael voters said candidate was more important while Sinn Féin and Green Party voters said it was the party.

Voters were also divided views on whether they put local or national issues first in deciding how to cast their votes. 53 per cent said national issues were more important, while 47 per cent opted for local issues.

National issues

A majority of Fianna Fáil voters identified local issues as most important while Fine Gael and Sinn Féin voters were more inclined to say national issues. Green Party voters were by far the strongest in the view that national issues are more important.

Asked if they had personally benefited from the improvement in the economy in recent years, 63 per cent of people said they had not. Clear majorities across all parties, age groups and regions felt they had not benefited personally.

A majority of 65 per cent to 35 per cent felt that if the next government had extra resources, they should be devoted to improving public services rather than being used to reduce taxes.

Asked when they had made up their minds how to vote, 48 per cent said it was before the campaign even started. A further 28 per cent said they made up their minds during the campaign, 16 per cent in the last couple of days and 8 per cent on the day.