How Sinn Féin managed to pull off its unprecedented breakthrough

Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI data can help explain the party’s success in Election 2020

Mary Lou McDonald’s personal satisfaction ratings rose from 30% to 41% during the election campaign as those of Leo Varadkar (C) and Micheál Martin declined steadily. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Mary Lou McDonald’s personal satisfaction ratings rose from 30% to 41% during the election campaign as those of Leo Varadkar (C) and Micheál Martin declined steadily. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Sinn Féin’s extraordinary success in last weekend’s election is the biggest disruption to the political duopoly that the State has ever experienced.

Some parallels may be drawn with the Spring Tide of 1992. However, what happened last Saturday is unprecedented. The result of the general election in 1992 saw the Labour Party merely close the gap with the two larger parties – both in terms of vote share and number of Dáil seats – albeit temporarily. This time is clearly different.

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