‘Irish Times’ poll: Almost half voters happy with Varadkar

Fine Gael leads Fianna Fáil by two points with support up to 31%, Ipsos MRBI survey finds

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: Almost half of voters  say they are satisfied with the way he  is doing his job, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: Almost half of voters say they are satisfied with the way he is doing his job, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Voters approve of Leo Varadkar but want his Government to do a better job, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll.

Almost half of voters (49 per cent) say they are satisfied with Mr Varadkar, significantly ahead of all his rivals, while 45 per cent believe he has made a “positive impact” on the performance of the Government. Just 14 per cent believe he has made a “negative impact”.

The percentage of people who expressed support for the main parties in the ‘Irish Times’/Ipsos MRBI poll
The percentage of people who expressed support for the main parties in the ‘Irish Times’/Ipsos MRBI poll

However, voters are less happy with the performance of the Government. Just 36 per cent of voters say they are satisfied with the Government while just 37 per cent of voters say that the current Government arrangements, with Fine Gael facilitated by Fianna Fáil, are working well.

Some 44 per cent of voters say the current arrangements are not working well.

However, voters are clear that they do not want a general election. Asked if there should be an election now or “should there not be an election for a year or two”, just 31 per cent said they were in favour of an election now. Twice as many voters say there should not be an election for a year or two.

Today’s poll shows little movement in party support since the last poll in May. There are small gains for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, and marginal declines for the other parties.

Party support

When people were asked who they would vote for in a general election, party support, excluding undecided voters, was: Fine Gael, 31 per cent (up one point compared with the result of the May poll); Fianna Fáil, 29 per cent (up two); Labour, 4 per cent (down one); Sinn Féin, 19 per cent (down one) and Independents/Others, 17 per cent (down one).

The core vote for the parties – that is, before undecideds were excluded – compared with the last Irish Times poll in May was: Fine Gael, 23 per cent (down two); Fianna Fáil, 22 per cent (no change); Labour, 4 per cent (no change); Sinn Féin, 15 per cent (down two); Independents/Others, 15 per cent (no change). Undecided voters are up by four points to 21 per cent.

Among the smaller parties, the Greens are on 3 per cent, Solidarity-People before Profit are on 2 per cent, the Social Democrats are on 2 per cent, Independents for Change are on 1 per cent, the Independent Alliance is on 1 per cent, other groups and parties are on 1 per cent and non-party Independents are on 7 per cent.

The poll 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.

Steady increases

While all the movements in party support are within the margin of error, the poll continues a trend of steady increases in support for Fine Gael over the last 12 months. Fianna Fáil has also gained in the last 12 months, while support for the Independents and small parties has shown a sharp falling-off.

The percentage of voters who said they were satisfied with the way the party leaders are doing their jobs
The percentage of voters who said they were satisfied with the way the party leaders are doing their jobs

This is the first Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll since Mr Varadkar became Taoiseach, and the numbers are encouraging for Fine Gael. This is the strongest showing for the party in the polling series since 2012, and Mr Varadkar’s personal ratings are also very strong.

In contrast with Mr Varadkar’s 49 per cent satisfaction rating, the rating for the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin (37 per cent), the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams (30 per cent) and the Labour leader Brendan Howlin (20 per cent) all declined marginally since May.

Despite their dissatisfaction with Government, a majority of voters (51 per cent) say that the country is “generally going in the right direction”.