Irish Times poll: Fine Gael on course to be biggest party

Labour decline means Coalition faces uphill battle to secure second term

 

Fine Gael is on course to be the biggest party in the Dáil by far after the general election, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.

It shows support for the party has risen since September with the satisfaction rating of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Government also up.

However, support for the Labour Party has declined marginally since the last Irish Times poll in September, and between them the Coalition parties are still short of the support required to be certain of a second successive term.

Sinn Féin support has increased since the last poll while support for Fianna Fáil and Independents/Others has declined a little.

In a question about post-election coalition options, voters were asked with whom they would least like to see their preferred party going into government with.

Sinn Féin emerged as the least preferred option from supporters of all of other parties and Independents.

Fianna Fáil voters preferred Fine Gael to Sinn Féin by a margin of two to one.

Sample

When people were asked who they would vote for if an election was held tomorrow, party support – when undecideds are excluded – compared with the last Irish Times poll in September was: Fine Gael, 30 per cent (up two points); Labour, 7 per cent (down one ); Fianna Fáil, 19 per cent (down one); Sinn Féin, 21 per cent (up two) and Independents/Others, 23 per cent (down two).

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 core vote for the parties – before undecideds are excluded – compared with the last poll was: Fine Gael, 24 per cent (up three); Labour, 5 per cent (down two); Fianna Fáil, 15 per cent (down one); Sinn Féin, 17 per cent (up two); Independents/Others, 19 per cent (no change) and undecided voters, 20 per cent (down two points).

Options

Voters who said they supported Independents/Others were then given a range of options to choose from.

The Shane Ross-led Independent group received support from 3 per cent; People Before Profit/Anti Austerity Alliance, Renua and the Social Democrats were on 2 per cent each, with Others receiving support from 5 per cent of those surveyed. The Green Party was on 2 per cent.

The party to get most encouragement from the poll is Fine Gael but the one-point decline in Labour support to 7 per cent means the Coalition faces an uphill battle to win a second successive term.

There is good news for Sinn Féin with the party up two points since the last poll.

This is coupled with a gain of four points in the satisfaction rating of leader Gerry Adams to 30 per cent.

Sinn Féin has edged back in front of Fianna Fáil and that will cause some worry in the main Opposition party as the election looms ever closer.