Irish Times Poll: Health and housing most important issues for voters

Economy, climate, Brexit register far lower when voters asked what should be prioritised

Health and housing remain the voters' most important issues, with the economy, climate change and Brexit barely registering when they are asked what should be the priority for the next government, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll.

However, voters also want the next government to reduce taxes if it has resources to spare, with almost a fifth of voters (18 per cent) saying they want most available resources to be used to reduce taxes and 52 per cent preferring “a little” of the available resources to be used for that purpose.

Some 27 per cent of respondents do not wish to see taxes reduced at all.

The poll was taken on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of last week among 1,200 respondents in every constituency. The margin of error is estimated at 2.8 per cent.

The results confirm the dominant issues of the campaign as health and housing, and suggest that voters expect action on these fronts by the next government.

Asked to pick one from a list of issues, 42 per cent of respondents said that health was the issue that should be a priority for the incoming taoiseach, with 34 per cent nominating housing.

Just 12 per cent said the economy should be the priority issue, while 6 per cent said climate change and 3 per cent said Brexit.

Urban voters and younger voters are more concerned with housing, while rural voters and older voters give health a higher priority.

Housing is the number one priority for almost half of voters in Dublin (49 per cent), while concern declines outside the capital.

In the rest of Leinster (47 per cent), Munster (49 per cent) and Connacht-Ulster (47 per cent), voters say health should be the number one priority for the next government.

Division

There is also a division between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael voters and the supporters of other parties on the housing issue.

While just a quarter of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail voters say housing should be the number one priority for the next government, the number rises sharply among voters from the other parties – to 45 per cent of Sinn Féin voters and 46 per cent of Labour voters.

Voters were also asked what the next government should do if it has resources to spare – use most of it to reduce taxes, use a little to reduce taxes or not reduce taxes at all.

A large majority are in favour of some tax cuts – 70 per cent say that the government should use either most or a little of the extra resources for this purpose. However, by far the greater portion are in favour of minor tax cuts – 52 per cent say the government should use a little of the extra resources to reduce taxes, with 18 per cent saying most of the available resources should be used for this purpose.

Perhaps surprisingly, the party most in favour of using most of the available resources to reduce taxes was Sinn Féin – 26 per cent of its voters choosing this option.