Three-quarters of voters say they want to see a change of government at the general election, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll.
More than half of voters (55 per cent) say the country is going in the wrong direction. And asked their preference for taoiseach, there is little between Leo Varadkar (24 per cent), Micheál Martin (23 per cent) and Mary Lou McDonald (20 per cent).
The poll was taken last Thursday, Friday and Saturday among 1,200 respondents at 120 sampling points across all Dáil constituencies. The margin of error is estimated at plus or minus 2.8 per cent.
The poll shows a strong mood for change among the electorate.
It shows that 38 per cent of voters agree “the Government has not made enough progress in important areas and it is time for a change”. A further 37 per cent agree “it is time for a radical change of direction for the country”, making 75 per cent of all voters in favour of some or radical change.
Just one-fifth of respondents (20 per cent) agree with the statement: “The Government has made progress in important areas and deserves to be allowed get on with the job of securing a better future.”
Taken together, the responses suggest that voters are at present, albeit with more than two weeks to go, preparing to seek a change of government. It suggests that it will be difficult for Fine Gael to overturn the slim Fianna Fáil lead identified in the poll and published last night.
Younger voters and the better off are most in favour of change, while even a quarter of Fine Gael voters say they are in favour of some sort of change.
Any respite for Fine Gael?
The mood for change is further illustrated when voters are asked their view about the direction of the country. Just 35 per cent of voters say that the country is “generally going in the right direction” while 55 per cent say it is “generally going in the wrong direction”.
There is some respite for Fine Gael when voters are asked their preference for taoiseach – Leo Varadkar remains the favourite choice at 24 per cent. But he is just marginally ahead of his rivals. Mr Varadkar commands a strong lead (30 per cent) among respondents in Dublin, Leinster and among wealthier voters, while Mr Martin is favourite with Munster voters, farmers and older voters.