Private polling research by the Labour Party has given it hope that it could capitalise on concerns of a large block of non-Coalition supporters that a change in government might damage the economic recovery.
The research, conducted for the party by Red C and seen by the The Irish Times, shows that a block of 16 per cent of all voters (who say they are non-Government supporters) worry that a new government might stall the recovery.
Separate findings in the poll also show that 71 per cent of undecided voters believe the country is on the right track, although a majority of non-Coalition supporters believe they have not felt the benefit of the recovery.
The research also discloses potentially solid transfers between the Coalition parties, with 53 per cent of Labour supporters stating they will transfer lower preferences to Fine Gael, and 41 per cent of the latter's supporters saying they will transfer to Labour.
Labour’s support in Dublin is at 14 per cent compared to 9 per cent nationally, suggesting, if the poll findings are accurate, that the party will be in a position to defend seats it holds in most constituencies in the capital.
The research, conducted last week among 1,000 adults nationwide, offers Labour hope that support for the Government parties may increase in the weeks before polling day.
A number of Labour TDs said yesterday they were confident the party could win 15-20 seats in the general election, based on more positive feedback from constituency canvasses.
Privately, many Labour TDs believe the party must win at least 15 seats to persuade its membership to enter another coalition. They point to the experience of the Progressive Democrats, which lost all but two of its seats in 2007.
Back in the mix
TD Derek Nolan, for one, said he believes he is back in the mix for a seat in the five-seat constituency.
“I think we may be closer to winning 20 seats overall myself,” Mr Nolan said. “On my canvassing on the ground, I no longer sense that people think we are finished or can be written off.”
In Dublin Mid West, Joanna Tuffy said there was far more openness to the Labour Party now than previously.
“In the local elections they gave us a kicking on the doorsteps,” she said. “But the engagement is better. I am relatively happy and feel I have a battle on my hands. I feel momentum going towards us.
“They are saying we want the Government returned,” she said. “That means Fine Gael for a lot. It’s our job to persuade them to vote Labour as well.”
Sinn Féin target
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin is targeting 18 seats in a bid to double its Dáil representation, including second seats in
and a number of Dublin constituencies. However, a senior party official insists internal polls suggest it could win 30.
Ten candidates are highlighted in constituencies where the party has not had Dáil deputies before, including Eoin Ó Broin in Dublin Mid West, Maurice Quinlivan in Limerick City, and one of its two candidates (Micheál Mac Donncha or Denise Mitchell) in Dublin Bay North.
Sinn Féin has hopes as well for Paul Donnelly in Dublin West; Trevor Ó Clochartaigh in Galway West; Chris Andrews in Dublin Bay South; John Dwyer in Wicklow; Kathleen Funchion in Carlow-Kilkenny; Paul Hogan in Longford-Westmeath; and David Cullinane in Waterford.