Massive surge in support for Fianna Fáil, poll shows

New ‘Irish Times’/Ipsos MRBI poll reveals significant losses for the Independents

 

There has been a massive surge in support for Fianna Fáil since the party decided to back a minority government from the Opposition benches, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.

It is the highest rating achieved by the party in an Irish Times poll since before the financial crisis eight years ago.

The poll also shows that Micheál Martin is easily the most popular of the party leaders.

Fine Gael and the Labour Party have slipped since the general election but the big losers have been Independents and Others whose support has dropped significantly since February.

The poll was taken on Monday and Tuesday of this week when the Independent Alliance Ministers were at odds with their Government colleagues over abortion and the fallout from the UK referendum continued to dominate the headlines.

Asked about the Brexit decision in the British referendum, a massive majority (81 per cent) thought the British were wrong to vote leave and there was overwhelming support for Ireland remaining in the European Union.

Party support

When people were asked who they would vote for in a general election, party support – when undecideds are excluded – compared with the result of the general election on February 28th was: Fine Gael, 24 per cent (down two points); Fianna Fáil, 33 per cent (up nine); Labour, 5 per cent (down two points); Sinn Féin, 16 per cent (up two) and Independents/ Others, 22 per cent (down eight).

The survey was conducted 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 Irish Times poll on February 21st was: Fine Gael, 20 per cent (down two); Fianna Fáil, 27 per cent (up nine); Labour, 4 per cent (down one); Sinn Féin, 15 per cent (up one); Independents/Others, 18 per cent (down six) and undecided voters, 16 per cent (down two points).

The outstanding feature of the poll is the massive increase in support for Fianna Fáil since the general election.

It has recovered significant ground across all age groups and social classes but it is particularly evident among working-class voters and over-65s.

The jump in Mr Martin’s satisfaction rating to 43 per cent puts him well ahead of all other party leaders.

Fine Gael support

Retaining power after the inconclusive general election has not improved Fine Gael’s standing with the party’s support slipping a little since then.

It retains a significant lead over other parties among AB voters but is behind in all other social categories and age groups.

It is still marginally the biggest party in Dublin, just ahead of Fianna Fáil, but there is no sign of a recovery to the support it had between 2008 to 2012.

The same applies to the Labour Party despite its decision to go into Opposition. The party is down on its very poor general election performance and new party leader Brendan Howlin has only improved marginally on Joan Burton’s rating.

Sinn Féin is up two points since the general election but the party has not capitalised significantly on the decline in support for Independents as often happened in the past.

Independents and most of the smaller parties are down on their general election performance. The one exception is the Green Party with 4 per cent.