Poll bounce for Fine Gael as support continues to rise

Fianna Fáil popularity up but Labour static and support for SF and Independents falls

Enda Kenny: the ‘Irish Times’/Ipsos MRBI poll asked who people would vote for if an election were held tomorrow: the results were Fine Gael 28%; Labour 7%; Fianna Fáil 20%; Sinn Féin 21%; and Independents/Others 24%. Photograph: INPHO/Billy Stickland

Enda Kenny: the ‘Irish Times’/Ipsos MRBI poll asked who people would vote for if an election were held tomorrow: the results were Fine Gael 28%; Labour 7%; Fianna Fáil 20%; Sinn Féin 21%; and Independents/Others 24%. Photograph: INPHO/Billy Stickland

 

With less than a year to go to the general election support for Fine Gael is continuing to rise and satisfaction with the Government is at its highest level in four years, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.

The poll also shows an increase in Fianna Fáil support and a decline for Sinn Féin. The Labour Party has remained static since the last poll in March, while support for Independents and smaller parties has continued to drop.

When people were asked who they would vote for if an election were held tomorrow, party support – when undecideds are excluded – compared with the last Irish Times poll in December was: Fine Gael, 28 per cent (up four points); Labour, 7 per cent (no change); Fianna Fáil, 20 per cent (up three points); Sinn Féin, 21 per cent (down three points); and Independents/Others, 24 per cent (down four points).

The survey was undertaken last Wednesday and Thursday 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, 22 per cent (up four points); Labour, 6 per cent (up one point); Fianna Fáil, 15 per cent (up two points); Sinn Féin, 17 per cent (down one point); Independents/Others, 19 per cent (down three); and undecided voters, 21 per cent (down three).

The jump of four points for Fine Gael, coming after an increase of five points in the last poll, will give the party confidence that it has a real chance of retaining power in the next election.

Bounced back

The party has now bounced back from its 12-year low last December following a series of controversies that dogged the Coalition throughout 2014.

Satisfaction with the Government is up five points to 30 per cent, the highest rating for the Coalition since October 2011.

The satisfaction rating for Taoiseach Enda Kenny has also continued its upward momentum and he is now level with Tánaiste Joan Burton as the most popular party leader. While Ms Burton will be happy with her rating, the failure of the Labour Party to benefit from her high standing and the increasing popularity of the Government is ominous.

The poll contains good news for Fianna Fáil, with the party gaining three points since March and closing the gap with Sinn Féin to just one point.Sinn Féin support has declined by three points.