Poll finds Sinn Féin is most popular party in State

Dissatisfaction with Gerry Adams’ leadership has grown, survey finds

A new opinion poll has found that Sinn Féin is the most popular party in the State followed by Fine Gael.

Support for Sinn Féin was at 26 per cent four percentage points ahead of Fine Gael at 22 per cent, Fianna Fail at 20 per cent and independents/others at 23 per cent, when `don’t knows’ were excluded’, according to the Millward Brown poll for today’s Sunday Independent.

Support for Gerry Adams’ party is up four percentage points since the last Millward Brown poll in September, despite the party facing questions about the Mairia Cahill controversy in recent weeks.

Ms Cahill, from Belfast, claims in 1997 she was raped as a teenager by a suspected IRA member and then interrogated by the IRA about the matter.

However dissatisfaction with Mr Adams’ leadership has grown and is at 56 per cent, up by eight percentage points since September.

Support for Fine Gael has fallen by 3 percentage points since the last poll, while Labour’s support has fallen by two percentage points since September to 7 per cent. Dissatisfaction with the Government is at 73 per cent, the poll found.

Dissatisfaction with Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny is at 67 per cent, up by 9 percentage points, it found. Dissatisfaction with Tánaiste and Labour Leader Joan Burton has grown to 56 per cent, up 8 percentage points since September.

The result is despite a Budget in recent weeks which brought income tax cuts for many voters. However the Coalition has faced growing public outcry about forthcoming water charges which culminated in yesterday’s mass protests across the country. The protests were supported by Sinn Féin and other left-wing parties.

The poll finds 41 per cent of voters intend to pay water charges when the first bills are received early next year, 25 per cent do not intend to pay.

In the poll of almost 1,000 people taken between October 21st and October 31st voters were asked which party or independent candidate would they give their support to if an election were held tomorrow.

Responding to the poll, Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald said it shows a "very strongly esabilshed trend across all opinion polls" and a deep disaffection with the Government.