Poll shows Cowen/FF recovery


Taoiseach Brian Cowen and the two Government parties have staged a modest recovery in public support during the past three weeks, according to the latest Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll.

Fianna Fáil has recovered some ground from a record low in the last poll while the Taoiseach has gained eight points following his Late Late Showappearance and his higher visibility during the Lisbon Treaty referendum campaign.

The Green Party has also gained in recent weeks as debate about its future in Government has developed.

Asked if the Greens should pull out of Coalition at their planned convention on October 10th, a majority of voters say they should but the overwhelming majority of party supporters say they should stay in Government.

Among all voters 43 per cent say the Greens should leave office while 34 per cent say they should stay. Among Green Party supporters 74 per cent say the party should stay in while 19 per cent say it should leave.

Satisfaction with the Government has increased by three points to 14 per cent, but 81 per cent still express dissatisfaction with its performance. A majority of Fianna Fáil and Green Party supporters remain dissatisfied with their own Government’s performance. Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s satisfaction rating is up eight points to 23 per cent but 70 per cent of voters are still dissatisfied with the way he is doing his job.

When people were asked who they would vote for if there were a general election tomorrow, the adjusted figures for party support, compared with the last Irish Timespoll on September 3rd, were: Fianna Fáil, 20 per cent (up three points); Fine Gael, 31 per cent (down three points); Labour, 25 per cent (up one point); Sinn Féin, 9 per cent (down one point); Green Party, 4 per cent (up one point); and Independents/others, 11 per cent (down one point).

The poll was taken on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week among a representative sample of 1,000 voters aged 18 and over in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all 43 constituencies. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 per cent.

The core vote for the parties (before undecided voters are excluded) compared with the last Irish Times poll was: Fianna Fáil, 18 per cent (up two points); Fine Gael, 23 per cent (down three points); Labour, 18 per cent (no change); Sinn Féin, 9 per cent (no change); Green Party, 3 per cent (up one point); Independents/Others, 8 per cent (down one point); and undecided voters 21 per cent (up one point).

Despite some recovery in its support Fianna Fáil remains in third place in terms of the adjusted vote and is level with Labour when it comes to core support. Despite losing support for the third Irish Timespoll in a row Fine Gael still maintains the position it achieved in local and European elections in June as the biggest party in the country.

Labour remains the biggest party in Dublin and it has also taken over as the most popular party among the AB social category where it edges out Fine Gael. Labour’s lowest level of support comes from the least well off DE voters.

By contrast Fine Gael is now the most popular party among DE voters where it has overtaken Fianna Fáil.

The Green Party’s share of the vote has gone up by a point while the satisfaction with the party leader, John Gormley, has gone up three points. Of more significance is the fact almost three-quarters of Green voters favour remaining in Coalition.

Brian Cowen’s satisfaction rating has increased significantly mainly due to a strong showing among Fianna Fáil voters with 67 per cent of them saying they are satisfied and just 28 per cent dissatisfied.

Among supporters of all other parties, including the Greens, a majority are dissatisfied with Mr Cowen’s performance.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny’s rating has improved by three points to 32 per cent, despite the drop in party support and he is now well ahead of both Coalition party leaders. Labour leader Eamon Gilmore remains by far the most popular political figure on 45 per cent but his rating has dropped three points since the last poll.

The Sinn Féin vote has declined by one point during the height of the Lisbon Treaty referendum campaign where it is the only Dáil party campaigning for a No vote. Satisfaction with party president Gerry Adams remains at 28 per cent, the rating he achieved in the last TNS mrbi poll.