The Irish Times view on the Ipsos/MRBI poll: Fine Gael still in the driving seat

Leo Varadkar’s party is in a strong position, but the poll leaves open the question as to who will form the next government

The electorate is almost equally divided on whether the confidence and supply arrangement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail should be extended or whether the country should have an immediate general election, according to the Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll. Photograph: Alan Betson

The electorate is almost equally divided on whether the confidence and supply arrangement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail should be extended or whether the country should have an immediate general election, according to the Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The dramatic events of the past week have not changed the political landscape to any significant extent, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll, which shows a modest rise in support for both Fine Gael and Sinn Féin.

The poll was taken immediately after the budget while the Dáil was in the throes of the Denis Naughten departure but neither event appears to have altered the political mood.

An interesting feature of the poll is that the electorate is almost equally divided on whether the confidence-and-supply arrangement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil should be extended or whether the country should have an immediate general election.

There is an irony here in that Fine Gael supporters are far more strongly in favour of an extension of the deal than supporters of any other party even though the pressure for an early election appears to be coming mainly from Fine Gael Ministers.

Reaction to the budget is neutral, with 62 per cent of people saying it will make no difference, 19 per cent saying they will be better off and just 14 per cent feeling worse off. In political terms the low number feeling worse off is a plus for the Government.

However, the budget strategy of focusing resources on improving public services rather than cutting taxes has not enthused the voters, with a majority favouring tax cuts instead. Only Fine Gael supporters approve of the strategy while a majority of Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin voters would have preferred tax cuts.

In party political terms Fine Gael will be happy with a two point rise to 33 per cent. The party has been polling consistently in the low to mid 30 per cent range since Leo Varadkar took over as leader.

Fianna Fáil has slipped one point to 25 per cent since the last poll in April and it too has developed a consistent pattern of support in the mid to high 20 per cent range. By contrast Sinn Féin has risen to 24 per cent, a level of support it has not seen in an Irish Times poll since March 2015.

The Labour Party remains in the doldrums, falling back one point to just 4 per cent, while support for Independents and smaller parties has dropped by two points to 14 per cent, which is less than half the share of the vote they achieved at the last election.

While the satisfaction rating of the Government has dropped since the last poll, Varadkar remains the most popular party leader with a rating of 51 per cent, well ahead of his rivals.

Overall the poll indicates that Fine Gael is in a strong position to enhance its status as the biggest party in the Dáil in the event of an early election, but it leaves open the question as to who will form the next government.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.