The Coalition will “go the full distance” and will not have a “knee-jerk” reaction to this morning’s Irish Times poll that showed a nosedive in support, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said.
The latest Irish Times/Ipsos poll shows support for the Coalition has slumped in recent months as the rising cost of living has squeezed voters. The Government’s satisfaction rating has fallen by 12 points, from 43 per cent in April to 31 per cent today, the lowest rating since the Government was formed two years ago.
“You know me and polls. What is interesting in the poll is that this is an in-person poll, and I think it’s clear now that there’s a very strong contrast, to say the least, between the in-person polls and internet panel polling, particularly in relation to our party. So we’ve been in around 20 per cent consistently now in the in-person polling for quite some time,” he said outside Government Buildings on Thursday.
“So for us, there is a platform there. We were at 22 per cent in the general election. So I look at it in that context. But I have to emphasise though from my perspective, I don’t allow opinion polls to dictate the Government’s approach to issues,” Mr Martin said.
“And I think one of the challenges and dangers can be if people respond too quickly or in a knee-jerk manner, it leads to short termism in terms of Government decisions and policies.”
“I’ve always seen this as a Government that goes the full distance. I am heartened by the confidence vote the other day with a very substantial gap between Government and Opposition, which indicates to me that the majority of deputies in the Dáil want to see out the mandate of this Dáil and this Government to effect real change. You can only affect real change if you have policy decisions that have the timeline and that are more future delivered than a short term perspective.”
Mr Martin said he wanted to emphasise the Irish electorate will not allow “a coronation”, referring to questions about Sinn Féin’s popularity.
“I said this before 2016 when the predictions were that we would be ‘also-rans’ as a party and that we wouldn’t be significant players in that general election. I remember saying in an ardfheis that Ireland does not do coronations. We are a democratic country, opinion polls are not general elections. Elections take on dynamics all of their own as we found out the last general election. So it’ll be a very dynamic and competitive election when it happens. But it’s about two-and-a-half to three years.
Asked if his message was “don’t write us off yet” he said: “I’ve said that for 10 years.”
Fianna Fáil has dropped by three points to 20 per cent since the last poll in April, while the four-point fall in support for Fine Gael leaves that party with its lowest rating in the Ipsos series (previously MRBI) since 1994.
Satisfaction with the Government and its leaders has also nosedived. The Government’s rating has fallen by 12 points, from 43 per cent in April to 31 per cent today, the lowest rating since the Government was formed two years ago.
The biggest winner is Sinn Féin, which sees its support grow by three points to 36 per cent, its highest level in this series.