The three Coalition parties have seen a rebound in support since the summer, with voters taking a more positive view of the Government and of the country’s prospects, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos opinion poll.
Support for all three Government parties has risen, with Fine Gael seeing a four-point increase since the last poll in July, while Fianna Fáil and the Green Party see a marginal increase of one point.
Support for the Opposition declines, with Sinn Féin and Labour losing a point each and Independents/others falling away by four points, driven by a sharp four-point fall for Independents.
But despite the marginal fall in support, Sinn Féin remains by far the most popular party, 13 points ahead of Fine Gael and 14 ahead of Fianna Fáil.
The state of the parties, when undecided voters and those who will not vote are excluded, is as follows: Sinn Féin 35 per cent (down one); Fianna Fáil 21 per cent (up one); Fine Gael 22 per cent (up four); Green Party 4 per cent (up one); Labour 3 per cent (down one); and Independents/others 16 per cent (down four).
Among the Independents and smaller parties, the results are as follows: Social Democrats 3 per cent (up one); Solidarity-People Before Profit 2 per cent (down one); Aontú 1 per cent (no change); and Independents 10 per cent (down four). Rounding may affect the totals.
The comparisons are with the most recent Irish Times/Ipsos poll in July. The number of undecided voters — excluded from the above figures — is 23 per cent, an increase of three points since July.
The results show that the public mood towards the Coalition has softened since the summer, despite the continuing cost-of-living crisis, suggesting that the multibillion-euro expendidture in the budget has begun to take effect.
In the budget, which was announced in late September, the Coalition unveiled an unprecedented range of tax cuts, spending increases and one-off supports to assist people with the cost-of-living crisis. The supports have already begun to kick in, with a double welfare payment being paid to almost 1.4 million people last week. Both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have seen increases in support among less well-off voters and among older voters.
The satisfaction ratings for the three Coalition leaders and for the Government as a whole have also jumped noticeably since the summer.
Satisfaction with the Government has increased by nine points, to 40 per cent, since July, while Taoiseach Micheál Martin has seen his personal rating jump by five points to 45. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is up by eight points to 44 per cent and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan is up by five to 20 per cent. Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald sees her approval rating increase slightly by two points to 45 per cent.
Voters remain pessimistic about the general direction of the country, with a majority of all voters (51 per cent) saying that they believe the country is “generally going in the wrong direction”, with 37 per cent saying it is going in the right direction and 12 per cent expressing no opinion. But while this is a 14 per cent net negative finding, it represents an improvement from July when the net negative finding was 30 per cent. It is further evidence that the public mood has eased somewhat since mid-summer.
The poll was conducted among 1,200 adults at 120 sampling points across all constituencies between October 23rd-25th. Respondents were interviewed at their own homes. And the accuracy is estimated at plus or minus 2.8 per cent.