There is continuing strong public support for Ukraine in the face of energy shortages but voters are concerned about the number of refugees arriving here, the latest Irish Times/Ipsos opinion poll finds.
An overwhelming majority of voters (72 per cent) say that Ireland and the EU “must continue to stand by Ukraine even if this means energy shortages”, with just 20 per cent disagreeing with the statement.
However, 61 per cent say they are concerned that there are “too many refugees coming here”, with 34 per cent disagreeing. And more than half of voters (56 per cent) disagree that Ireland should continue to accept refugees from Ukraine “no matter how many arrive”, while 36 per cent agreed.
The poll comes amid attempts by the Government to find accommodation for refugees from the war in Ukraine who continue to arrive daily at Dublin airport. Shortages of available accommodation have left some Ukrainians sleeping at the airport as Government agencies scramble to find places for them to go.
The poll also shows that concerns over the cost of living have eased somewhat in recent months, with a strong majority of people (61 per cent) saying that the budget will help them, while 27 per cent said it would not.
Compared to responses to similar questions in the last poll in July, today’s data show not just that concerns have eased slightly, but that voters are less likely to point the finger at the Government — likely to be a contributing factor in the increase in support for the Coalition parties reported in The Irish Times on Thursday.
There has been a five-point drop in the number of people who say that increases in the cost of living have made it “a lot more difficult to manage financially”, down from 49 per cent in July to 44 per cent today. There has been a smaller increase in the proportion of people who say it has become “a little more difficult”, up from 41 per cent to 44 per cent. Those who say they are “not having any difficulties at all” are up from 10 per cent to 11 per cent.
There has also been a five-point drop in the proportion of respondents who agree that “the Government is responsible for cost-of-living increases”, down from 54 per cent to 49 per cent, while the number of those who say that mounting costs are “largely out of the Government’s hands” rises by seven points, from 38 per cent in July to 45 per cent today.
What about housing?
Worries about further inflation have also diminished, the poll suggests. While a majority of respondents (59 per cent) fear that “Government action could make inflation worse”, this number has also reduced by five points since July. Concern that wage increases could add to inflation also drops, from 52 per cent to 48 per cent.
On housing, overwhelming majorities of voters continue to say that they want to see supply increase “even if it means house prices were to fall” (90 per cent) and that the Government should build social housing “even if there are local objections” (83 per cent). These findings are very similar to those for identical questions in July.
Similarly, just 28 per cent (up a point since the last poll) say they are “personally affected” by the housing crisis, with 71 per cent saying they are not affected.
There is some consolation for the Government on its most challenging issue, with a slight improvement in the perception of its performance on housing — 31 per cent of people say it is “making progress”, an increase of four points. Those who say the Government is not making progress falls by four points, to 61 per cent.
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.