Support for Fine Gael and for Sinn Féin has dropped, while Fianna Fáil and the Social Democrats both see a boost in the latest Irish Times/Ipsos opinion poll.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also sees his personal rating fall sharply in a poll that is unlikely to ease nerves in Fine Gael. The party has not been lower in the Ipsos (previously MRBI) series of polls since 1994, and has only been at this level – 18 per cent – once since the last election.
The findings come against the background of calls for tax cuts in the next budget by senior Fine Gael figures, including the Taoiseach, and amid continuing pressures in housing, healthcare and on the cost of living.
Sinn Féin maintains a substantial lead over its rivals and remains the most popular party by some distance. However, party support has fallen to its lowest level in two years.
Fianna Fáil support increases by three points to 21 per cent, while the Social Democrats see support also jump by three points to 5 per cent in the first Irish Times poll since Holly Cairns took over as leader in March.
The state of the parties, when undecided voters and those who will not vote are excluded, is as follows: Sinn Féin 31 per cent (down four); Fianna Fáil 21 per cent (up three); Fine Gael 18 per cent (down four); Green Party 4 per cent (no change); Labour 4 per cent (no change); Social Democrats 5 per cent (up three); and Independents/others 17 per cent (up two).
Among the Independents and smaller parties the results are as follows: Solidarity-People Before Profit 2 per cent (up one); Aontú 1 per cent (up one); and Independents 14 per cent (no change). Rounding may affect the totals.
The comparisons are with the most recent Irish Times/Ipsos poll in February. The number of undecided voters – excluded from the above figures – is 23 per cent, a decrease of five points since February.
Satisfaction with the Government has fallen by four points to 34 per cent, while Mr Varadkar also sees his personal rating slump, from 43 per cent in February down to 37 per cent today.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald remains at 42 per cent, unchanged since the last poll, while Mr Martin’s satisfaction rating also drops, from 45 per cent to 41 per cent, despite his party’s improved showing. Green Party leader Eamon Ryan declines slightly to a 20 per cent satisfaction rating.
The results are likely to be greeted with concern in Fine Gael, which has not seen a hoped-for revival in the party’s poll numbers since Mr Varadkar returned to the Taoiseach’s Office last December. Tánaiste Micheál Martin, by contrast, has seen his party’s support hold up.
Overall the combined support for the Government parties – Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens – at 43 per cent is down from the level of the last general election, when they won 50 per cent of the vote, but it has not collapsed completely.
While Sinn Féin is on course to be the biggest party in the next Dáil, who it might form a coalition government with – if at all – is unclear. Today’s poll numbers suggest that the smaller parties are likely to have a significant role in post-election coalition discussions.
The poll was conducted among 1,200 adults at 120 sampling points across all constituencies between June 11th-13th. Respondents were interviewed at their own homes. The accuracy is estimated at plus or minus 2.8 per cent.