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Poll shows the vast majority of Irish voters want change in how country is run

Fewer are happy with status quo and more want ‘moderate change’ in latest Irish Times/Ipsos poll

Illustration: Paul Scott

According to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos poll, 89 per cent of voters would like to see a change to the way in which the country is run.

One in every two voters (51 per cent) support moderate change, while 38 per cent are in favour of radical change. Only a small minority (8 per cent) are wary of change and 3 per cent are undecided.

Compared to our previous poll on this topic in July 2022, the proportion of voters seeking change has increased by four points due to a rise in the percentage of those who would like to see moderate change (up from 47 per cent to 51 per cent).

A decline of three points was recorded for those who are wary of change (down from 11 per cent to 8 per cent), while the proportion of those who are undecided is also down marginally (from 4 per cent to 3 per cent). The cohort of voters seeking radical change has remained steady at 38 per cent.


Fieldwork for today’s poll took place between Sunday and Tuesday of this week, among a representative sample of 1,200 eligible voters. In-person interviews were conducted in every county and in every constituency to provide a fully national picture of public opinion.

Younger voters are more eager for change with 43 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 opting for radical change, compared to 33 per cent of those aged 50 and older.

For many younger voters change means voting for Sinn Féin. No surprise, therefore, that Sinn Féin voters, at 56 per cent, are the most likely to favour a radical change in how the country is run.

Green Party supporters are next in line in terms of seeking radical change, at 39 per cent, while just 19 per cent of Fianna Fáil voters and 14 per cent of Fine Gael supporters fall into this category.

As to when the electorate should have the opportunity to vote for the level of change they desire, opinion is fairly evenly divided. About one third (34 per cent) are in favour of a general election at the end of this Government’s term in 2025, another one third (32 per cent) are in favour of an autumn 2024 election, with approaching one third (29 per cent) favour of an election now.

Consistent with an appetite for radical change, Sinn Féin voters are most likely to favour an immediate general election, at 48 per cent.

The majority of Fine Gael (60 per cent) and Fianna Fáil (58 per cent) supporters would prefer the current Government to see out the full term.

Green Party voters are less enthusiastic about waiting until the end of the current term to hold a general election, with only 32 per cent in favour of going the distance.

When it comes to choosing a coalition option for the next government, 27 per cent of voters support a continuation of the present Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael-Green coalition, marginally ahead of having a government led by Sinn Féin without either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael at 25 per cent.

A Sinn Féin-Fianna Fáil coalition is the top choice for 11 per cent, followed by a Sinn Féin-Fine Gael coalition at 6 per cent. Almost one in five voters (17 per cent) would prefer to see another combination, while 14 per cent are undecided.

Strong support is recorded for a continuation of the current coalition among both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael voters (63 per cent and 67 per cent respectively). However, Green Party voters are less enthusiastic at 37 per cent, unsurprising given that the party’s popularity has declined since joining the coalition.

As one would expect the majority of Sinn Féin voters (69 per cent) would like to see a government led by Sinn Féin without either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. However, a quarter of Sinn Féin voters are open to a coalition with either Fianna Fáil (15 per cent) or Fine Gael (10 per cent).

While today’s poll serves as a reminder of the desire for change, it is most likely that the opportunity for the electorate to cast their vote is still quite some time away. If the last number of years has taught us anything it is that new issues can emerge and alter the political landscape quickly. If a week is considered a long time in politics, then 18 months could very well be perceived as a lifetime.

Aisling Corcoran is director at Ipsos