The minority government of Fine Gael soars four points in today’s Behaviour & Attitudes polling for the Sunday Times, reaching 36 per cent of voting intentions and opening an eleven point lead over the main opposition Fianna Fail (down one to 25 per cent).
This is Fine Gael’s best poll with B & A since Leo Varadkar took over as party leader and Taoiseach (Prime Minister) in June 2017. And 36 per cent represents a level it has reached in only one other poll out of 19 published since then, namely the December 2017 survey from Ipsos MRBI. B & A notes that Fine Gael is now the most popular party among all age brackets, all socio-economic groups and in all regions of Ireland.
Third placed party Sinn Fein falls two percentage points to 16 per cent support, but this is not out of line with polling during the last three months which has seen Sinn Fein support bounce around between 14 and 19 per cent. Departing leader Gerry Adams bows out with a 39 per cent satisfaction rating, up two points but still behind the other main party leaders.
There are no other significant changes in party support in today’s poll.
Support for reform
On the question of reforming Ireland’s abortion laws, due to be put to a referendum in May, 49 per cent say they would vote to replace the 8th amendment of the constitution with a clause enabling abortion, with 30 per cent against. 17 per cent are undecided and 4 per cent will not vote. On the substance of the reform itself, there is a narrower split, with 43 per cent in favour of abortion up to 12 weeks and 35 per cent against (22 per cent Don’t Know). However this step of the process, should the constitution be changed, will be a matter for the legislature alone.
BEHAVIOUR & ATTITUDES 18 February
First preference voting intentions, per cent
(change on 21 January poll in brackets):
Fine Gael 36.0 (+4.0)
Fianna Fail 25.0 (-1.0)
Sinn Fein 16.0 (-2.0)
Labour 5.0 (-1.0)
Independent Alliance 4.0 (nc)
Solidarity-PBP 3.0 (+1.0)
Greens 1.0 (-1.0)
Social Democrats 1.0 (nc)
Independents 9.0 (nc)
Party leader satisfaction, per cent
(change on January poll in brackets)
Leo Varadkar, Fine Gael 55.0 (+3.0)
Micheal Martin, Fianna Fail 50.0 (nc)
Brendan Howlin, Labour 45.0 (+3.0)
Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein 39.0 (+2.0)
Fieldwork: 01.02-13.02.2018. Published: 18.02.2018. Participants: 926. Methodology: In-home, face-to-face interviews, adjusted for past turnout. Media partner: Sunday Times. Full details on the B&A site here.
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