There has been a massive shift since mid-March in the Republic of Ireland’s voting intentions according to today’s Behaviour & Attitudes poll for the Sunday Times. Having been clearly behind Fianna Fail for many months, and even slipping into third behind Sinn Fein in March, minority governing party Fine Gael have somehow hauled themselves into the lead by 29 to 28 per cent over Fianna Fail. This is FG’s best poll score since the last Dail election in February 2016.
Those who suspected Sinn Fein’s excellent recent polling was heavily aided by their high Northern Ireland Assembly campaign profile may feel vindicated by this poll. SF lose five points to fall back to 18 per cent. This is more in line with B & A’s January (17) and February (19) scores, rather than March’s possible blip of 23 per cent. It should be remembered that the Republicans are still polling well above their election result of 13.9 per cent.
While there is a huge shake-up at the top, smaller parties are going nowhere in this poll, with Labour and the Independent Alliance slipping slightly, the Greens flat and the Social Democrats gaining only marginally.
Fieldwork for this poll was carried out over a relatively long period, starting on 30 March, so it is doubtful whether the full impact of the recent renewed controversy over water charges can be seen in these numbers. Nonetheless, the perception that the government has handled the issue more assuredly than Fianna Fail, perceived to be somewhat opportunist and inconsistent in its approach from the opposition benches, may have already begun to help Fine Gael’s ratings.
BEHAVIOUR & ATTITUDES
First preference voting intentions, per cent
(change on 12 March survey in brackets)
Fine Gael 29 (+7)
Fianna Fail 28 (nc)
Sinn Fein 18 (-5)
Labour 5 (-1)
Greens 2 (nc)
Social Democrats 2 (+1)
Others 8 (-1)
Independents 10 (+2)
Fieldwork: 30.03-11.04.2017. Release date: 16.04.2017. Participants: c.1000. Methodology: In-home, face-to-face interviews. Figures given here are for those certain to vote with adjustments for past voting. (Note rounding of totals).
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