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Thursday 18 September 2014

FG and FF neck and neck in poll

DANIEL McCONNELL Political Correspondent

Published 18/08/2013 | 05:00

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FINE Gael has overtaken Fianna Fail as the most popular party in the country, according to the latest Sunday Independent Millward Brown national opinion poll.

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FINE Gael has overtaken Fianna Fail as the most popular party in the country, according to the latest Sunday Independent Millward Brown national opinion poll.

The larger Coalition party has seen its poll ratings jump six points from 23 since May, and is up three points to 29 since our last poll in June.

This is despite the gruelling end to the political term, which saw Taoiseach Enda Kenny lose seven of his parliamentary party over the passing of the controversial Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, including junior minister Lucinda Creighton.

However, the implosion of the Labour support has solidified with the party now polling at just eight per cent, which would see as many as 25 of their current TDs wiped out if an election was to take place now.

Its current poll rating compares woefully with the record 19 per cent it received at the last election.

Being below the critical threshold of 10 per cent, which is Labour's natural historic base level of support, is likely to increase the pressure on leader Eamon Gilmore, who himself is now the country's least liked leader.

The fall in Labour's support also continues the trend of the junior Coalition parties paying the price for being in Government, as happened with the PDs and the Greens before them.

Rightly or wrongly, the Irish public are blaming the Labour party for the legacy of broken political promises, the lack of reform to the political system and the continuing programme of austerity.

Amid speculation of unhappiness within Fianna Fail over Micheal Martin's leadership, the party has seen its support slip back by one point to 28 per cent, but this is still 11 points higher than where they were at the General Election in February 2011.

Despite the deep anger at the Government, support for Sinn Fein has plateaued at 19 per cent, showing that middle Ireland is still not ready to consider Sinn Fein to be a credible option for Government.

MORE POLL RESULTS, COMMENT AND ANALYSIS, PAGES 26 & 28

Yet, Gerry Adams and his colleagues would be delighted with poll ratings of 19 per cent, which is almost double the 10 per cent level of support they received in the election. On such a rating, Sinn Fein would expect to return with as many as 25 seats in the next Dail.

Satisfaction with the Government's performance remains anaemic at just 19 per cent, while an overwhelming majority, 73 per cent, don't believe the Government is doing a good enough job of running the country.

The ratings in this latest poll mark a slight improvement in the Government's satisfaction rating. Those most unhappy include younger voters between the ages of 25 and 34 and voters outside Dublin worst affected by the recession – those in negative equity in commuter counties.

Almost two out of every five voters have no confidence in the established political parties or Independents, it can be revealed.

According to the latest Sunday Independent/Millward Brown opinion poll, the level of disillusionment with the political parties is at a record high of 37 per cent.

Since the start of the year, the number of people saying they don't know who to vote for has risen steadily to its present high. This startling finding reflects the anger among the public at the failure of the Government to deliver the 'democratic revolution' it promised at the 2011 General Election.

The face-to-face poll of 985 adults was conducted at 66 sampling points across Ireland between August 3 and August12.

Sunday Independent

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