Fianna Fail fightback cuts into Labour, poll reveals
THE Fianna Fail fightback would appear to be under way judging by the findings of a new opinion poll published today.
With the Government gearing up to hit the public with another €3.8bn in cuts and taxes in the Budget, voters have already begun withdrawing their support from the Labour Party, Sinn Fein and Independent TDs, switching their allegiance back to the party they voted out with a vengeance in last February's general election.
According to the latest Red C poll for The Sunday Business Post, Fianna Fail has seen its support jump dramatically to 18 per cent, a rise of four percentage points on the 14 per cent it garnered in the last such poll on October 23.
And while Fine Gael has seen its support rise by one per cent to 32 per cent in the latest poll, the Labour Party is clearly suffering from its decision to enter into a coalition where the savage austerity measures demanded by the EU/IMF/ECB troika have effectively placed it in an economic straitjacket.
The poll shows Labour support weakening from 17 per cent to 15 per cent, putting it on a par with Sinn Fein whose support has also slipped one point from the 16 per cent it registered in October. Support for Independent TDs and 'Others' meanwhile has fallen from 21 per cent to 18 per cent, the Red C Poll indicates.
Having lost Dublin Northeast TD Tommy Broughan to the Opposition benches last Thursday and with support now clearly beginning to waver for his party, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore will be under renewed pressure this week as the full impact of the Budget hits home with the public.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny's 'State of the Nation' address, which is due to be televised on RTE1 at 9.30pm tonight, will do little to assuage the fears of some Labour Party TDs, who are already questioning the wisdom of entering into Government with Fine Gael.
Mr Kenny gave an indication last night of the stark message he intends to deliver in his heavily anticipated address, declaring that this Budget would be the first of a number of tough budgets agreed under the Programme for Government in the years ahead. The Taoiseach said the reality was that the country was in the region of €18bn out of line and that "unpalatable choices" would have to be made.
Such rhetoric won't go down well with the public -- 66 per cent of those surveyed for the Red C poll believe the coalition parties have already broken the promises they made during the campaign.