Coalition's support slips in latest poll as Sinn Fein gets boost after Haass talks
SUPPORT for the Government has slipped marginally in the first opinion poll of the new year.
Gains made by both Fine Gael and Labour after exiting the troika bailout before Christmas have been eaten into as Fine Gael drops 1pc to 28pc, while Labour slips back two points to 10pc.
The poll was conducted by Red C for Paddy Power between Monday and Wednesday of this week and sampled 1,004 adults by telephone.
Both Fianna Fail and Independents remain static at 22pc, but the only party to notice gains is Sinn Fein, which has increased by 3pc to 18pc. Red C has suggested that the coverage of the Haass talks over Christmas may have been a contributory factor to its gains.
As a result of the poll, Paddy Power is saying that a coalition of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail is now the most likely outcome at the next election, with the odds of a Fine Gael-Labour coalition lengthening.
"Previously we weren't able to separate the coalition options, but with this poll we are now saying a coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail is now the most likely outcome," said Felim Mac An Iomaire of Paddy Power.
Despite the drop in party support, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore will be pleased to see their satisfaction ratings increase with Mr Kenny seeing a sizeable jump from 36 pc to 43pc.
Mr Gilmore has seen his rating move up from 18pc to 23pc. On this basis, Mr Gilmore is no longer as unpopular a leader as former Taoiseach Brian Cowen was in the months before his failed government fell in February 2011. However, he still remains the most unpopular leader of all of the main four parties in Dail Eireann.
Just one in three voters thinks Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin is doing a good job as leader. Despite much recent criticism of him, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has seen his popularity increase slightly from 24pc in the last poll conducted in November to 26pc now.
Fine Gael remains the most popular party of the higher educated, but polled well across several of the identified social classes. It was the second most popular party among the skilled and unskilled working classes.
Labour's vote was strongest among the highest educated cohort of voters but its vote was lowest among voters aged 18-34, who clearly remain angry with the party's hand in the cuts programme since taking office.