| 20.1°C Dublin

Jody Corcoran: 'Fine Gael faces battle to convince voters to stick with them but Fianna Fail has far from won this election'

Close

(L-R) Tanaiste Simon Coveney, Candidate Sandra McIntyre, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister Heather Humphries TD, Minister Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister Helen McEntee TD and candidate Cllr. TP O’Reilly visit Combilift in Monaghan to launch their election campaign
Photo: Douglas O’Connor

(L-R) Tanaiste Simon Coveney, Candidate Sandra McIntyre, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister Heather Humphries TD, Minister Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister Helen McEntee TD and candidate Cllr. TP O’Reilly visit Combilift in Monaghan to launch their election campaign Photo: Douglas O’Connor

(L-R) Tanaiste Simon Coveney, Candidate Sandra McIntyre, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister Heather Humphries TD, Minister Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister Helen McEntee TD and candidate Cllr. TP O’Reilly visit Combilift in Monaghan to launch their election campaign Photo: Douglas O’Connor

The latest opinion poll shows there is a public willingness to change government, but no more than that at the moment.

In other words, the poll indicates that voters are minded to change, not that they have made up their minds to do so.

In fact, when we stand back from the headline figures, it is obvious that the outcome of the General Election is still in the melting pot.

There is anxiety in Fine Gael following this second poor poll showing, but all is not yet lost for the main Government party.

A poor performance from Leo Varadkar in tomorrow night’s Virgin Media debate, however, and the game may be up.

Varadkar is far better in such a setting than he is on the ground, so Fine Gael can remain hopeful for the time being at least.

But the public is close to deciding, and Fine Gael is facing an uphill, possibly losing battle to convince voters to stick with them.

The Ipsos/MRBI poll in the Irish Times shows Fianna Fail (25pc) no change since October; Fine Gael (23pc) down six points; Sinn Fein (21pc) up seven points; Greens (8pc) no change and Labour (5pc) down one point.

On the back of another poll at the weekend, which showed Fianna Fail getting a somewhat irrational 12-point bounce, at it is clear than change is in the air.

However, in my view, these polls show no more than the public is willing to change, not that it has yet decided to do so.

But when the mood for change is in the air, it is very difficult to dissipate it.

The latest poll also shows a notable bounce for Sinn Fein.

The polling firm concerned has a record of somewhat overstating Sinn Fein and slightly understating Fianna Fail support.

Close

‘We have changed as a party’: Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin at the party’s General Election launch in Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

‘We have changed as a party’: Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin at the party’s General Election launch in Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA

‘We have changed as a party’: Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin at the party’s General Election launch in Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

In my view, Fianna Fail is really up to five points clear of Fine Gael at the moment, with Sinn Fein in the high teens.

The bottom line, though, is that Fianna Fail has still far from won this election.

In this latest poll Sinn Fein seems to be on the receiving end of the so-called ‘Black and Tan’ motivated vote which gave Fianna Fail that irrational boost the week before.

What odds Leo Varadkar dusting down his ‘green’ credentials before the weekend?

No doubt, Mary Lou McDonald’s party also received uplift in the publicity surrounding the return of Stormont.

However, its poll support is predominately young, working class and male, a cohort not noted for turning out to vote.

The Premier League fixtures on voting day, Saturday February 8, are the unglamorous Everton vs Crystal Palace and Brighton Hove Albion vs Watford; while Ireland will be taking on Wales at the Aviva in the Six Nations.

On such small margins the votes of Sinn Fein and Fine Gael, in particular, and for that matter, the formation of the next Government may be affected.

Online Editors