INDEPENDENT politicians will be a force to be reckoned with in the 31st Dail should the findings of the Sunday Independent/MillwardBrown Lansdowne national opinion poll be borne out on polling day.
According to its findings, 15 per cent of the 1,022 adults surveyed say they will give their vote to an independent or other candidate at the upcoming election.
That figure is significant on several fronts. Primarily, however, it represents a dramatic movement in support from Fianna Fail, and more than a doubling of the 7 per cent who say they voted for an independent candidate at the 2007 General Election.
A closer examination of our poll findings further reveals that 18 per cent of those who voted for Fianna Fail at the last election intend to vote for an independent candidate this time around.
Interestingly, the figure is just 1 per cent shy of the 19 per cent of Fianna Fail supporters who say they will switch their allegiance to the Labour Party on polling day.
Not that Labour is about to be swept effortlessly into government by a 'Gilmore gale' courtesy of disgruntled Fianna Fail supporters. And once more, it's all to do with the groundswell of support for the independents.
According to the results of the Sunday Independent's opinion poll, a not insignificant 7 per cent of those who voted for the Labour Party in 2007 say they will give their support to an independent or other candidate on this occasion.
That support for the independents is coming from both sides of the Dail divide is hardly surprising, given the wide variety of political ideologies being espoused by the independents and other candidates.
From the pro-enterprise and anti-cronyism platform of the Sunday Independent's own business editor, senator Shane Ross, to the anti-capitalist mantra espoused by Richard Boyd Barrett of the United Left Alliance, there already appears to be something for everyone looking for an alternative to the established political parties as the election looms.