Tuesday 23 January 2018

Coalition as unpopular as last days of Cowen government

Irish Independent Opinion Poll
Irish Independent Opinion Poll
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny's Coalition has hit new levels of unpopularity, rivalling even the dying days of Brian Cowen's government, an Irish Independent/Millward Brown opinion poll shows.

The resignation of Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore as Labour leader, a commitment to resolve the medical card crisis and the expectation of changes in the reshuffle have done nothing to drag the Coalition out of its slump. Worryingly for the government parties, the low support levels of the local and European elections continue.

There's no sign the voters have got the anger out of their system and would view a general election in a different light.

Sinn Fein and the Independents would potentially get a majority of seats if there was a snap general election.

Sinn Fein, in particular, has continued to build on the momentum gained in the local and European elections, with the party's support levels rising to 26pc.

Although the party's vote in the local elections was well short of its opinion poll showing, the survey suggests it would still make substantial gains in its number of TDs.

Fianna Fail's recovery is steady but unspectacular while Fine Gael and the Labour Party continue to languish with low levels of support.

Worse yet is the status of the Government's performance.

Satisfaction with the Government has fallen back to its lowest level so far with just one in six people happy with the Coalition's performance.

Nearly four in five are unhappy with the way the Government is running the country.

This is the highest level of dissatisfaction seen in these polls for well over three years – stretching back to the dying days of the previous government.

While the results are just marginally better for the coalition parties than in the last days of the Cowen government, Fine Gael and Labour will be concerned at the steady erosion of its standing with the public.

The opinion poll indicates the electorate has separated the Government's much-heralded exit from the bailout from their overall performance.

Even off its low base, only one in five Labour supporters actually believe the Coalition is performing well – with over half of Fine Gael voters saying they are satisfied. The highest levels of dissatisfaction are unsurprisingly among Sinn Fein, Independent and Fianna Fail supporters and among people on lower levels of income.

The opinion poll was taken among a sample of 1,019 people at 93 locations across the country on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

Interviews were conducted face-to-face in people's homes.

The data was weighted to reflect the adult population aged over 18 and the margin of error is plus/minus 3.1pc.

Respondents were specifically asked what way they would vote in a general election.

The party support levels sees Fine Gael on 20pc, down from the 36pc received in the last general election; and the Labour Party on 5pc, down from 19pc in the 2011 vote. Fianna Fail is on 20pc, up from the 17pc it achieved in the 2011 General Election meltdown.

Sinn Fein is up to 26pc from the 10pc the party achieved in the last general election, and Independents, on 27pc, have risen from the 15pc support levels in 2011.

The figure for the Independents includes the People Before Profit Alliance on 1pc and the Socialist Party on 1pc.

The local elections saw a dramatic fall in the support for the coalition parties, with Fine Gael getting just 24pc and Labour down to 7pc. Sinn Fein was at 15pc and Independents and others on 28pc.

Irish Independent

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