Saturday 24 February 2018

It's time to get in touch with an anxious nation

Victory in this most open of elections awaits the party that best connects with the public mood, writes Richard Waring

Any significant immediate bounce that Fianna Fail was hoping to get by electing a new leader has yet to materialise. More than half of the interviewing for this poll was conducted after Micheal Martin's election on Wednesday last, and yet his party's projected share of first preference votes is 16 per cent, giving him a significant mountain to climb in convincing the electorate to vote for his party.

The party's share has been languishing at this level during January and is significantly down on the 22 per cent seen in the MillwardBrown Lansdowne/TV3 opinion poll last September and a lifetime away from the 2007 election.

What makes this mountain even steeper for Fianna Fail to climb is that only 35 per cent of those who voted Fianna Fail at the 2007 election say they will stick with the party. This time, the rest intend to switch to Fine Gael (22 per cent), Labour (19 per cent) or independents (18 per cent). It is the rare person who voted for another party in 2007 and intends to switch to FF this time, but a few do exist.

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