Why are Fine Gael prospering in these strange times while Fianna Fáil flounder? Another national survey tells us Micheál Martin's 'Soldiers of Destiny' are still in the doldrums on a mere 11pc.
An ungrateful public are not offering the merest hint of a bounce from the Budget on October 13, which was the daddy of all the splurges. Part of the answer may lie in the findings of a second opinion poll yesterday on the vagaries of Covid-19 and the lockdown.
The Kantar opinion poll for the Sunday Independent shows a drastic dwindling in the public approval rating of the Government's response to the pandemic. Back in April, remember when we were all in this together, half the people approved. Now just one in 10 approve.
In April, Leo Varadkar was heading an interim administration, which had just smoothly launched what the history books will dub the 'first lockdown'. Now, as October heads to November with darkness and foul weather, Mr Martin is presiding over a mixed reopening and a swift return to Level 5 lockdown.
Timing is not with Mr Martin and he and his colleagues' list of unforced errors compound this ill fortune. Realpolitik is that these things feed into a national malaise. Yet the sum of these factors only partially explains the poor popularity rating for the party, which for all this writer's lifetime were the dominant political force. Nor do they entirely explain the now well-established trend of Fine Gael attracting almost four out of 10 voters.
We note also that while Sinn Féin are motoring well on 27pc, in the latest Business Post Red C survey, they are not exactly rampantly cashing in on Covid-19 unhappiness.
Yes, credit where it is due, their stellar general election last February put them on 25pc, and only their lack of candidates in the field deprived them of becoming the largest Dáil party.
Since then, they have consolidated on 27pc rather than romping up the popularity rankings. Mary Lou McDonald's party will very probably feature in, if not lead, the next Government, as they will field enough contenders next time out, and they are clearly the lead party of opposition. Although some of their members would be entitled to ask why they are not top of the leader board rather than Fine Gael, who are after all in Government.
It's not quite nine months since that inconclusive general election on February 8, though 'Covid months' are probably something like 'dog months' - applying a factor of seven. It's worth recalling the figures from that general election, which saw very poor campaigning from both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Both leaders helped boost a sparkling performance from Sinn Féin, who got 25pc of the vote and returned 37 TDs.
Though Fianna Fáil had 38 TDs, their vote-share was just 22pc. Many of that party's TDs and faithful canvassers are still smarting from that outcome as they had hopes of a major comeback with up to 60 TDs.
But Fine Gael had taken their second consecutive general election drubbing after their stellar 2011 contest, which had left them on a high of 75 TDs. In 2016, this was reduced to 50 deputies. Last February, their number plummeted again to just 35 TDs in February with just 21pc of the vote. Mr Martin has made a leadership career of gainsaying the opinion polls. He did it in his first contest, which was the 2014 local elections, and followed on in the 2016 general election 'rising from the ashes', with a doubling of TD numbers.
However, he and his party are going down and down these days and it is hard to see him besting the polls again any time soon. The 22pc February general election ranking has been halved and this is a trend reflected in other surveys and anecdotally.
We have previously noted here that, Mr Martin's beating the prediction of his becoming the first Fianna Fáil leader never to become Taoiseach, could result in him being the last leader of his party to hold that office.
One glaring problem for the Fianna Fáil leader is that Leo Varadkar keeps upstaging him. The former Taoiseach, turned Tánaiste, and billed to return as Taoiseach in two years time, was accurately dubbed 'the Teflon Tánaiste'.
Not even the swiftest ever U-turn, from opposing Level 5 lockdown and castigating Nphet, to last week becoming an ardent proponent of Level 5, seems to stick. But it should stick and his attention- seeking behaviour in recent weeks should be called into question.
The Varadkar questioners will not be from among the Fine Gael ranks where the grins spread from ear to ear. Commenting on the latest survey finding, Red C boss, Richard Colwell said there was evidence Fianna Fáil were losing loyal voters to both Fine Gael and Sinn Féin.
The only scarce piece of good news for Mr Martin is that there are few options right now beyond hunkering down, eradicating his team's unforced errors, and hoping for better political weather. Achieving a functional test and tracing system and the earlier arrival of a vaccine, could help bring change.
For now, a general election is not on the cards. But that could change in 2021. If Fine Gael maintain their poll rankings that prospect could become increasingly hard to resist.
Yes, a Covid-19 general election would be a logistical nightmare. Although we have seen many elections happen across the globe, including a big one across the pond happening tomorrow week.
At all events, the received wisdom at Leinster House is that Mr Martin's time as party leader will end with his term as Taoiseach in late 2022.
Some within the parliamentary party want to see "an internal conversation" begin sooner about party values and orientation. They still lack a message.